Post Car Accident Coma And Your Right To Compensation

car accident victim in coma at hospitalA coma refers to a state of prolonged unconsciousness of a person. Traumatic brain injury, alcohol intoxication, drug use, stroke, and brain tumor can lead to a state of coma.

When a person is in a state of coma, his brain function must be preserved, as well as his life. It is a medical emergency and a critical condition that requires immediate attention.

The state of coma can usually last for weeks. However, some go into what is called a persistive vegetative state. Those who enter this state are declared brain-dead. Some who recover from a coma can also end up with disabilities.

Understanding a Coma Prognosis After a Car Accident

Since the person in the state of coma cannot express himself, exams and tests are performed to come up with a diagnosis. Medical professionals will also rely on the information that the patient’s family members and friends will provide, such as:

  • How the person lost consciousness, whether instantly or over some period of time
  • Events leading to the state of coma, such as headaches, nausea, and vomiting. This can also include involvement in accidents, such as car crashes.
  • Symptoms before the patient lost consciousness
  • Medical history of the patient
  • The patient’s use of prescription and non-prescription drugs

A physical exam, series of laboratory tests, and brain scans will also be done on the patient. The physical exam will include:

  • Checking movements and reflexes.
  • Testing reflexive eye movements.
  • Checking the skin for traumatic injuries and bruises.

Laboratory tests can include taking blood samples to check blood count, electrolytes and sugar, kidney and liver functions, overdose, and carbon monoxide poisoning. Brain scans include CT scans, MRIs, and EEGs.

The Case Of Anne Heche

On August 5, 2022, Hollywood star Anne Heche crashed her car in Mar Vista, Los Angeles. Her vehicle caught fire, and she was trapped inside. It took the responders 30 minutes to get her out of her burning car.

Heche fell into a coma for days. She was declared brain-dead on August 11. Her family took off her life support on August 12.

Coma And Traumatic Brain Injury Statistics

More than any other traumatic injury, traumatic brain injury contributes to more death and disabilities worldwide. Around 69 million individuals suffer from traumatic brain injuries each year from various causes.

Recovery statistics vary depending on the severity of cases. For moderate cases, the recovery rate is approximately 60%. About 25% of those who recover and regain consciousness suffer from disabilities. For severe cases, the recovery rate is lower at 25% to 33%.

Can a Car Crash Put Someone In a Coma?

Yes, a car crash victim can go into a coma. Comas are commonly caused by injuries to the brain. Head injuries due to a car accident can lead to brain swelling or bleeding.

When the brain swells, it pushes up against the skull. The swelling pushes down the brain stem, affecting the brain’s Reticular Activating System. The Reticular Activating System is responsible for a person’s state of awareness.

What Happens Right After Injury To The Brain?

After the brain is injured in a car crash, the brain tissues react to the trauma and tissue damage. Fluids that were once housed safely are now out and are flooding the brain. These substances now also cause further damage to the brain.

For severe injuries, some victims may lose consciousness. Some car accident victims may suffer from severe anoxic brain injury, where the brain is cut off from its oxygen supply. The lack of oxygen can lead to the patient falling into a coma and even being declared brain dead.

Symptoms Of Coma

The symptoms of a coma can include the following:

  • Irregular breathing
  • Prolonged unconsciousness
  • No responses from limbs, but there are reflex movements
  • No response to painful stimuli
  • Depressed brainstem reflexes

One cause of coma is brain swelling or edema. A traumatic brain injury, brain tumor, infection, and stroke can cause brain swelling. The swelling increases the pressure inside the skull, preventing blood flow and depriving the brain of oxygen. This can lead to brain damage; worse, the patient may enter a persistent vegetative state.

Symptoms of brain swelling include headaches, dizziness, seizure activity, stupor, memory loss, nausea, and vision loss. It also affects a person’s ability to walk and talk clearly. A person suffering from brain swelling is put on life support to ensure that the brain receives the blood and oxygen it needs to remain healthy.

Reasons a Coma Happens

A coma happens when there is brain damage. It occurs when there is damage to the cerebral cortex or to the reticular activating system.

