Car accidents cause all kinds of bodily injuries, and head injuries are some of the most serious. If you have suffered a head injury in a car accident in Indiana, you may be left with long-term or even lifelong effects.
There are different types of head injuries to be aware of, and they fit into two main categories: open head injuries and closed head injuries.
Regardless of which type of head injury you are recovering from, a free consultation with Indianapolis’s best personal injury attorneys can help you determine what your next steps should be when it comes to compensation.
The Difference Between an Open and Closed Head Injury
An open head injury involves the piercing of the skull or brain by a foreign object. Essentially, it is an open head wound. Sometimes, these wounds are called “penetrative head injuries.”
Closed head injuries, on the other hand, leave the skull intact despite causing damage to the brain. This happens because of the force exerted on the head and neck during an accident. It can also be caused by blunt force trauma that is strong enough to damage the brain but manages to avoid fracturing the skull.
When someone in a motor vehicle collision is struck by glass, metal, or a flying object, there is a risk that they will receive an open or closed head injury.
Open Head Injuries Following a Car Accident
Although gunshot wounds are the most common type of open head injuries, they can occur during a car accident, too.
The three common types of skull injuries from an accident are:
- Linear skull fracture: The hard skull is fractured, but the soft tissues of the brain are not exposed. These are among the most common open head injuries caused by car accidents.
- Basilar skull fracture: If the skull fractures at its base, there can be serious complications related to brain fluid leakage.
- Depressed skull fracture: This injury is caused when skull fragments penetrate the brain. This is serious because it is likely to cause lifelong impairment.
Symptoms of an open head injury include but are not limited to: loss of motor functions, pupils that are different sizes, nausea and vomiting, abnormal behavior (including speech and language problems, mood swings, depression, anxiety, and memory loss), stiff neck, terrible and untreatable headaches, extreme drowsiness or inability to wake up, loss of consciousness, fluid draining from the ears, fluid draining from the nose, light and sound sensitivity, blurred vision, a bad taste in the mouth, and parosmia (loss of sense of smell).
Closed Head Injuries Following a Car Accident
In layman’s terms, a closed head injury is often called a concussion. However, there are a few types of closed head injuries aside from just a concussion.
- Epidural hematoma: This occurs when blood builds up between the brain and skull.
- Subdural hematoma: Blood collects on the surface of the brain.
- Intracerebral hemorrhage: This happens when there is a broken blood vessel in the brain.
- Increased intracranial pressure: This describes an increase of pressure in the skull.
- Cerebral contusion: This is a bruising of the brain.
There are some overlapping symptoms between an open and closed head injury. Closed head injury symptoms often include vomiting, nausea, dizziness, headaches, loss of consciousness, confusion, changes in behavior, memory issues, depression, blurred vision, and unequal pupil size.
Testing and Treatment
To determine if you have been afflicted by an open or a closed head injury, your doctor will perform certain diagnostic tests. These include:
- A series of questions to test your thinking and memory
- CT scan
Depending on the severity of your head injury, imaging scans may come back normal. Your doctor will use the results of your documented symptoms and cognitive processing capabilities to determine what treatment is best for your injury.
Treatment for open and closed head injuries varies based on the type and severity. You may require hospitalization or you may be able to recover at home. Treatment you may receive in the hospital includes:
- Anti-seizure medication
- Brain rest (minimal stimulation)
- Medication to combat headaches
- Physical and occupational therapy for walking and balance
- Speech therapy
The Long-Term Effects of a Traumatic Brain Injury
Closed and open head injuries can lead to long-term health complications. Sometimes, these effects are even lifelong. When they are severe enough, head injuries can shorten a person’s lifespan.
Take a look at some of the long-term effects of a TBI:
- Memory loss (short term and long term)
- Blurred vision
- Motion sickness
- Changes in taste and smell
- Concentration difficulties
- Difficulty reading
- Struggling to find things
- Feeling of being overwhelmed
- Easily getting lost
- Low energy
- Blood pressure and heart rate problems
- Light and noise sensitivity
- Sleep problems
- Executive functioning disorder
- Personality changes
What to Do After a Head Injury from a Car Accident
If you are injured in a car accident, seek medical attention immediately. You may be experiencing car accident head injury symptoms without realizing it. A medical professional can diagnose you with either an open or closed head injury and get you the medical attention you urgently need.
Work With the Indianapolis Area’s Best Car Accident Attorneys–Crossen Law Firm
Hoosiers who have been injured in a car accident have the benefit of representation from the Crossen Law Firm. Our experienced, compassionate car accident attorneys can do the work of figuring out who is at fault for the accident and, therefore, who is responsible for medical costs, missed work, pain and suffering, and much more.
We offer free, no-obligation consultations for anyone who has been injured in a car accident. If you suffered a head injury, schedule your free consultation with the Crossen Law Firm today by calling (317)-401-8626 or by contacting us online. You only pay for our services if we win your case!