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Car accident brain injuries can have long-lasting ramifications

Brain injuries are incredibly complex, in part because they can take so long to fully develop.

For instance, maybe you're driving out of town for the weekend, traveling at night so that you can beat the traffic. It's dark, so you never see the car coming toward you without its headlights on. Then that driver, perhaps distracted or under the influence, drifts over the center line.

The resulting car accident rips your car apart. You wake up as you're getting rushed to the hospital.

With broken bones, cuts and lacerations, you often know much of the impact right away. There could technically be complications, like infections or injuries that never quite heal right, but you have an idea of the full scope of the injury pretty quickly.

That's not always the case with head injures. Maybe you were out cold until you woke up in that ambulance because you have a brain injury.

If so, experts warn that it can increase your risks of dementia or Alzheimer's. This could take years. If you get Alzheimer's a decade after the crash, that is still connected to the crash, even though your physical injuries are long-since healed.

These aren't the only long-term issues. Experts also point to things like:

  • Mental confusion
  • The inability to remember the crash itself
  • Difficulty learning new information
  • Problems remembering things you do learn or things you're told
  • Speech issues, like trouble talking coherently or finding the right word
  • Issues with your hearing
  • Vision problems
  • A lack lack of coordination and/or feeling unsteady on your feet

By no means is this a comprehensive list, but it helps to show you the multitude of symptoms you could face. No two brain injuries are exactly alike and the issues are tied to many factors, like the type of head injury -- open or closed, for instance -- and exactly what part of the brain got hurt.

That said, it's often hard to know how long these issues will last or if you'll ever get over them. Maybe you're having trouble speaking after the crash, often forgetting what you're saying or unable to come up with the right word. Are you going to deal with it for just a few months? Will therapy help? Are you never going to speak properly again? What is the expected recovery percentage projected by your doctor?

The long-term nature of brain injuries is why many people are wary of taking settlements too quickly. You end up basing the settlement with the driver who caused the accident off of the issues you're facing at the time, but that doesn't take into account how long they last or if very serious ailments, like dementia or Alzheimer's, will show up years later.

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