Unfortunately, auto accidents in North Carolina often cause skull, head, and brain injuries. The impact of a motor vehicle collision can lead to a blunt trauma to the head, cracking the bones of the skull.
Not all skull fracture injuries are equal. Some are relatively minor linear fractures—simple, straight-line breaks in the bone—and some are life-threatening depressed fractures. A person without medical training may not be able to judge the severity of a skull fracture at an accident scene. Indeed, even a trained physician will most likely need X-rays or other medical imaging to correctly diagnose and treat a skull injury.
First responses to a skull injury after a New Hanover County traffic crash
As we discuss in our book, The North Carolina Auto Injury Book—available for FREE on this website—getting the appropriate help at the accident scene should be the first step in any response to a traffic crash. Call for emergency responders after every accident, even if you believe nobody was seriously injured. If you do believe there were injuries, even minor ones, then tell the emergency dispatch operator that you will require an ambulance, as well as a law enforcement presence.
If you see someone with a head injury at the accident scene, take the following steps:
- Do not move the injured person unless it is necessary to save his life. If the victim must be moved, ask other people to help you. Stabilize the neck and head so they do not shift while the person is moved.
- Check for breathing and circulation. If necessary, begin rescue breathing and CPR.
- If the victim is conscious, do not allow him to engage in any physical activity.
- Inspect the injury area, but do not probe it with a finger or foreign object. If there is anything sticking out of the wound, do not touch it.
- If the victim is bleeding to a significant degree, place a clean cloth over the wound and apply firm pressure.
Medical care of skull fractures
Any patient with a skull fracture should expect to remain in the hospital for 24 to 48 hours for observation at least. The severity of the injury will dictate the course of treatment.
Mild skull fractures will have ice applied to the site to reduce swelling. The patient will have to rest for a few days while the bone starts to knit. He may be prescribed pain relievers. Complete healing of the bone will take from three to six months.
Moderate skull fractures will include the treatment options for mild fractures, but will probably require a longer hospital stay, with the first couple days spent in an intensive care unit to monitor pressure inside the skull. The patient may receive pain relievers, antibiotics, and nutrition through an intravenous line and may use an oxygen supply, especially if he has lost consciousness at some point. Some physical rehabilitation may be needed after the patient leaves the hospital.
Severe skull fractures almost always require surgery to reduce swelling in the brain and possibly to replace damaged bone matter with a metal or ceramic plate. The patient may need extensive interventions to maintain breathing, blood pressure, and heartbeat. If the patient survives, a prolonged period of rehabilitation therapy will probably be necessary.
Assuring a financial recovery
Regardless of the extent of your injuries, if you have experienced a skull fracture after a North Carolina traffic accident, you have probably accumulated an impressive amount of debt for your health care. Even a two-day hospital stay after a minor head injury can cost a few thousand dollars. If you also have to miss time from work, you are no doubt wondering right now, “How can I pay for this?”
Maybe our car accident lawyers in Wilmington can help you answer that question.
If your accident was caused by another driver’s negligent or malicious acts, you may have the legal rights to recover the full value of your losses. That means coverage for your medical care and rehab, compensation for your lost income, and damages for the pain you have suffered. Contact Speaks Law Firm in Wilmington by calling 910-341-7570 locally or 877-593-4233 toll-free from anywhere in North Carolina. Let us give you a free consultation about your case to tell you how we can act to preserve your rights and get the largest financial recovery available.