Can “crashworthiness” play a part in a TBI diagnosis?
You often hear about head injuries that result from vehicle crashes. It often sounds like the impact of the crash was the cause of this kind of medical issue.
However, there is another way to look at the reason someone suffered head trauma, and perhaps traumatic brain injury: A flaw in crashworthiness may have contributed to the medical issue.
Vehicle accidents are responsible for more than half of all traumatic brain injuries reported, and it is easy to see why. A heavy impact that fractures or penetrates the skull can result in TBI. The force of an impact can also cause the brain to collide with the inside of the skull, which could result in bruising or bleeding. Blunt trauma, as when the head strikes a hard object like a windshield or steering wheel, is often the cause of severe injury to the brain.
The meaning of “crashworthiness”
Crashworthiness is a term that automobile manufacturers often use when testing cars for safety. It refers to how well a vehicle can protect occupants during an accident, and this subject might be debatable in a court case in which the victim of a crash sustained injuries, possibly TBI. Fault for the accident or even how it occurred are not at issue. The focus of the case will be on whether the vehicle provided adequate protection for driver and passengers.
If an accident victim receives a diagnosis of TBI, an attorney will not discount the possibility of a defect in the vehicle or vehicles involved. Automotive faults might include defective seat belts or airbags; tire failure; poorly designed roofs, which could be crushed in a rollover accident; or even faulty latches on doors.
Traumatic brain injury can cause long-lasting effects, such as chronic pain, headaches, speech impediments, double vision, even personality changes that could include ongoing anxiety or depression. Crashworthiness can indeed play a role in a car accident that results in traumatic brain injury and will be a consideration during the investigation of the incident.