Fort Smith Head Injury Car Accident Lawyer
Not until the Arkansas Trauma System Act 393.2 came into effect, Arkansas residents who sustained traumatic brain injuries or head injuries mostly went unrecognized. By definition, the General Assembly found that traumatic injuries were a leading killer for people aged one to forty-four years old.
The Trauma System Act 393.2 reinstates that trauma to the head is a preventable condition. The act allows Level I Trauma Centers, Level II Trauma Centers, Level III Trauma Centers, and Level IV Trauma Centers to access grants. The Arkansas Trauma System (ATS) is monitored by the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH).
According to a study done on head trauma cases in the state from 2014 to 2018, there were 3,014 cases of serious TBI, with a 22 percent re-admission rate. And, between January 1, 2020, and July 16, 2020, there were 398 referrals to the TBI Registry (representing 41.46 percent) of brain injuries in Arkansas in residents aged 61 and older. These statistics are important, because they also represent Fort Smith car accident survivors.
Fort Smith Car Accidents Can Result in TBIs
One of the leading causes of TBIs is car accidents. It only takes a seemingly innocuous knock to the skull to result in neuron damage. The brain is vulnerable to any impact, even if the injury does not penetrate the skull. However, impacts, small or significant, cause internal damage to the brain as it slams back and forth inside the skull. At least 5 million people across the nation who have survived traumatic brain injuries need assistance with daily living tasks.
While car accidents can involve many types of injuries, not everyone thinks about unseen injuries, such as a TBI. Hitting one’s head does not always produce noticeable or visible injuries. People can recover from the obvious wounds, such as broken bones and torn muscles, but recovering from a traumatic brain injury is far more difficult. It may take months to years or be permanent. Approximately 2.6 million people sustain brain injuries every year.
It was once thought that a concussion, also known as a brain injury, only lasted a few days and went away on its own with rest. Research showed that was not the case. Hitting the head, or experiencing severe whiplash, without hitting the head, can lead to brain injuries. Over 52,000 Americans die each year due to traumatic brain injuries.
Types of Brain Injury Symptoms
Brain injury symptoms can include:
• Partial/total memory loss of events before the accident (retrograde amnesia)
• Partial/total memory loss of events post-accident (anterograde amnesia)
• Loss of consciousness
• Dazed or disoriented
• Change in sleep habits
• Loss of balance
• Memory issues
• Mood swings
• Dilated pupils
• Slurred speech
• Feeling of pressure in the head
• Sensitivity to lights or sounds
• Blurred vision
• Ringing in the ears
Initial symptoms may ease or clear within a few months, but many persist for years or worsen and are referred to as a post-concussion syndrome.
Post-concussion syndrome can include depression, short-term memory loss, personality changes, persistent dizziness, persistent headaches, and impaired coordination and balance, and difficulty making decisions.
While the patient looks normal, the brain injuries from a car accident impact their quality of life.
What To Do After Sustaining Serious Head Trauma
If you have sustained brain injuries in a Fort Smith car accident, it is best to discuss your case with an experienced brain injury attorney at the Fort Smith Law Office of Jason M. Hatfield. We understand how upsetting, confusing, and frightening a TBI can be for the injured person and their family. We can run interference for you dealing with insurance companies, who often try to reduce the value of your claim for injuries.
Insurance companies try to convince you that concussion or post-concussion symptoms are not related to your accident, despite what your doctor has said. They try to make a case that your headaches will fade away quickly, and were related to the stress of being in a car accident – not hitting your head.
If they convince you the head trauma will go away, they avoid paying for treatment. Insurance companies try to get accident survivors to agree to a quick settlement before they know the extent of their injuries. They also hope a TBI patient does not find out how long their treatment may be to reach maximum medical recovery.
If the insurance company acts quickly and succeeds in reducing a TBI claim, and a plaintiff signs off on the deal, they cannot go back and open the claim again. This results in thousands of lost dollars that could be used to treat a survivor’s TBI.
If you have suffered a concussion or head injury, seek medical attention immediately, and clearly and completely detail the diagnosis, treatment, and retain all receipts relating to medical and other expenses. Keep this information for your brain injury attorney.
What Are the Statistics for Head Injuries in Arkansas?
Arkansas has a high rate of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) survivors, with mortality rates exceeding the national average. Arkansas is one of only three states without a state-funded TBI agency, so accurate statistics are difficult to come by.
A TBI is the beginning of a lifelong disability, which requires a lifetime of needs and required services. This disability has a significant financial and social impact on society and families. TBI takes a toll on everyone connected with the survivor.
According to available Arkansas statistics relating to TBI survivors and those who perished, roughly 614 deaths occurred in Arkansas every year between 1999 and 2004. Arkansas rates for TBI deaths are higher than those of the United States for most age groups. Additionally, roughly 2,200 hospital discharges for TBI were recorded in the state each year from 2000-2006.
How To Seek Help and Treatment for a TBI
Dealing with a brain injury can include numerous medications, occupational/physical therapy, home modifications, speech therapy, in-home nursing care, cognitive therapy, assistive equipment, and neuropsychological treatment. These expenses may be recovered by filing a lawsuit. Additionally, there is the likelihood of recovering other forms of compensation, such as lost wages, lost income, and pain and suffering.
There are 103 rehabilitation/long-term care facilities in Arkansas for those struggling to recover from a TBI. Additionally, there are 26 inpatient rehabilitation facilities listed on the Arkansas Department of Health website.
There are 2,300 Arkansans and counting living with a moderate to severe TBI. If you are looking for information regarding TBI support groups in the state, it can be found here: https://www.brainandspinalcord.org/support-groups-brain-injury-arkansas/
Contact the Fort Smith Law Office of Jason M. Hatfield today
Call us today for a free initial consultation and to find out what you can expect if you file a personal injury lawsuit. We know you have questions, and we can answer them for you. The Law Office of Jason M. Hatfield is just one quick call away: 479-361-3575