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A car accident can cause epilepsy.
One of the most frequent causes of epilepsy and seizure disorders is traumatic brain injury. The initial injury can be mild, moderate or severe. Typically, however, it is severe head trauma that can lead to epilepsy. The brain injury can be caused by a car accident. For example, in a car accident a person’s head could strike the windshield or dashboard.
The Mayo Clinic says epilepsy is a central nervous system disorder (neurological disorder) in which the nerve cell activity in the brain is disturbed, causing a seizure during which a person can experience loss of consciousness and-or other abnormal behavior, symptoms and sensations. These symptoms can vary. A number of people with epilepsy may stare blankly for a few seconds during a seizure, while others twitch their arms or legs repeatedly.
According to the Stanford School of Medicine Department of Neurology and Neurological Sciences, epilepsy can be a delayed consequence of head trauma and about 5% of all epilepsy cases are due to this. Mild head trauma, with loss of consciousness for less than 30 minutes, typically barely increases the risk of developing epilepsy compared to the general population.
Stanford defines severe head trauma as “either loss of consciousness or amnesia for greater than a day or internal bleeding in or around the brain.” This type of head trauma leads to epilepsy in about 15% of adults and about 30% of children. If the brain was actually penetrated, like with a piece of debris, this is even more likely to cause epilepsy, about to 25 to 50% of the time.
Even treatment with medication immediately after trauma will not prevent epilepsy, said Stanford. In addition, posttraumatic seizures may not even appear for as long as 20 years after the accident possibly due to the long-term brain repair process after head injury. It takes a period of years for new connections and circuits to be formed in the brain.
Seizures are not the only problems associated with head trauma. People often develop migraine headaches, memory and concentration problems, mood swings, dizziness, and various other symptoms. Even after seemingly minor trauma, these symptoms can linger for months. With more severe head trauma, neurological symptoms may be permanent.
The repercussions of head trauma caused by a car accident can affect all aspects of life from social situations to school to work. Even mild seizures can be dangerous during activities such as driving or swimming. Because this condition is serious and may last a lifetime, it is important to contact a lawyer with experience representing individuals who suffer from brain injuries