Of all the injuries you can suffer in a car crash, a fractured skull is one of the most serious. If your skull is fractured, you could sustain a concussion or a more serious traumatic brain injury (TBI). Even if you don’t sustain a TBI, the long-term side effects of a skull fracture could be with you for life.
Types of Skull Fractures
The type of skull fracture you suffer determines what symptoms you experience and what treatment you require. The skull fractures you might suffer in a car accident include:
- Linear. The least dangerous skull fracture is a thin, straight crack in the skull that puts no pressure on the brain and results in minimal side effects.
- Diastatic. A crack traverses the bone and widens the separations between parts of the skull.
- Depressed. The skull is displaced inward, putting pressure on the brain. Surgery to implant a shunt in the brain to relieve pressure might be necessary.
- Open or compound. In this very serious fracture, the skull splinters and breaks through the skin. Bone fragments or sharp objects that cause the fracture can also pierce the brain. A life-threatening TBI and dangerous infection can result. Surgery is generally necessary.
- Basilar. This type of fracture occurs at the base of the skull and can affect the spine, causing leakage of spinal fluid. Symptoms may include blood or spinal fluid discharged from the nose or ears.
Long-Term Effects of a Skull Fracture
If you’ve suffered any blow to the head in a car accident, you could have a skull fracture and not even know it. Even if you have no symptoms, you should have a medical exam, diagnostic testing, and appropriate treatment right away to reduce the chances of the following long-term effects.
You might suffer short- or long-term memory issues that impact your work and your personal interactions. You could get lost while walking or driving, find yourself repeating things, have trouble finding the right words to express yourself, misplace items, or become distracted easily.
Headaches and pain in other parts of the body, as well as nausea, dizziness, lack of coordination, and balance issues, can persist after a skull fracture. Physical therapy, pain management, and medication might be necessary for an indefinite period of time.
Victims of skull fractures often have ongoing problems with:
- Solving problems
Practicing conversational and social skills with family and close friends can be a stepping stone toward overcoming cognitive issues, but they may persist to some extent for a long time.
Skull fractures can lead to eye pain, trouble reading, headaches, and blurred or double vision. Ongoing treatment by an ophthalmologist might be required.
Behavioral problems that can persist after a skull fracture include:
- Changes in personality
- Irritability or short temper
- Trouble processing emotions
- Lack of self-care
- Inappropriate behavior
Psychological or psychiatric care, as well as medication, may be required to address such issues, but overuse of medication, as well as abuse of alcohol and other substances, can exacerbate behavioral problems.
Even with prompt and appropriate treatment, the side effects of a skull fracture and resulting brain injury might persist throughout the victim’s life. If the victim is a child or adolescent whose brain is still developing at the time of the fracture, the long-term effects can be even more serious and debilitating.
Seeking Fair Compensation for Damages
If you suffer a skull fracture in a Virginia vehicle accident that wasn’t your fault, you could be entitled to file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company for your damages: medical bills, lost income, loss of enjoyment of life, and pain and suffering. Because of the potential effects discussed above, a skull fracture claim can be a very expensive one for the insurer, which will probably offer you a quick, low settlement before you have any idea of what your long-term medical needs will be. If you don’t accept their lowball offer, they will delay, devalue, or deny your claim in order to save money.
Before accepting any settlement offer, you should consult a car accident attorney who can fight the insurer’s unethical tactics, evaluate your claim, demand fair compensation, and take your case to court if a reasonable award is not offered. Contact us online or call us at 540-341-0007 to schedule your free consultation. You pay no attorney fees until we win your case.