Vestibular Injuries Caused by Traffic Accidents

One of the lesser known consequences of suffering a traumatic head injury in a car crash, motorcycle wreck, truck collision or other accident is a vestibular injury. The vestibular is the brain and inner ear system which coordinates and processes balance information as well as maintaining the automated vestibulo-ocular reflex (VOR) which ensures a clear vision while moving. Because patients suffering from vestibular injuries are often misdiagnosed as being ataxic, it is important that you are fully aware of the nature of vestibular injury and that you explain to your doctor any circumstances which could have contributed to it.
Head and brain injuries are extremely common in traffic wrecks and a variety of other serious accidents which frequently occur throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. Concussion, contusion, skull fracture, traumatic brain injury (TBI) and subarachnoid or subdural hemorrhage are all common injuries you might suffer from a severe head injury. As with any of them, a vestibular injury is extremely serious as it could mean permanent damage.


Initial symptoms of a vestibular injury include vertigo, dizziness, loss of balance, nausea, sweating and vomiting. This is caused by the unbalanced spatial orientation signals being sent to the brain from the left and right ears, which your brain falsely interprets as constant movement. It is believed that the brain compensates for this massive unbalance by effectively “switching off” the signals and then gradually reintroducing them over time. In the period where the patient is operating without spatial orientation, it is common for the initial ill feelings to subside, but for feelings of unsteadiness and blurred vision to increase. Over time, the brain will slowly reintroduce the spatial orientation signals in an attempt to recalibrate itself following the initial head injury. For most patients, the entire process takes approximately a month. However, it should be expected that dizziness and vertigo will persist for months or even years following the injury.

Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy

Unfortunately, this natural “recalibration” process is not successful for all patients. In such cases, it may be appropriate for them to seek Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy from a specially-trained physical or occupational therapist. This treatment is designed to improve the patient’s balance system going forward by desensitizing it to problematic movements and enhancing the brain’s ability to fine tune itself as it naturally attempts to recalibrate itself. It is important to realize that even though the patient’s balance is restored, the balance system injury still exists - the brain simply teaches itself to adapt to the injuries.

Find Out About Your Legal Rights

If you or someone you love has suffered a head injury (including vestibular injury) in an auto accident or other scenario, it is important that you consult with a board certified personal injury lawyer who will be able to explain your legal rights as they apply to your personal situation. You may be entitled to compensation.
To speak to an attorney today, please call the Anderson Law Firm toll free at 800-354-6275 or locally in Fort Worth, Texas at 817-294-1900.
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Mark A. Anderson
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Board Certified Personal Injury Lawyer in Fort Worth, Texas