A brain bleed from a car accident may occur instantly as the trauma of the crash causes blood vessels in the head to rupture immediately. It may also happen sometime after the crash as the force and impact can weaken the vessel raising the risk of a rupture later in time causing permanent brain damage or death.
Seeking prompt medical attention and treatment for a brain bleed from a car accident for any suspected traumatic brain injury, is crucial. Prompt medical attention and treatment can literally be a matter of life or death. The longer bleeding goes undiagnosed and untreated in the brain, the more damage it can cause. Increasing pressure on the brain can cause loss of consciousness, an inability to breathe, coma, serious traumatic brain injury or death.
Delay in seeking immediate medical attention for this type of injury poses a grave danger. Because the bleeding within a person’s skull may increase slowly and gradually, the symptoms of the person’s injury may not become known for hours or even days after the person was injured in a vehicle crash. It is also entirely possible for a person to appear perfectly “fine” in the immediate aftermath of having suffered a serious head injury in a crash.
This is known as the “talk and die syndrome” situation that can occur with a slow brain bleed. It describes the tragic circumstance where a motor vehicle crash victim and observers never fully realize the crash victim has suffered a brain injury. This causes a delay in seeking immediate medical care, unknowingly losing precious time that may have saved health and lives.
What is a brain bleed from a car accident?
When a car accident happens, the head may experience a sudden impact or trauma causing the blood vessels within the brain to rupture or tear, leading to bleeding instantly or happening sometime after the crash. The bleeding can occur in different areas of the brain or within the brain tissue itself.
The severity and consequences of a brain bleed can vary depending on the location, extent of bleeding, and the crash victims overall health. Three common types of brain bleeds people can suffer from after a car accident are 1) subdural hematoma, 2) epidural hematoma and 3) intracerebral hemmorage.
This occurs when blood collects between the brain and its outer covering (dura mater). It can develop rapidly or gradually over time, leading to increased pressure on the brain.
This is when bleeding occurs between the skull and the outer covering of the brain. It is usually caused by a rupture of an artery, resulting in a rapid accumulation of blood.
This refers to bleeding within the brain tissue itself. It can occur when blood vessels within the brain rupture due to the force of impact in a car accident.
How serious is a brain bleed from a car accident?
A brain bleed from a car accident is serious and potentially life threatening because the blood that collects between the cerebrum and skull puts pressure on the cerebrum which can result in loss of consciousness, an inability to breathe or control blood flow, coma, permanent damage or death.
Symptoms of a brain bleed from a car accident
If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms for a brain bleed from a car accident – either immediately after or in the hours and days that follow a blow to the head after a vehicle crash – then you should seek medical attention as soon as possible:
- Severe headache (that starts suddenly and is located near the back of the head)
- Sudden loss of or decreased consciousness/alertness
- Difficulty with or loss of movement (paralysis)
- Loss of feeling
- Slurred speech
- Mood and personality changes
- Muscle aches (especially neck and shoulder pain)
- Photophobia, where light bothers or hurts the eyes
- Stiff neck
- Vision problems
Diagnosis and Testing
Your doctor or the specialist to whom your doctor refers you will conduct a physical examination and likely order one or more of the following diagnostic tests to determine if you have suffered a brain bleed from a car accident:
- CT Scan
- MRI Scan
Depending on the extent of the bleeding and the pressure on the brain – as well as any damage that may have already occurred – treatment for this injury can involve surgery. The two likely procedures are:
- Burr hole trephination (or surgical drainage) – This involves drilling a small hole in the skull over the area of the brain bleed and suctioning out the blood through the hole to relieve pressure on the brain.
- Craniotomy – This involves removing (and later replacing) a section of the skull to gain better access to the area of the brain bleed so the blood can be removed and intracranial pressured reduced.
Depending on when your injury is diagnosed, the severity of it, the nature and success of your treatment and whether any neurological issues have surfaced, your recovery process may include occupational and physical therapy.
What to do for a brain bleed from a car accident
If you have suffered a brain bleed from a car accident, follow these steps:
- Get medical help immediately: Time is of the essence for any type of head trauma or brain injury, but it is even more important in any brain injury that involves a suspected brain bleed. When it comes to properly diagnosing and treating a brain bleed from a car accident, the sooner a person gets the proper diagnostic tests and medical treatment, the better the chances they have of preventing a potentially more serious and permanent injury to the cerebrum. In fact, it could mean the difference between life and death. Left undiagnosed and untreated, this injury can be fatal. As a personal injury lawyer, I always advise people that the sooner they can get the necessary and appropriate medical care, the sooner they can get back on the road to good health and a full recovery. Never is this advice more important and more true than it is with any type of injury to the brain.
- Diagnostic testing – It is imperative that you get brain imaging immediately. This condition can grow rapidly and become life-threatening quickly.
- Inform your auto insurance company about your automobile crash. If you live in Michigan, you must make sure to include this in your application for No-Fault benefits, which is also referred to as your “written notice of injury” – which must be given to your No-Fault auto insurance company within 1 year after the crash. (MCL 500.3145(1) and (4)). Treatment can be extremely expensive, so it is very important to inform your insurance company and properly set up a claim.
- Do not sign any settlements, releases, or waivers related to your automobile crash: Until you have talked with an experienced attorney, do not sign any settlements, releases, or waivers that are presented to you by your auto insurance company, the at-fault driver’s auto insurer or any other insurance companies or persons. In this regard, it is often very helpful to talk with an experienced brain injury attorney after seeking medical care. Most experienced brain injury lawyers have helped people who have suffered a brain bleed from a car accident. Unfortunately, most personal injury lawyers have not, so consulting with an attorney who understands the brain, brain injuries and the damage that can be done by a brain bleed and is also familiar with Michigan No-Fault insurance and litigating vehicle crashes is especially important. The initial call is always free so at the very least you will be informed as to what your own No-Fault insurance company is responsible to pay and what medical help and wage loss you are entitled to. An attorney can also help you review your medical records as well as the medical treatment and care you’re receiving to make sure your bills are getting paid and what your case might be worth if your pain and disability was
Can you sue for a brain bleed injury?
Yes. You can sue the at-fault driver for pain and suffering compensation as a result of your collision-related injuries. Additionally, you may be able to sue the at-fault driver for other economic damages, such as excess and future medical bills and lost wages.
Finally, If your own No-Fault auto insurance company refuses to pay for – or cuts-off – No-Fault benefits related to your medical treatment and care or wage loss for a brain bleed from a car accident, then you can sue for unpaid, overdue medical bills, attendant care, medical mileage, replacement services and lost wages because your injury has prevented you from returning to work.
Need help finding the right lawyer? Call Michigan Auto Law first
If you have been injured in an automobile crash and would like to speak to an experienced personal injury attorney, call toll free anytime 24/7 at (248) 353-7575 for a free consultation with one of our attorneys. You can also get help from an experienced accident attorney by visiting our contact page or you can use the chat feature on our website.