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  • Writer's pictureRobert Schuerger II

Traumatic Brain Stem Injury | Car Accident Cases in Tennessee

In personal injury cases, a traumatic brain stem injury is one of the most devastating consequences of a car accident. This type of head injury doesn't just affect the cerebrum; it directly impacts the human brain stem, a crucial part of the central nervous system.

A car accident in Tennessee can have mild to severe consequences. Traumatic brain injury victims may experience a range of symptoms. This includes loss of consciousness, paralysis, and changes in vital signs like blood pressure and heart rate.

Where Is the Brain Stem Located?

Where Is the Brain Stem Located?

The brain stem, often described as the body's control center, connects the brain to the spinal cord. It plays a role in regulating essential functions like breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure.

During a severe traumatic brain injury, the stem can be seriously affected. This leads to what medical professionals call "brain stem damage."

The brain stem is located at the very base of the skull. It connects to the spinal cord. Although small in size, the stem controls many bodily functions. Any severe head injury that causes brain stem damage can potentially hinder the performance of the following three parts of the brain:

  • The medulla oblongata controls autonomic functions, such as breathing, gagging, heartbeat, sneezing, etc.

  • The pons relays the signals between the body and the CNS. It regulates sleep, balance, respiration, etc.

  • The midbrain controls vision, motor function, hearing, body temperature, etc.

There are primary and secondary issues to consider in brain stem injury cases. The primary injury happens at the moment of impact, where the brain stem sustains immediate damage. Secondary injuries may develop in the hours or days following the accident, often due to swelling or bleeding in the brain. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys has more insight to a broken neck from car accident as well.

What Are Brain Stem Injuries?

When an external force, like the impact of a car accident, jolts the head, it can cause the brain to move rapidly within the skull. This movement can cause damage to the delicate brain stem tissue.

Brain stem injuries are not a one-size-fits-all situation; they can vary in severity. Some may be relatively mild, causing temporary symptoms, while others can be severe, resulting in long-term or permanent damage.

Symptoms of a Traumatic Brain Injury

The consequences of a brain stem impact can be significant. A brain injury can lead to various symptoms since the stem regulates crucial functions such as breathing, heart rate, and more.

These might include loss of consciousness, difficulty breathing, paralysis, changes in vital signs, and even coma. Brain stem injury victims may suffer from other possible symptoms, including the following:

a. Locked-in syndrome

b. Speech impairment

c. Vision, taste, smell, hearing disruption

d. Loss of balance

e. Cognitive impairment

f. Death

The varying degrees of severity can make a brain stem injury a critical concern in head trauma cases.

How Do Brain Stem Injuries Happen in Motor Vehicle Accidents?

Brain stem injuries can result from the force and impact experienced during a collision in automobile accidents.

These injuries often happen due to the rapid deceleration when a vehicle comes to a halt, either by colliding with another object or abruptly changing direction. Here's a breakdown of how these injuries happen:

1. Whiplash Effect

One common scenario involves whiplash, where the head is violently thrown forward, backwards, or sideways upon impact. This rapid movement can cause the brain to shift within the skull, potentially damaging the brain tissue.

2. Direct Impact

In some cases, the head may directly hit the steering wheel, dashboard, or other parts of the vehicle during a collision. This impact can transmit harmful forces to the brain stem, leading to injury.

The severity of a brain stem injury depends on various factors. This includes the speed of the vehicles involved, the angle of impact, and the use of safety measures like seat belts and airbags.

Finding Liability for Traumatic Brain Injuries in a Car Accident

Finding Liability for Traumatic Brain Injuries in a Car Accident

In the unfortunate event of a car accident resulting in a traumatic brain injury (TBI), determining liability becomes a critical aspect of seeking compensation for the victim's damages. It involves establishing who was at fault for the accident and, consequently, responsible for the brain injuries sustained.

a. Establishing Negligence

To hold someone liable for a brain stem injury in a car accident, it's important to establish negligence. This means one party failed to exercise reasonable care, directly leading to the crash and subsequent injuries.

Common examples of negligence in car accidents include reckless driving, speeding, distracted driving, or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

b. Identifying the At-fault Party

Liability in car accidents often hinges on identifying the at-fault party. This may be a negligent driver, but it could involve other parties, such as the vehicle manufacturer. The manufacturer may be guilty of mechanical failure or poor road maintenance in hazardous road conditions.

c. Gathering Evidence

To build a strong case for liability, evidence is crucial. This may include the following:

  • Police reports

  • Eyewitness testimonies

  • Accident reconstruction experts' assessments

  • Photographs

  • Medical records

Demonstrating a direct link between the crash and the brain injury is pivotal. Medical experts often play a crucial role in this process by providing expert testimony. They can show the cause-and-effect relationship between the accident and the injury.

d. Comparative Fault

In some cases, multiple parties may share liability for the accident. States follow various legal principles, such as comparative negligence, where the court assesses each party's degree of fault. Depending on the jurisdiction, this can impact the injured party's compensation.

e. Insurance Claims and Legal Action

Experienced vehicle accident lawyers determine liability through the insurance claims process. Legal action is necessary if the parties involved can't reach an acceptable settlement.

In such instances, the victim and their attorney can file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party. This claim will seek compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages resulting from the severe brain stem damage.

Final Words

Brain stem and broken ribs from car accident in Tennessee represent a significant challenge for victims and the legal system. These injuries can have life-altering consequences affecting the body's control center.

The experienced lawyers at Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys offer legal guidance to victims. Stating "We Go to War for You," they can help plaintiffs and their families in the pursuit of justice in the aftermath of such traumatic events.


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