Car accidents are one of the most common causes of injury in the United States, with those injured frequently suffering broken bones and dislocations, soft tissue injuries, and even psychological trauma. In more serious accidents, though, drivers and passengers alike may suffer a traumatic brain injury (TBI), leading to long-term cognitive issues. Luckily, with proper rehabilitation, many of these issues can be mitigated, and victims may see marked improvement.
According to the Mayo Clinic, traumatic brain injuries are typically caused by a serious blow or shock to the head, with varying degrees of severity. On the mild end, individuals experience little or no loss of consciousness, nausea, and dizziness, while those with more severe injuries may suffer skull fractures along with the a loss of consciousness, seizures, confusion, and even coma. Regardless of the severity of the injury, though, individuals should see a doctor immediately for proper assessment and treatment.
There are several different elements to TBI rehabilitation, including acute inpatient care, occupational and physical therapy, and more targeted medical interventions, depending on the severity of the injury. This can all be expensive, but as the victim of a car accident, a good lawyer will help you recover the costs of hospital bills, medication, medical equipment, and any other rehabilitative care. If you require supportive equipment, such as a wheelchair or walker, a home health aide, or long-term inpatient care, those costs should be reimbursed.
Regaining Life Skills
Loss of independence and daily living skills are among the most debilitating symptoms of TBI. At the residential level, patients may receive as much as 3-5 hours of intensive therapy per day, focusing on functional skills like bed and toilet transfers, mobility – either with a wheelchair or walking, and feeding skills. Depending on the severity of the injury, some patients may need to work with a speech-language pathologist to relearn how to communicate and to eat safely, as choking and aspiration are common issues among those with serious brain injuries.
Getting Back On The Road
For those with the most severe injuries, it’s unlikely they will ever drive independently again, but if you have a relatively minor head injury, it’s certainly possible that you will be able to drive in the future. In order to reach that point, however, you’ll likely require treatment for any vestibular issues or vision disturbances that interfere with the ability to maintain balance and see clearly, as well as pain management for any remaining injuries. Proper psychological intervention can also help you regain the necessary confidence and relieve trauma symptoms resulting from the original accident.
In Pursuit Of Recovery
After a TBI, many people experience anxiety, insomnia, and mood fluctuations that can be unpredictable and difficult to control, and this can include fits of anger or depression that require support. That’s why it’s important to include your family and friends in the rehabilitation process. With a full understanding of your TBI and the physical and psychological trauma you have experienced, they can support you in your recovery and help you regain your independence. Though you may experience setbacks and moments of frustration, with the support of family and friends, you will be on the road to recovery.