The Critical Link Between Delta Velocity and Severe Car Accident Brain Injuries

by Paula A. Wyatt | July 10, 2024 | Auto Accidents, Blog | 0 comments

The Critical Link Between Delta Velocity and Severe Car Accident Brain Injuries

How Wyatt Law Firm uses Delta V to help TBI victims fight for their rights

Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are a devastating and frequent result of severe car accidents in Texas. Unfortunately for TBI victims, recovery is far from a guarantee and the cost of medical treatment, rehabilitation, and accommodation can quickly spiral out of control.

Under most circumstances, insurance companies should cover the cost of damages for car accident victims with brain injuries. However, when faced with the responsibility of the staggering cost and commitment, adjusters and their lawyers start looking for any excuse to reduce or deny claims. This makes proving how car accidents cause brain injuries critical to the success of TBI accident claims.

Which is precisely why Wyatt Law Firm has made it our mission to be TBI and, in particular, "Delta V" experts for victims seeking justice.

What is Delta V: The small phrase that has a big impact on car accident cases

Delta V helps assess the severity of the impact experienced by the occupants of the vehicles involved in an accident. Higher Delta V values typically correspond with more severe injuries, including TBIs. In personal injury claims and lawsuits, Delta V can be useful in undeniably establishing the extent of damages suffered by injured victims. If a brain injury occurred due to a high Delta V impact, it can strengthen the victim's case for compensation.

Let's take a closer look at the science and real-world scenarios.

Delta V is the difference in the speed or velocity a body experiences in a car accident. Delta V changes rapidly as the vehicles involved decelerate or accelerate abruptly upon impact, with the greatest change occurring at the moment of collision and then tapering off as the vehicles come to a stop. How a body experiences Delta V in a crash and the severity of resulting injuries typically depends on three main factors:

  1. Road user type. TBI risk increases with increasing total Delta V and road user vulnerability. For example, accounting for Delta V, pedestrians and cyclists had a 6-time higher likelihood of moderate and severe brain injuries than car occupants.
  2. Velocity. Extreme or high Delta V is not necessary for a car accident to cause life-altering brain damage. Research shows that serious injuries can occur with changes in Delta V as low as 6 mph.
  3. Impact direction. Meanwhile, for car occupants, impact direction was a determining factor of severity. Injured crash victims exposed only to lateral Delta V had a higher risk of moderate and severe TBI than those exposed only to longitudinal Delta V.

While Delta V itself does not directly measure the severity of brain injuries, it is a strong predictor of the likelihood and potential severity of injuries sustained in a vehicle crash - especially brain injuries. Scientists measure Delta V by analyzing the difference in a vehicle's speed immediately before and after a collision, often using data from event data recorders or accident reconstruction techniques to quantify the velocity change experienced during the impact.

Research has demonstrated a predictable relationship between Delta V and brain injury severity. This growing body of work makes it hard for insurance companies to deny fault and injury severity in some accidents. Therefore, if an injured crash victim can establish the Delta V in an accident, they improve their compensation case.

Why establishing Delta V matters in a car accident injury claim

Not every serious car accident case requires an understanding of Delta V for the claim to be taken seriously. However, it's well known that insurance companies do not like to write large checks - even when they have a legal obligation to do so. Therefore, when it comes to TBI claims, our job at Wyatt is to present evidence that's so overwhelming the insurance company can't ignore their responsibility. This is why providing Delta V evidence in a brain injury case can be crucial under these and other circumstances:

  • Disputed liability. If there's a dispute over who was at fault in the accident, establishing the velocity of the crash could help determine liability. For instance, if the other party claims the collision was minor and couldn't have caused significant injury, evidence of high velocity could counter that argument
  • Severity of impact. Higher velocity crashes are generally associated with more severe injuries. If the velocity of the crash was high, it may help explain the severity of the brain injury sustained by the victim
  • Medical evidence. Medical experts may need to establish a causal link between the velocity of the crash and the specific brain injury suffered by the victim. This could involve analyzing the forces involved in the collision and how they may have affected the brain.
  • Compensation. The compensation awarded in personal injury cases often takes into account the severity and extent of the injuries. Evidence linking the velocity of the crash to the brain injury could help the victim receive appropriate compensation for their damages.

In a high Delta V car accident with brain damage, insurance companies may attempt to downplay the severity of injuries or shift the blame to the injured victim to reduce the payout. Without legal representation, individuals might find themselves unable to mount a successful challenge to the insurance company's objections. Having a passionate, experienced Texas TBI lawyer such as Wyatt Law on their side is a signal from the victim to the insurance company that they are serious about their claim.

Types of Delta V evidence

There are a variety of evidence types an experienced car accident lawyer can use to prove the relationship between Delta V in a crash and any resulting brain injuries. Delta V evidence in an injury claim may include:

  • Event Data Recorder (EDR) data. Information providing direct measurements of Delta V during the collision may be available - especially if a commercial truck was involved. Records regarding pre-crash vehicle dynamics, driver inputs, the crash signature, and post-crash data such as airbag deployment may be collected from the vehicles involved.
  • Biomechanical expert analyses. Delta V experts can demonstrate the velocity values that correlate with specific types of brain injuries. They illustrate the relationship between the collision's Delta V and the likelihood or severity of brain injuries.
  • Neuropathological studies. In fatal accidents, autopsies may provide evidence of high Delta V values to help document the type and extent of brain injuries sustained in a crash.
  • Medical records. Official medical records, CT scans, X-rays, MRIs, lab tests, and any other documents related to injury treatment may be relevant to proving high Delta V-impact brain injuries.
  • Car accident report. Compiled by police, the official crash report can include accident details about speed, direction, and more that support the presence of high Delta V.

