A sleep disorder as serious as sleep apnea can develop after you’ve suffered injuries in an Atlanta car accident. Injuries that you sustain in a car accident can affect your ability to sleep properly and get enough airflow.
If you were injured in a car accident and you’ve developed sleep apnea as a result, our car accident lawyers in Atlanta can help you. We can gather evidence, help you cope with the aftermath, and recover damages.
How Car Accidents Can Cause Sleep Apnea
There are two main types of sleep apnea: obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and central sleep apnea. A car accident has the potential to cause or exacerbate sleep apnea by influencing factors related to each type.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) happens because the muscles at the back of the throat become lax while sleeping, which can stop the flow of air into the lungs. A car accident could cause OSA by damaging the structures of the throat and airway. Common injuries like whiplash may harm the soft tissues and muscles, making them more prone to collapse during sleep.
Facial or jaw fractures from the accident could also alter the airway anatomy over time. Swelling from injuries or post-accident surgeries may narrow the throat temporarily, triggering apnea episodes.
Central Sleep Apnea
With central sleep apnea, the brain fails to signal the muscles to breathe during sleep periods. Traumatic injuries in a car accident, such as brain injuries or spinal cord damage, put you at risk if areas controlling breathing patterns are affected. Blows to the head increase the odds of neurological complications or undiagnosed injuries contributing to central apnea over the long term.
In both cases, psychological stress from an accident may also play a role by increasing anxiety or interfering with normal sleep physiology. The use of painkillers post-accident could further suppress breathing drive during rest. So, while rare, major collisions that injure structures in the head, neck, or throat area may cause or worsen underlying sleep apnea.
Evidence an Atlanta Car Accident Lawyer Uses to Prove the Crash Caused Sleep Apnea
If you develop sleep apnea after a car accident, your Atlanta car accident lawyer will need compelling evidence that directly links the two. Some key types of evidence that we can collect include:
- Your medical records and diagnostic tests: Pre-accident medical history showing no apnea symptoms. Post-accident sleep studies reveal the onset of apnea episodes. MRI and CT scans exposing head and neck injuries from the crash.
- Expert medical testimony: Depositions from ENT doctors, neurologists, or pulmonologists who can directly relate the specific crash-caused injuries to apnea development based on your characteristics and case details.
- Accident reports and photos: Police reports establishing fault and details of the collision and injuries you sustained. Photos of vehicle and property damage supporting impact force witness statements about crash details.
- Your ongoing treatment records: Records showing apnea diagnosis dates, continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy prescribed, and ongoing management of sleep issues directly attributable to injuries.
What Damages Can You Recover After Suffering Sleep Apnea in an Atlanta Car Crash?
If an Atlanta car accident caused your sleep apnea, your lawyer can pursue financial compensation for the damages you incurred. The types of damages that may be recoverable include:
- Medical expenses: All costs associated with diagnosing and treating your sleep apnea, such as sleep studies, CPAP supplies, repairs, surgery if needed, and ongoing doctor’s visits.
- Lost wages: If your condition prevented you from working or earning as much, compensation for salary, commission, and benefits lost due to extended treatment and recovery time.
- Pain and suffering: Monetary damages for physical and emotional pain and suffering from your injuries, as well as restrictions and loss of enjoyment from activities due to ongoing sleep issues.
- Disability and impairment: Money for any long-term limitation on activities or life expectancy due to sleep apnea’s effects on your health.
- Loss of consortium: If married, damages for your spouse due to changes in the relationship, such as loss of intimacy due to CPAP use or excessive daytime sleepiness.
Your Atlanta car accident attorney will seek full reimbursement for the financial costs of your injuries against the at-fault driver’s auto insurance or assets. With strong evidence, you may receive a settlement large enough to pay all related damages from suffering post-crash sleep apnea.
How to Cope With Sleep Apnea After an Atlanta Car Accident
Being newly diagnosed with sleep apnea after a car accident can be difficult to adjust to. Here are some tips that may help you cope:
- Follow treatment as prescribed: This likely involves CPAP therapy. It takes time to get used to, but it will improve your symptoms and long-term health.
- Get enough rest during the day if needed: Fatigue from untreated apnea can impair your daily activities. Naps may help until treatment starts working.
- Learn your symptoms and triggers: Being aware of when apnea episodes occur can help you manage your condition.
- Join a support group: Connecting with others coping with apnea provides encouragement and strategies for living well.
- Open up to family and friends: Talking about your experience and condition helps you feel less alone in dealing with the impacts of apnea.
- Practice stress management: Relaxation techniques such as yoga or meditation can counter increased anxiety from the accident and diagnosis.
Let Our Team Help You Prove Your Sleep Apnea After a Car Accident
After an accident, you’re likely to have issues sleeping, and when you develop sleep apnea as a result of an Atlanta car accident, it makes it so much harder. You deserve justice for the losses and additional injuries you’ve suffered. Our Atlanta car accident attorneys can help you recover the compensation you qualify for.
Contact us for a free consultation today.