Car accidents are the second leading cause of traumatic brain injuries. In fact, nearly 20 percent of all brain injuries are caused by motor vehicle crashes. However, sometimes, these injuries are not properly diagnosed. When a medical professional fails to recognize the signs and symptoms of a serious brain injury, the results can be fatal.
After a car accident in Atlanta, accident victims often experience a surge of adrenaline. This surge of adrenaline can mask signs and symptoms of a serious brain injury. As such, they don’t immediately seek medical attention because they believe they’re uninjured.
Unfortunately, as the days pass, these injured accident victims may begin to realize that something is not right. They may start to slur their speech or suffer from debilitating headaches. When they do finally go to the emergency room or to a doctor’s office, medical professionals may not take the time to properly evaluate their condition. Or they may overlook more serious symptoms.
What happens when doctors or specialists miss a brain injury or fail to recognize the severity of the injury?
Sadly, when there is a misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis of a brain injury, further brain injury can occur. In some cases, this can permanently impair brain function, resulting in a longer recovery time and even death.
Why are Traumatic Brain Injuries Sometimes Misdiagnosed Following a Car Accident?
Medical professionals have a duty and responsibility to provide the best care for their patients. This means thoroughly evaluating car accident victims for signs of a traumatic brain injury. Yet sometimes, doctors and specialists miss the signs of a brain injury.
There are many reasons why a medical professional may fail to diagnose a brain injury after an Atlanta car accident, including:
- Quick Examination. A less thorough examination can result in a misdiagnosis of a brain injury. This is medical professionals fail to gather all the facts surrounding the auto accident during quick exams.
- Few Symptoms. In some cases, there may be no (or few) obvious symptoms of the brain injury until days after the auto accident. Even when latent symptoms such as depression and PTSD occur later following a car crash, a physician may attribute them to other injuries rather than a TBI.
- No Signs of Head Trauma. Lack of diagnosis or a misdiagnosis can occur in patients with no obvious signs of head trauma. Yet, in many cases, a violent movement of the brain inside the skull—with no overt signs of trauma—can jolt the brain to the point that it shifts within the skull. The brain can then begin to swell over the next few days, but the brain trauma could be missed at the initial exam.
- No Reliable Brain Injury Tests. There are no definitive methods for diagnosing a brain injury. While CT scans and MRIs can help identify brain injuries, they are fallible.
- Other Injuries Are Traumatic. Many patients with a traumatic brain injury come into the ER with a multitude of other injuries that demand immediate attention. If there are no overt signs of a traumatic brain injury, the hospital staff may be so focused on attending to the other injuries that they fail to recognize brain trauma. In short, ER doctors are looking for obvious, life-threatening injuries.
- Understaffed ER. In a very busy ER, a patient with a traumatic brain injury could receive inadequate medical care or poor monitoring of traumatic brain injury symptoms.
When TBI Symptoms Worsen Over Time
Symptoms of a TBI regarding behavior, sleep, memory, and thought processing may not become readily apparent for days, even weeks following the car accident. For some, symptoms are not noticeable while they are at home and resting. However, once they return to work, they might suddenly find they are having difficulty concentrating, multitasking, or accomplishing tasks that once were second nature.
When left undiagnosed, TBIs can affect overall physical health, cognitive abilities, and mental wellness. An untreated brain injury can result in anxiety, depression, and substance abuse. It is imperative that doctors diagnose brain injuries—no matter how “minor”—following an Atlanta car accident.
Contact Our Atlanta Car Accident Lawyers
For years, the Kim Law Team has been there to help injured car accident victims and their families in Atlanta and throughout the state of Georgia. From Buckhead to DeKalb, we have helped secure millions for our clients.
If you suffered a traumatic brain injury in Atlanta, we can help you pursue maximum compensation. Our law firm offers FREE initial consultations and reviews, so you can get the answers you need – when you need them. Call 404-587-8946 or fill out our confidential contact form. Just call and JUST WIN.