Any car accident can be scary. However, when you experience a brain injury like white matter disease, it can be downright catastrophic. Something wrong with your brain can be worse than a broken bone.
You should know that you have rights you can fight for to deal with the outcome of a collision. This type of diagnosis can come with high medical costs. You may also experience a decline in your quality of life.
A car accident attorney in Atlanta can help walk you through the steps so you do not have to go through it alone and can fight for compensation.
How Car Crashes Can Cause White Matter Damage
Sudden traumatic injury to the brain triggers the onset of white matter disease. Car accidents frequently lead to this type of trauma. It can do this in a few ways, such as:
- The rapid acceleration/deceleration forces in a crash cause the brain to jolt violently within the skull.
- If the brain tears, bleeds, swells, or bruises due to banging against bone, this constitutes a traumatic brain injury.
- These injuries disrupt healthy nerve connections. Diffuse axonal injuries – small tears scattered throughout the white matter – are common.
- Over time, this progressive tissue damage can manifest as widespread white matter disease.
In addition, prior concussions also raise the risk. Someone with multiple past concussions may be more prone to developing white matter disease if they endure another head injury in a crash. White matter damage can lead to a long list of neurological disorders.
Other Neurological Disorders Resulting from Traumatic Injury
While white matter disease is one potential consequence of a serious traumatic brain injury sustained in a car accident, many other neurological conditions can also develop following significant head trauma. A few common neurological disorders are discussed below.
Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE)
CTE is a degenerative brain disease that can develop after repetitive head impacts or traumatic brain injury. CTE results when tau proteins accumulate abnormally in the brain, slowly killing brain cells. Car accidents can trigger CTE in two primary ways:
- The violent rotational acceleration and deceleration forces during an accident can cause long-term issues.
- Through repetitive concussions or subconcussive impacts sustained over months/years following the initial accident. For example, a victim who suffers dizziness and headaches for years after a crash is at risk for developing CTE down the road due to persistent post-concussive syndrome.
Post-concussion syndrome involves lingering concussion symptoms that persist for weeks or months after the initial head injury. A car accident can bring about post-concussion syndrome in the following ways:
- The violent impact to the head suffered during a collision causes an initial concussion – bruising, swelling, or bleeding in the brain that disrupts function.
- If the brain is not rested enough to heal after this concussive injury, symptoms like headaches, dizziness, and cognitive problems can drag on. This is post-concussion syndrome.
- The forces imparted on the brain during the crash may cause more subtle structural damage that becomes apparent later as persistent post-concussion issues.
- Repeated jolts to the head during a collision can make someone more prone to long-lasting concussion effects.
Epilepsy involves recurrent seizures and can develop following certain types of head injuries. A car accident may bring about epilepsy in a few ways:
- If the head trauma from the crash causes bleeding, bruising, or other damage to brain tissue, scar tissue can form as the area heals.
- This scar tissue can then interfere with the proper electrical signaling between neurons in the brain.
- Victims who experience a penetrating head wound or skull fracture during the collision are also more prone to developing epilepsy later on.
How to Prove White Matter Disease Is a Result of the Car Accident
If you plan to pursue injury compensation, a key step is thoroughly demonstrating your white matter disease directly resulting from the car accident. It is also important to show the extent of the damage and how it has changed and affected your life. This requires strategic legal and medical evidence gathering with an Atlanta car accident lawyer:
Get Your Medical Records
The first thing you should do is get your diagnosis. Make sure that all neurological symptoms are reported. Your report should also show clinical notes documenting the progression of white matter disease.
If you have any prior medical records that show you had none of the issues you do right now, that can be helpful.
Show a Comparison with Imaging Tests
As you prepare your medical records, include past MRIs, CT, or PET scans showing no white matter disease before the crash. This is important to compare to new scans taken as it can reveal the onset of lesions. If you do not have a past test like this, there are other ways your doctor and car accident lawyer in Atlanta can prove this.
Work with Medical Specialists for a Thorough Review
Work with a medical expert to review your records, images, cognitive testing results, and clinical timeline. They can authoritatively confirm the accident trauma-catalyzed damage, which transformed into white matter disease. Their expert opinion will significantly impact your case in court and insurance claims.
Test Cognitive Function
Get neuropsychological testing to show any impairment in memory, thinking ability, processing speed, attention, or reasoning arising after the crash due to white matter damage. If you can compare any pre-accident testing showing your cognition was better before the accident, that would be ideal. However, if you do not have that, see if you can get witnesses to vouch that your cognitive function has declined.
Prove Initial Treatment
The first thing you should do in any accident case is get treatment. Any and all paperwork and documentation from those appointments should be used for your case.
Having the documents is further proof of your case. It can show when and how the white matter disease developed and will match up with your car accident timeline.
Let Us Help You Prove Your Case
Experiencing such a traumatic outcome from a car accident is devastating. Proving your case may take extra work, but it will be worth the effort. Our team is ready to help walk you through the next steps you should take.
Contact us for a free consultation to work with an Atlanta car accident attorney to fight for your rights.