A catastrophic car wreck can alter your life in seconds

No one expects to become involved in a car wreck, but an accident can happen in an instant. Collisions between two or more vehicles can be devastating.

Two common results from vehicle crashes, even minor rear-end collisions, are traumatic brain injury  (TBI) and spinal cord injury (SCI). Both can require lifelong care.

A little background

The National Safety Council keeps track of motor-vehicle injuries and fatalities. In 2019, the number of motor-vehicle deaths was 38,800 while the number of nonfatal injuries requiring medical attention, including TBI and SCI, was 4,423,000.

Brain injuries and lasting health issues

There are two types of traumatic brain injuries: open, where a foreign object pierces the skull and becomes lodged in the brain; and closed, the more common form, which results from a blow to the head. The symptoms of a brain injury may not appear until hours or even days after a collision. Depending on the severity, brain injuries are treatable but even the milder form of TBI can leave the victim with lasting memory or concentration issues.

Spinal cord injuries and the long view

The spinal cord consists of a bundle of nerves that carry impulses from the brain to all other parts of the body. Damage from the violent impact of a car crash can result in permanent loss of sensation, strength and certain bodily functions below the site of the injury. To date, there is no cure for a spinal cord injury, but research is ongoing.

A look ahead

The seriously injured victim of a vehicle crash may face months or even years of medical care. However, full and fair compensation can relieve the financial concerns and help the patient adjust to unexpected lifestyle changes.