Road traffic accidents – how can they cause brain damage when there is no evident injury to the head?

Anne Maguire | Feb 2016

This is the first article in a series about brain injury claims. The article will describe the symptoms that can be experienced in road accidents, the experts likely to be involved and the difficulty in identifying this type of injury.

Diffuse Axional Injury
When a road collision occurs the head and brain can suddenly be accelerated forwards and then forced back against the seat rest. These sudden movements within the brain can cause microscopic tears of the brain tissue which are too small to be seen on today’s scanning equipment. What is difficult about these cases is that the injured person’s brain scan may appear normal and indeed the injured person may appear normal in that there is no fractured skull or apparent injury. However the microscopic damage within the brain is very real and its effects can be devastating.

The injured person may experience immediate problems with visual disturbance, headaches, dizziness, memory problems and an inability to recall the hours before the accident. But there may be other symptoms such as

  • Loss of taste and smell
  • Personality change
  • Loss of confidence
  • Loss of decision making skills
  • Loss of self control
  • Aggression

This list is not exhaustive. It is often family and friends who play a vital role in understanding the extent of these problems as they are the most likely people to notice any changes in the injured person.

In pursuing a claim for brain injury a number of experts may be required such as a:

  1. Neurologist to comment on the risk of epilepsy and migraine
  2. Neuropsychologist to comment on cognitive difficulties and problems with memory, attention, concentration and lack of organisation
  3. Neuropsychiatrist to comment on behavioral and personality problems

Failure to identify the injured person’s problems and instruct the correct experts may mean that they are not fully compensated for the extent of the injury and the effect on their life.

Anne Maguire is a Fellow of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers and a member of the Brain Injury Group and is highly experienced in bringing brain injury claims. If you would like to receive initial free advice about the possibility of pursuing a brain injury claim please contact Anne or any member of our team on 01908 689369.

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Categories: Personal Injury