Driving in West Texas often means long, lonely stretches of road. Still, people who travel in West Texas and are likely to encounter a variety of other motorists on the road. Some of these motorists are responsible drivers like you. Others may be drowsy or intoxicated. Some people drive sedans while others drive pickup trucks or SUVs. And people in West Texas are likely to encounter many semi-trucks when on the road.
Semi-truck accidents are especially damaging due to the sheer size and weight of a semi-truck. If you are struck by a semi-truck your car might be totaled and you may feel a bit shell-shocked but if you feel okay, you may be grateful thinking you have walked away from what could have been a serious accident relatively unharmed. Unfortunately, this sense of security can be shattered if days after the accident you feel “funny” or “off” only to discover you had a hidden injury that did not manifest itself immediately after the crash.
Traumatic brain injuries: a latent injury
Traumatic brain injuries (TBI’s) are caused when your head strikes an object such as your steering wheel, dashboard or even the airbag itself. TBI’s can also be caused by a sudden jolt to the head. For example, if you were rear-ended your head may jolt forward. Sometimes it is immediately apparent that you have a TBI. You may lose consciousness, have dilated pupils, have fluid leaking from your ears or nose or have a visible crack in your skull.
Still, it could be days or weeks following the crash for symptoms of a TBI to manifest themselves. The truck accident may have occurred a week ago when you suddenly start getting a headache, feeling numbness in your extremities, develop confusion, have vision changes, become dizzy or have cognitive difficulties. For this reason, it is important to seek medical care after a truck accident even if you think you are uninjured. A medical professional can examine you and run tests to determine if you have a TBI. Prompt treatment of a TBI can lead to a better outcome, and you can hold the responsible party accountable for your injuries if you choose to.
TBI’s are not unusual
TBI’s are not uncommon in the U.S. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that in 2014 alone an estimated 2.87 million people in the U.S. suffered a TBI. This led to approximately 288,000 hospitalizations — 20 times more than hospitalizations for spinal cord injuries. Approximately 80,000 to 90,000 individuals will have long-term disabilities due to a TBI. Motor vehicle accidents are a leading cause of fatal TBI’s and non-fatal TBI’s.
Recognize the signs of a hidden TBI and seek help
If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident in West Texas, you may want to seek medical care even if you initially feel well. A physician can look for hidden injuries such as a TBI. In addition, you may want to make sure you understand your legal rights and options following a serious car crash or truck accident. In some cases, you may be able to pursue compensation for the damages you suffered in the collision.