These evidence types combined can help lawyers construct a compelling case that quantitatively and qualitatively links Delta V to brain injuries.

How can proving Delta V improve outcomes for TBI victims in an expensive case?

In our experience, one of the biggest reasons to prove Delta V in a car accident resulting in brain injuries is that medical treatment and lifestyle accommodations for TBIs are extensive and expensive. Brain injury victims often require immediate and potentially lifelong medical care, including surgery, therapy, and rehabilitation, with costs ranging from initial expenses of up to $400,000 to lifetime care potentially costing millions of dollars.

Without a substantial payout from the insurance company, victims and their families may have to pay for some or all of these expenses out of their own pockets. Long- and short-term effects of TBI requiring ongoing care may include:

  • Recurring medical issues. Frequent hospital visits and fluid buildup in the brain are possible and may indicate persistent and possibly worsening medical conditions post-injury.
  • Cognitive and physical impairments. Loss of memory, cognitive abilities, executive functions, and ability to speak or communicate effectively are among the severe impacts TBI can have on brain function.
  • Psychological and emotional effects. Increased incidence of substance or alcohol abuse, anxiety, depression, emotional trauma, and agitation point to the psychological toll of TBI.
  • Lifestyle and dependency changes. Needing help for daily activities, insomnia, constant headaches, and seizures - all of which substantially alter a person's lifestyle and increase dependency on others.
  • Social and professional impact. Loss of a job, inability to return to work, lack of satisfaction with life, decreased enjoyment of life, and learning difficulties reflect profound changes in social and professional life.

Some TBls can cause permanent and degenerative brain injury, such as dementia or Alzheimer's. TBls can shorten the life expectancy of a victim and make them more vulnerable to additional injuries. Long-term mental and physical disabilities due to TBl may require around-the-clock care.

At Wyatt Law Firm, we know the stakes are high for crash victims with brain injuries. That's why we take a comprehensive, holistic approach to calculating TBl compensation. We determine an amount supported by important evidence - like Delta V - and negotiate aggressively for everything you are owed.

What types of brain injuries are affected by Delta V?

Higher Delta V values are generally associated with more severe impacts and, consequently, a higher risk of serious injuries. Types of brain injuries in which Delta V values can help establish severity include:

  • Diffuse Axonal Injury. DAI is caused by severe rotation or shaking of the head, as might occur in high Delta V collisions, leading to shearing of brain connections.
  • Traumatic Subarachnoid Hemorrhage. TSAH bleeding into the space surrounding the brain, often from the tearing of veins, can be associated with high-impact crashes.
  • Epidural hematoma. Accumulation of blood between the dura mater and the skull may be the result of a fracture in the skull pushing on brain tissue. This can be a life-threatening injury.
  • Subdural hematoma. The collection of blood on the brain's surface beneath the outer covering can lead to increased pressure on the brain.
  • Intracerebral hemorrhage. Bleeding within the brain tissue itself can result from violent acceleration or deceleration forces in a crash.
  • Coup-contrecoup injury. This type of TBI occurs when the force of an impact causes the brain to collide with the opposite side of the skull, potentially causing contusions at both sites of impact.
  • Penetrating brain injury. When an object breaks through the skull and enters the brain, it's a penetrating brain injury. In high Delta V car accidents, pieces of the skull from a fractured bone can also penetrate the brain.

It's important to note that the relationship between Delta V and the occurrence or severity of these brain injuries is complex and can be influenced by various factors including the direction of impact, use of seat belts and airbags, and the physical characteristics of the individual involved in the crash.

What to watch for after a car accident: 5 signs and symptoms of a TBI

Signs of a high Delta V-related brain injury are not always easy to notice after a car accident. The aftermath of a crash can leave victims overwhelmed with shock and adrenaline - they may only notice symptoms of a serious brain injury much later. Look for any of these 5 common signs of serious headinjuries after a car accident:

  • Lost consciousness. Blackouts can result from varying degrees of brain injury, ranging from mild to severe, depending on the duration and frequency.
  • Sudden vomiting and nausea. This is often an immediate physiological response to brain trauma - signaling the brain's distress.
  • Seizures. Uncontrolled brain activity affecting a person's physical and mental state is a direct indication of significant brain disturbance, possibly denoting severe injury.
  • Extreme and worsening headaches. Persistent and intensifying headaches could signal escalating brain pressure or swelling.
  • Memory problems. Impaired memory function can range from confusion in mild cases to severe amnesia, pointing toward the extent of brain damage.

Brain damage can be a type of delayed pain injury. This makes knowing the symptoms of brain injury critical. Early medical intervention has the potential to stop or reduce the spread of damage. Always seek urgent medical attention following any vehicle accident, even if immediate symptoms are not apparent.

Compensation for brain injury victims

A Texas lawyer who understands Delta V and how to use evidence of its impact effectively may be key to building a case for maximum compensation. Based in San Antonio, the car accident lawyers and TBI attorneys at Wyatt Law Firm, PLLC know how to prove the relationship between Delta V and brain injury severity. We will fight aggressively for you to get the money you need now and in the future. If you were injured or a loved one sustained a TBI in a Texas car accident, contact us for a free case evaluation. At no cost to you, and with no obligation to hire, we will listen to what happened, answer questions, explain your options, and help you decide your next steps.


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