Brain injuries caused by motor vehicle accidents can have significant and permanent implications for a person’s life. Brain injuries are common in serious motor vehicle accidents. According to the Brain Injury Association of Canada, 160,000 Canadians sustain brain injuries each year. Collisions involving automobiles, motorcycles or bicycles are a common cause of traumatic brain injuries. Approximately 50% of all acquired brain injuries result from falls or motor vehicle accidents.
If you have suffered a brain injury as a result of a motor vehicle accident, legal advice is recommended. An ICBC lawyer in Vancouver can advise you with respect to your legal rights and entitlement to compensation.
What is a Brain Injury?
A traumatic brain injury occurs when an external force damages the brain. This can result from a blow to the head, a whiplash-type injury, or an object penetrating the skull, all of which can occur in a motor vehicle accident. Brain injuries arise in a wide variety of accidents, even if the victim is wearing a seatbelt or – in the case of a cyclist or motorcyclist – a helmet.
The severity of brain injuries can range from mild to severe. At one extreme, a severe brain injury may cause permanent loss of consciousness or paralysis. At the other extreme, a mild traumatic brain injury may cause problems such as fatigue, headaches or difficulty concentrating.
Even a mild brain injury can seriously impact a person’s life. Those suffering from a brain injury may experience cognitive deficits such as problems with attention or concentration, short-term memory problems and difficulty with executive functions. Other symptoms include behavioural and emotional changes such as irritability, impulsivity and mood swings. These symptoms may in some cases be subtle, but they can significantly affect your work, social and family life.
While many brain injuries resolve in a matter of months, some people never completely recover. This is the case even with mild brain injuries.
Signs of Brain Injury
Unlike broken bones, a brain injury can be difficult to spot. It may not be immediately obvious that you or a loved one has suffered a brain injury. In particular, the behaviour of a child should be closely monitored for signs of brain injury following a motor vehicle accident. It is also important to be aware that some symptoms do not arise until days after the accident.
HealthLinkBC provides a list of brain injury symptoms, including:
Seeking Medical Attention after a Brain Injury
If you suspect that you or a loved one has suffered a brain injury, it is of the utmost importance to immediately seek medical attention. This is necessary to ensure appropriate treatment for the injury. During an assessment, the doctor will want to know the details of the accident and will check for physical signs of brain injury, which means checking your reflexes, strength, balance, coordination and sensation. The doctor will probably also ask questions that test your attention span, memory and problem-solving ability. If a brain injury is suspected, a doctor may order imaging tests such as a CT scan or an MRI.
Proving a Brain Injury
Proving a brain injury in a personal injury claim can be challenging. Not all brain injuries are objectively measurable. A person may have suffered a brain injury that affects many aspects of his life, yet it is invisible on a diagnostic imaging scan. A brain injured person may present as perfectly intelligent and articulate, yet her brain injury symptoms are seriously affecting her ability to work.
Often, proving a brain injury case requires the involvement of a number of experts and treatment providers, including neurologists, neuropsychologists, occupational therapists and other medical professionals. The records of the ambulance personnel who first observed the patient or the emergency room doctor who conducted an initial assessment may be of assistance in proving the claim.
An experienced Vancouver personal injury lawyer will know how to marshal the appropriate experts and evidence to prove a brain injury in a personal injury claim.
Vancouver Accident Lawyers for Brain Injuries
If you suffered a brain injury in a car, truck, motorcycle or bicycle accident, you may be entitled to seek compensation in a personal injury claim. The Vancouver accident lawyers at Bronson Jones & Company LLP are experienced in representing plaintiffs who have suffered brain injuries, from mild to severe. As our firm focuses solely on personal injuries resulting from motor vehicle accidents, we have significant knowledge and experience representing people with brain injuries.