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SUBTLE HEAD TRAUMA: THE INVISIBLE PERSONAL INJURY
April 27, 2015
Car accidents. Slip and falls. Football tackles.
There are countless ways we can suffer head trauma on a daily basis. And while there are innumerable ways we can injure our brains, there are limited ways to detect those injuries.
Head injuries come in a variety of shapes and sizes: bleeding in the brain (hemorrhage); bruising of the brain (contusion); and subtle brain injuries—to name a few.
Subtle brain injuries can be just as dangerous as full on bleeding in the brain. What makes subtle brain injuries so threatening is the fact that these injuries can result without direct trauma to the head.
Subtle brain injuries are often seen in accidents where a car suddenly accelerates (such as when it is rear-ended) or when it suddenly decelerates (such as when it slams into an object). The impact forces the brain against the wall of the skull, which can often damage nerves and result in worsened impairment.
Even through an MRI, subtle brain injuries will not be visible. The lack of visibility on digital imaging can present obvious dangers to victims of head trauma. A victim may very well walk around for days complaining of pain, making the injury worse, all because there is no digital evidence of any injury.
Because these particular types of injuries do not leave “footprints”, it is important that your treating physicians be well versed in recognizing injuries of this type.
Regardless of whether or not you feel fine after injuring your head, do not “shake it off.” In order to bring a successful personal injury claim, you need to keep clear and accurate medical records. When a claim is filed with an insurance company--yours or the party at fault--the insurer will want to see the extent of your injuries, the medical bills you incurred, and the treatment that you received. This information will be used to valuate your case (setting a dollar amount on your injuries). Ignoring your injuries, or "failing to mitigate damages" as it's known in the legal world, will reduce the amount of money you can recover for your claim.
So, if you suffer head trauma, consult an attorney as soon as you can because in Pennsylvania you only have two years from the date of the accident or date when you should've known you were injured to file a claim.