It can result from many possible reasons, which include:

  • Stroke
  • Traumatic brain injuries caused by a car crash or trauma
  • Tumor
  • Toxin buildup
  • Lack of oxygen due to drowning or a heart attack
  • Diabetes
  • Drug or alcohol overdose
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Infections
  • Heavy metal poisoning
  • Repeated seizures

What Is a Medically-Induced Coma?

A medically induced coma uses medications to achieve deep yet reversible brain inactivity. Medical practitioners do this to protect the brain from further damage.

It uses anesthetics to achieve deep sedation of the brain. It gives the brain time to heal and recover, especially for those suffering from brain injuries.

How Long Can a Person Live In a Coma?

A person in a coma can live for years, even decades. Removing life support, however, can lead to death, especially for those who need assistance in breathing.

However, many also regained consciousness from a coma. Many patients recover full awareness and bodily functions.

The longer someone remains unconscious, the lower their chances of recovering full awareness. How much time the family can wait differs from case to case. It depends on the unique situation of the patient. It is a devastating experience that no one should go through.

Expenses Involved In Traumatic Brain Injuries

The expenses involved when someone suffers from traumatic brain injuries can include the following:

  • Initial medical expenses, including emergency room visits, tests and scans, and medicines.
  • Lost wages
  • Home care or attendant care
  • Medical Mileage
  • Replacement Services
  • Long-term hospital stay for patients in coma
  • Rehabilitation, such as physical therapy and brain training

How a Car Accident Attorney Can Help When a Loved One Is In a Persistent Vegetative State

Long-term hospitalization for patients in a coma or persistent vegetative state is not cheap. It can last for years, so medical expenses can also skyrocket.

A qualified attorney experienced in car accident cases can help the patient recover damages to support his medical expenses and rehabilitation. An attorney can also represent the victim and deal with his insurance company to ensure maximum coverage.

What Should I Know If I’m Caring For a Person In a Coma?

A coma is devastating not only for the patient but for immediate family members as well. A family member caring for a coma patient must be ready for many physical, emotional, mental, and financial hurdles.

A person in a coma is usually taken care of in an ICU. Their medical team must ensure that they get enough fluids and nutrients to support their body functions.

Even if the patient does not respond, take the time to visit and talk to him. Reading to the patient and playing music for him can also help. He may not be able to respond yet, but he may be able to hear what’s happening around him. Even without verbal responses, tell the patient some good news that he will be happy to hear.

Can a Person In a Coma Still Recover?

Yes. Many people regain consciousness and recover from a coma. However, some have regained consciousness but still have limited responses. Recovery can be gradual, and it may take a while before he can exhibit verbal responses. Some patients who respond positively can also suffer from temporary post-traumatic amnesia.

Brain scans, such as a CT scan, can also help determine the chances of a coma patient waking up.

Average Settlement And Maximum Compensation In Traumatic Brain Injury Cases

Traumatic brain injuries are a devastating experience for everyone involved. The patient can be in a critical condition that may negatively affect his quality of life.

Average and maximum compensation can range from hundreds of thousands of dollars to millions. The compensation is meant to cover the victim’s lost wages, pain and suffering, treatment costs, and rehabilitation.

How To Seek Financial Compensation After a Car Accident That Caused a Traumatic Brain Injury?

The victim should not deal with his insurance and other matters related to his accident while in the emergency room. A qualified attorney can assist victims of traumatic brain injury in seeking financial compensation.

Experienced attorneys investigate the case, including interviewing medical professionals, to establish a solid case to help the victim recover maximum compensation.

FAQs About Car Accidents And Personal Injuries

What to do after a car or personal injury accident?

  • Take photos of the scene of the accident.
  • Take pictures of the injuries.
  • Follow medical advice.
  • Write down what happened while every detail is still fresh.
  • Make a list of possible witnesses.
  • Seek a qualified personal injury attorney.

Contact Experienced Attorneys for a free case review after a car accident.

If you are involved in a car accident in Michigan, do not hesitate to seek legal assistance. The Clark Law Office provides personalized representation, helping clients recover just settlements and verdicts. We charge no fees unless we win. Give us a call now for a free consultation.

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