Car Accidents and Traumatic Brain Injuries

March 29, 2024

The forces exerted in a car accident can be tremendous. As a result, traumatic brain injuries are common. These injuries can be life-changing. They can require extensive medical treatment, require months or years of recovery, and often result in permanent disabilities. If you or a loved one has suffered a traumatic brain injury in a car accident, a skilled car accident attorney can help you pursue a claim for compensation to recover your losses. 

What Is A Traumatic Brain Injury? 

A traumatic brain injury (or “TBI”) has been defined by the Centers for Disease Control as “a disruption in the normal function of the brain that can be caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head, or penetrating head injury.” It is important to emphasize that you can suffer a TBI even if you have not fractured your skull or lost consciousness for an extended period of time. Any disruption of brain function qualifies as a traumatic brain injury. 

TBI Symptoms You May Experience Following a Car Accident

Unless you have suffered severe head trauma, many brain injuries are not immediately apparent. There is a broad range of symptoms that include physical, sensory, cognitive, and emotional effects. Some of the most common symptoms include the following: 

  • Persistent headaches
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness or loss of balance or coordination
  • Blurred vision
  • Ringing in your ears
  • Sensitivity to light or sound
  • Difficulty concentrating, clouded thinking, or “brain fog”
  • Disorientation or confusion
  • Mood swings
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Emotional outbursts or crying
  • Personality or behavioral changes
  • Changes in taste or smell
  • Insomnia 
  • Unusual fatigue

Many of these symptoms are subjective and hard to observe by anyone but you. Listen to your body. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms following your car accident, you should seek immediate medical attention. Even relatively “mild” brain injuries can result in severe consequences to your long-term health. More severe brain injuries can result in permanent disability or even death. Older adults and children carry a heightened risk of suffering long-term consequences from serious brain injuries, so do not hesitate to advocate for those people you love who may have suffered a TBI. 

What Causes Brain Injuries in Car Accidents 

Generally speaking, brain injuries arising from car accidents are caused in the following ways: 

  • Direct impact. A direct impact injury occurs when the head strikes or is struck by a physical object. For example, in a car accident, you may strike your head on the steering wheel, the dashboard, or the side window. Your head may be struck by objects in the car or objects outside of the car that enter the car. Your head may also strike another passenger. Direct impact injuries can range from relatively mild to severe. 
  • Acceleration-deceleration. A car accident can exert significant forces on the occupants of the vehicles as a result of sudden acceleration or deceleration. Whiplash is one of the most common acceleration-deceleration brain injuries where the head is whipped back and forth causing the brain to move within the skull.  
  • Rotational forces. Some accidents can result in forces being exerted from multiple directions, resulting in a twisting or spinning motion for the vehicle and its occupants. This can result in rotational forces being exerted on the brain, causing it to twist within the skull and leading to severe injuries. 

The brain injuries sustained in car accidents can have life-long consequences. If you have suffered a brain injury in a car accident, an experienced car accident attorney can help you get the compensation you need to move forward. 

Are Concussions Traumatic Brain Injuries?

Concussions are one of the most common injuries sustained by car accident victims. A concussion is a traumatic brain injury caused by forces exerted on the head that cause the brain to rapidly move back and forth within the skull. This can cause damage to the brain tissue, ranging from mild to severe.

While most concussions are mild and require minimal treatment, recent studies have shown that even mild concussions can cause long-term adverse effects. Whether your concussion is mild or severe, make sure that you get the treatment you need and consider contacting an attorney to discuss whether you need to pursue a claim for compensation. 

Common Traumatic Brain Injuries Caused by Car Accidents

In addition to concussions, common TBIs caused by car accidents include the following: 

  • Penetrating injuries where objects penetrate the skull and cause injury to the brain
  • Contusions, bruises on the surface of the brain that can cause swelling or bleeding
  • An intracerebral hematoma where blood pools in the brain tissue
  • A subdural or epidural hematoma where blood pools between the brain and the skull
  • Traumatic subarachnoid hemorrhage, which is when blood pools in the subarachnoid area as a result of very serious car accidents 
  • Diffuse axonal injuries that occur when the brain’s nerve fibers are torn, causing severe damage to the brain
  • Coup-contrecoup injuries where the opposite side of the brain from the point of impact is injured. 

These injuries can require extensive medical treatment and perhaps weeks or months of recovery. In addition to your medical bills, you may be unable to work or take care of your family. In some cases, the brain injury can result in a permanent disability. To protect yourself, it is vital that you get the treatment you need. It is equally important that you discuss your rights and your options with a car accident attorney. 

Contact a Car Accident Lawyer at The Grife Law Firm if You Have Suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury

At The Grife Law Firm, we know how overwhelming it can be to experience a serious injury as a result of a car accident. Whether you need help navigating the insurance claim process or just want to discuss your options, we can provide you with the guidance you need. To discuss your case and how we can help, call us today at 561-998-0770 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.