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Did your car accident cause a traumatic brain injury?

Your life was going along swimmingly. You had a decent job, a wife, three kids and a dog. You worked hard, but also played hard, too - a softball league in the summer, bowling in the winter, but still enough energy to coach the kids' soccer team. You were a man with a plan and a way to achieve it.

But then you got into that horrible car accident that left you with a traumatic brain injury, and suddenly, your world exploded. You're left with picking up the pieces and trying to fit them back together, and it's not easy.

Auto accidents are common causes of TBIs

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, during one four-year period, car wrecks were the number two cause of TBIs, at 17 percent, second only to falls at 35 percent. Statistics targeting only TBIs classified as moderate to severe, with patients having to be admitted to neurointensive care units, were mainly attributed to auto accidents.

Knowing that others are suffering just as you are does nothing to alleviate your distress when simply trying to communicate - it can frustrate you into an outburst. When it is directed at family members, even once-solid relationships can begin to fray.

Learning to live with the new normal

The good news is that some TBIs respond to treatment and heal over time. The bad news, of course, is that some don't. The usual pattern of healing for brain injuries is that most of the healing occurs during the first few post-accident months. Healing generally gradually tapers off, and by the first anniversary of the auto accident that caused the TBI, often patients have experienced most of the healing that is possible, given the severity of their brain injuries.

This is not to say that there are not exceptions, or that some TBI patients, with the assistance of special therapies - physical, speech, occupational and others - cannot continue to heal incrementally in the coming years. They sometimes can, and do.

But those professional therapy sessions are costly. After your accident and subsequent brain injury, you probably are no longer capable of working 40+ hours each week at your former profession. You may still be trying to re-learn the basics, like how to say "I love you" to your wife and kids, tie your shoes and manage all of your personal care tasks on your own.

Pursuing financial recovery for your injuries is possible

If your wreck was due to another driver's negligence or errors, you have the option of seeking compensation from the driver's insurance company. Sometimes a skillful personal injury attorney can identify and name additional defendants who bear some liability for your TBI and other injuries, which could enhance any future settlement or judgment you might receive from filing a claim for damages or a personal injury lawsuit.

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