- Brain injuries often happen in automobile accidents and can cause symptoms that range from minor to severe.
- For car accident victims, brain injury clinics can provide specialized diagnostic and treatment options outside a hospital setting.
- It may be advantageous to retain an experienced personal injury lawyer to help you recover costs associated with traumatic brain injury caused by auto accidents.
What Is a Brain Injury Clinic?
Brain injury clinics are multi-disciplinary facilities where the treatment of many forms of traumatic brain injuries and physical disabilities – both temporary and permanent – can be diagnosed and treated.
Brain injuries are often caused by automobile accidents but can also result from sports and playground injuries or slip and fall incidents. TBIs occur when the brain, which floats in the fluid within the skull, is banged, bumped, shaken, or slammed against the bone of your skull. In violent collisions or falls, the force of impact can cause bruising and other damage to the brain.
Such violent impacts, and the TBI they cause, can interfere with how your entire body functions. An injury to the brain can have devastating effects.
Symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injury
Symptoms of TBI can appear immediately or develop in the hours or days following a car accident that caused head trauma. Some common symptoms of brain injury include:
- Loss of consciousness for seconds, minutes, or hours
- Persistent headache
- Vomiting or nausea
- Convulsions or seizures
- Dilation of one or both pupils of the eyes
- Clear fluid draining from nose or ears
- Difficulty awakening from sleep
- Weakness, tingling, or numbness in fingers and toes
- Loss of coordination
- Confusion, agitation, combativeness, or other odd behavior
- Slurred speech
In the past, only hospitals offered brain-related treatment and therapies for injured patients. These treatments – which can range from physical and occupational therapy to language and other cognitive skills – used to be administered in either inpatient or outpatient hospital settings. Fortunately, there are now separate and specialized trauma clinics where treatment can also occur.
Medical Technology Found at Most Brain Injury Clinics
Brain injuries are not visible to the naked eye, so they require specialized diagnostic tools to define and treat injuries. Some of the tools below are used to diagnose and treat brain injuries at specialty clinics:
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) with Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI)
- Testing protocols, such as ImPACT (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Test)
- Videonystagmography (VNG) or eye movement testing
- Balance tracking systems
The Main Benefits of Going to a Brain Injury Clinic
Brain injuries, even more than other injuries, can have widespread consequences for the body and how it functions. Moreover, the physical impacts of such injuries can be temporary or permanent. In either case, crucial work to maximize communication between the brain and the affected body parts is critical.
Patient rehabilitation following a brain injury sometimes requires relearning basic skills, such as speaking, walking, or problem-solving. At a brain injury clinic, specialists are available to help make rehabilitation possible.
Specialists That Work at Brain Injury Clinics
Brain injuries and their treatment require intervention by specialists who can help treat the disruptions to normal activity these injuries cause. Some of the specialists most commonly associated with brain injury clinics are:
- Physiatrist – A doctor trained in physical medicine and rehabilitation who oversees the entire rehab process, manages rehab problems, and prescribes medication as required.
- Occupational therapist – Helps patients learn, relearn, or improve skills to perform everyday activities.
- Physical therapist – Assists with mobility and relearning movement patterns, balance, and walking.
- Speech and language therapist – Helps improve communication skills.
- Neuropsychologist – A specialist who assesses cognitive impairment and performance to help the patient manage behaviors or learn coping strategies. This physician can also provide psychotherapy as needed for emotional and psychological well-being.
- Social worker or case manager – Facilitates access to service agencies, assists with care decisions and planning, and manages communication among various professionals, care providers, and family members.
- Rehabilitation nurse – Provides ongoing rehabilitation care and services.
- Traumatic brain injury nurse specialist – Helps coordinate care and informs the family about the injury and recovery process.
- Recreational therapist – Assists with time management and leisure activities.
- Vocational counselors – Assesses the ability to return to work and appropriate vocational opportunities.
Common Car Accident Injuries Treated at Brain Injury Clinics
Each brain injury is as unique as the individual involved and must be evaluated and treated accordingly.
Brain injuries generally present themselves in one or more of the following areas of function:
- Cognitive – The ability to think, reason, and solve problems.
- Cervical or spinal – Motor function, whiplash, headache, muscle weakness, pain, tingling, and numbness in the arms and legs.
- Post-trauma headache – Sensitivity to light, sound and smell, nausea, vomiting, or intense pain that doesn’t go away, making daily functions difficult or impossible.
- Balance – Impairments in the body’s ability to remain and feel balanced.
- Ocular/motor – Makes it hard for the two eyes to focus or track together, resulting in difficulty with reading or physical coordination.
- Anxiety and mood – Can cause trouble controlling thoughts, leading to anxiety, irritability, and sleep issues, all of which can impair quality of life.
Any of these areas of impact can also include pain, which may need to be managed for the short or long term in order to regain or maintain a good quality of life following a car accident.
How to Get an Appointment at a Brain Injury Clinic
In an emergency situation, such as immediately following an auto accident, you may be treated at the hospital emergency room. The treating physician may discover signs of TBI and recommend follow-up treatment.
If concussion symptoms develop in the hours or days after the accident, you may decide to see a brain injury specialist. Depending on your insurance coverage, you may need a referral to go to a TBI clinic. However, contacting a brain injury clinic in the Atlanta area will help you understand how to proceed.
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Obtaining Compensation to Pay for Brain Injury Clinics
Seeing any specialist can be expensive due to the technical expertise and required diagnostic equipment. Fortunately, the cost of seeing a brain injury specialist is often covered by health insurance or the insurance of the at-fault party in your car accident.
In accidental injuries, someone else’s negligence or reckless driving may make them liable for your injury and require them to pay for the care you need to recover. In some cases, the injured party will need to retain an attorney to make this happen. This does not always mean going to court. In fact, most matters are settled before a lawsuit is even filed. However, sometimes it’s simply more effective to have a trained legal professional handle the complicated details and negotiations necessary for an auto accident claim to obtain full and fair compensation.
Most attorneys offer a free first consultation so you can better understand how to proceed with your claim. Knowing how to move forward is the key to finding and receiving the care you need to restore your quality of life after a traumatic brain injury.