What to Do if You Suspect a Brain Injury After a Car Accident
It is not uncommon for crash victims to suffer a brain injury after a car accident. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that 1.5 million Americans suffer traumatic brain injuries (TBI) annually, with a significant percentage of these injuries resulting from car accidents.
If you have concerns about a brain injury after a car accident, you need to prioritize your health. You also need to prioritize your legal rights. Treatment for all forms of TBI can be incredibly expensive, and asserting your legal rights can help ensure that you are able to manage the financial and non-financial costs of your injury. With this in mind, here is an overview of some key steps to take when you suspect a brain injury after a car accident in Rhode Island:
1. See a Doctor Right Away
Any time you are dealing with a potential brain injury, it is important to see a doctor right away. Some forms of TBI require prompt treatment in order to mitigate their long-term risks; and, even with concussions, obtaining a prompt diagnosis is critical for understanding what you need to do in order to get better as quickly as possible. When you have a brain injury, stressing your brain or suffering a second impact can significantly increase your risk for permanent damage, cognitive impairments, and other consequences. So, at this point, seeing a doctor is a top priority.
2. Follow Your Doctor’s Advice (or Seek a Second Opinion)
Once you see a doctor and obtain a diagnosis, it is important that you follow your doctor’s advice. With concussions and many other forms of TBI, rest is critical for recovery. Your doctor will most likely recommend that you avoid strenuous physical or mental activity; and, if this is the case, you may need to stay home from work. Whatever your doctor recommends, following your doctor’s advice will be important for protecting your health and your legal rights.
With that said, you should seek a second opinion if you feel that one is necessary. Unfortunately, diagnostic errors and other forms of medical malpractice are far too common; and, if your doctor made a mistake, you may need to see another doctor in order to get the advice and treatment you need.
3. Preserve as Much Information as Possible
If someone else was at fault in your car accident, you are entitled to just compensation for the financial and non-financial costs of your TBI. But, recovering this compensation will require proof of liability. With this in mind, you should preserve as much information about the accident as possible. For example, to protect your legal rights, you should:
- Be sure to keep any photos and videos you took at the crash site.
- Locate your copy of the police report and the other driver’s (or drivers’) insurance information.
- Take notes (or ask someone to take notes for you) detailing everything you can remember about the accident.
- Hire a lawyer to investigate the cause of your car accident as soon as possible.
4. Report Your Car Accident
Under Rhode Island law, all drivers are required to report car accidents that result in personal injuries—including TBI. So, if you have not done so already, you should report your accident to the local police. You will also need to report the accident to your insurance company. If you are unsure how to report your accident, or if you are uncomfortable doing so, our lawyers can help.
5. Make Sure You Understand the Risks and Long-Term Costs of Your TBI
Finally, when dealing with a brain injury after a car accident, it is important to make sure you understand the risks and long-term costs of your injury. As we mentioned above, treatment for traumatic brain injuries can be incredibly expensive, and suffering a TBI can impact your life in many other ways as well. Additionally, if you ignore your injury, it could get worse—and these additional complications won’t necessarily be covered under your claim.
At Mandell, Boisclair, & Mandell, Ltd., we rely on decades of experience to help car accident victims in Rhode Island recover compensation for TBI and other injuries. If you need help after a serious crash we encourage you to contact our office as quickly as possible. The sooner you call our office, the sooner we can get started on your case. We handle accident claims on a contingency basis, which means you don’t get charged unless we win.
To speak with an experienced car accident lawyer at our Providence, RI law offices in confidence, please call (401) 273-8330 or tell us how we can reach you online today.