How Common Are Traumatic Brain Injuries After Car Accidents?


A traumatic brain injury can cause severe and permanently disabling injuries. Some people with serious traumatic brain injuries will never fully recover and might need lifelong care. In a report to Congress, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated that an estimated 1.5 million Americans suffer traumatic brain injuries every year. Traumatic brain injuries are a leading cause of disability and death among children and young adults and can be caused by many different types of accidents or sports participation.

What Causes Traumatic Brain Injuries?

In most cases, traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are caused by a violent and sudden blow to the head. According to the CDC, the most common causes of TBIs include the following:

  • Falls
  • Gun violence
  • Motor vehicle collisions
  • Assaults
  • Contact sports

TBIs In Car Accidents

When one vehicle collides with another, the occupants will typically experience violent and sudden movement. The physical forces released in a collision can cause the occupants’ heads to hit their steering wheels, windows, or dashboards, and objects freely flying around inside of the vehicles can also strike the victims’ heads. In some cases, people who suffer whiplash injuries when their heads are violently thrown forward and backward because of a rear-end collision will also have their brains strike the inside of their skulls. This impact of the brain against the skull can result in a mild to moderate TBI.

Front-end crashes can also cause TBIs when vehicles are forced to come to abrupt stops. In a front-end collision, your body will continue moving forward at the same speed at which you were traveling before the crash and sudden stop. This movement can cause your brain to violently strike the bones of your skull.

Side-impact or T-bone crashes can throw an occupant’s head in the same direction as the impact. This type of collision can cause an occupant’s brain to strike one side of the skull before striking the opposite side. The severity of the TBI you might experience in a side-impact collision will partly depend on where on your vehicle the impact occurred. If the other vehicle crashed directly into the side of your vehicle, it will likely cause more harm than if it instead struck your vehicle at the front or rear. If you strike your head against a window, you can suffer lacerations to your face and head and skull fractures. Debris, bone fragments, and glass might enter your brain and cause life-threatening brain injuries. The bones of the skull are approximately 1/4 inch thick, so a blow to your head with the substantial physical forces involved in collisions could cause you to suffer lifelong injuries and disabilities.

Different Types Of TBIs

Accident victims can suffer several different types of TBIs in falls or vehicle collisions. If you receive a direct blow to your head, it can cause brain bruising and tissue and blood vessel damage. If you suffer a brain bruise in the area where your head was struck, it is referred to as a coup lesion.

If your brain was jolted and struck your skull as a result, it is referred to as a contrecoup lesion. Jolting of the brain against the skull can also rupture the brain’s lining and its blood vessels and tissues, which can result in bruising internal bleeding, and brain swelling.

If your head is penetrated by a foreign object, it can cause your skull to fracture and damage your brain tissue. Any type of brain damage caused by trauma is called a traumatic brain injury.

Traumatic brain injuries are classified into the following three levels.

Mild TBIs/Concussions

Mild TBIs are commonly called concussions and are relatively temporary. Someone who suffers a mild TBI might suffer the following symptoms:

  • Balance problems
  • Coordination problems
  • Headaches
  • Concentration problems
  • Memory problems
  • Poor judgment

Most people who suffer from mild TBIs will fully recover. However, if you suffer one concussion, you will be at risk of suffering more serious injuries if you suffer another TBI in the future.

Moderate TBIs/ Post-Concussion Syndrome

Some people suffer moderate TBIs and have symptoms that are prolonged. They might lose consciousness for several minutes following the blow to their head. In some cases, people with moderate TBIs will continue to experience symptoms for up to a year, which can also cause them to experience anxiety or depression.

Severe TBIs

Severe traumatic brain injuries include both closed- and open-injury TBIs. A closed-injury TBI can happen when the brain is harmed while moving inside of the skull. An open-injury TBI includes penetration of a foreign object into the skull and brain. This type of injury often causes a loss of consciousness and long-term side effects.

How TBIs Are Diagnosed And Evaluated

It is fairly difficult for doctors to detect mild traumatic brain injuries in patients. In the past, doctors relied on their patient’s statements to diagnose mild TBIs, but diagnoses have improved. Researchers have found that mild TBIs can result in significant cognitive issues. Doctors can now use diffusion tensor imaging to pinpoint the location in the brain of a mild TBI so that they can tailor a treatment plan to the patient. Doctors can also use MRIs and CT scans to identify areas where moderate to severe trauma has occurred.

Brain Injury Symptoms

The severity of your traumatic brain injury will affect how long it might take for you to recover.

Some of the types of symptoms you might experience that should prompt you to see your doctor include the following:

  • Blurred vision
  • Fatigue
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Confusion
  • Seizures
  • Agitation
  • Nausea
  • Sleep problems
  • Vomiting
  • Numbness of the extremities

Should You Call a Lawyer After a Car Accident?

After experiencing a car accident and potential brain injury, it is advisable to consider contacting a lawyer. A qualified car accident attorney can assess your situation, protect your legal rights, and guide you through the legal process. They can help you pursue compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages resulting from the accident. Seeking legal representation ensures that your rights are protected and increases your chances of a fair settlement.

Talk To A Philadelphia Brain Injury Attorney

If you suffered a TBI in an accident caused by someone else, you should reach out to an accident and injury attorney at Raynes & Lawn. Call us today to request a free consultation at 1-800-535-1797, or submit your information on our online contact form.




Get Help from an Experienced Injury Attorney

If you have lost your limb in an accident caused by someone else or while working on the job, you should speak to an experienced injury lawyer at Raynes & Lawn. Our team of attorneys is experienced in handling catastrophic injury claims, and we work hard to help our clients recover maximal compensation for their injuries and losses. Call us today at 1-800-535-1797 to request a free consultation.

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