Motor vehicle accidents can be devastating.
A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is one of the most severe and life-threatening types of injuries resulting from a car crash.
According to the CDC, there are around 1.7 million TBIs every year as an isolated injury or with other injuries.
TBIs are usually caused by a violent blow or jolt to your head or body, which is very common during a car accident.
Your head could hit the steering wheel, a window, or be hit by a projectile inside of your car.
In the article below, we will discuss the prevalence of traumatic brain injuries in car accidents.
What Is A TBI?
TBI is a term used to describe the effects of a traumatic brain injury (TBI).
A TBI could be one of a few mild injuries or it could be a catastrophic injury.
Traumatic brain injuries typically result from a violent blow, violent shaking, or a sudden jolt to the head or body.
If an object goes through brain tissue, like a shattered piece of skull, it can also cause traumatic brain injury.
Mild traumatic brain injury, like a mild concussion, may affect your brain cells temporarily.
Severe traumatic brain injury can result in bruising, torn tissues, bleeding, and other physical damage to the entire brain.
These injuries often result in long-term complications or death.
If you think a head injury may have occurred during a car wreck, you must seek medical attention immediately.
The symptoms of a head injury may not be immediately noticeable, which is why it is critical to be seen by a health care provider after a suspected head injury or TBI.
How Common Are TBIs In Car Accidents?
Car accidents are the second leading cause of TBIs.
Car crashes make up 17.3% each year.
Slip and fall accidents comprise just over 35% of traumatic brain injuries.
The leading causes of TBI-related deaths are motor vehicle crashes, suicides, and falls.
In 2014 motor vehicle crashes were the leading cause of death for individuals aged 15-24, 25-34, and older adults over 75, according to the CDC.
An estimated 200,000 injuries every year result from traffic accidents.
TBIs after car crashes are complicated because they can occur even if you don’t experience a direct impact.
The physical force from a sudden impact in a collision can move the brain without your head bumping into anything.
That’s why if you’re involved in a car crash, you must always be checked by a doctor.
You should also always wear a seat belt, and small children should always sit in the back seat of a car secured in a child safety seat or booster seat.
Types Of TBIs In Car Wrecks
Several types of TBIs can occur during a car wreck.
Below is a list of some of the most concerning closed head injuries that you should know about:
- Concussions: These are the result of trauma to your brain from a moment of impact or a change in momentum, like a sudden deceleration when cars collide. A loss of consciousness may result, but not always. Concussions can take weeks, months, or years to heal.
- Contusions: A contusion occurs when your brain is bruised due to small blood vessels breaking.
- Coup-contrecoup injuries: These injuries are two contusions on opposite sides of the brain. If a violent impact or momentum change suddenly stops your skull’s motion, your brain continues moving, slamming into one side of the skull and rebounding into the other side.
- Diffuse axonal injuries: These are shearing-type injuries that result when the nerves of the brain are stretched past the breaking point. This is done by impact or rapid, violent rotation. It’s a “diffuse” injury because it can damage numerous parts of the brain, not just at the point of impact. When the nerves tear, chemicals in the cells are released, causing further cell damage and death. Axonal injuries are devastating, causing permanent brain damage, functional impairments, comas, and death.
Symptoms Of A Traumatic Brain Injury
Traumatic brain injuries have wide-ranging physical and psychological effects.
Some signs or symptoms appear immediately, but others take days or weeks to appear.
Symptoms of a traumatic brain injury include:
- Memory loss
- Poor concentration
- Loss of consciousness
- Double vision
- Memory Loss (loss of memory about things that occurred before or after the accident)
- Blurred vision
- Loss of coordination
- Loss of balance
If you have any of these symptoms after a direct blow in a car accident, seek medical attention immediately.
Symptoms vary from patient to patient because every head injury is different.
Severe cases may lead to extended periods of unconsciousness, coma, or even death.
A diffuse injury will typically cause a decreased level of consciousness.
Focal injuries result in symptoms that vary depending on the affected area of the brain.
Car Accidents That Can Result In TBIs
A widespread injury to occur during car accidents is whiplash.
When your head is violently thrown back and then forward, whiplash occurs.
During this motion, your brain can strike the inside of your skull at high speed, resulting in mild to moderate symptoms of a TBI.
A front-end collision can also cause your vehicle to stop abruptly.
Your body will continue to move forward at the same rate of speed you were traveling before the impact while your car comes to a sudden stop.
This could also cause your brain to slam against your skull.
Severe injuries to your face are often accompanied by a traumatic injury to the brain.
Side-impact collisions cause your head to be thrown in the direction of the impact.
If your car is struck on the driver’s side, the impact will throw your head left.
This causes your brain to strike the right side of your skull and then rebound to hit the left side.
Being struck directly in the side will be much more destructive than being struck further in the vehicle’s front or rear.
If you hit your head against the window or steering wheel during a rear-end collision, it can result in lacerations on your head or skull fractures.
Shards of glass or bone fragments can enter your brain and cause devastating, life-threatening wounds.
These injuries are known as open head injuries.
Testing And Treatment for TBI After A Motor Vehicle Accident
Even though structural changes will appear in MRIs and CT scans, these diagnostic imaging tests do not detect all brain injuries.
Diagnosing a TBI after a car accident involves functional testing and diagnostic imaging.
Imaging tests for TBIs include Positron Emission Tomography (PET) and Single Photon Emission Computerized Tomography (SPECT).
For a TBI patient, medical care includes cognitive-behavioral rehabilitation, medication, assistive technology, environment manipulation, education, and counseling.
The TBI is a primary injury, so the primary goal of your initial treatments is to prevent any secondary injury to the brain.
Can I Sue For TBI After A Car Accident?
You can definitely sue for this type of head injury after a car accident.
You can sue the at-fault driver for medical bills, property damage, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages resulting from your crash.
But, you first have to show that the other driver was at-fault for causing the collision and that your injuries and damages are a direct result of the accident. Hiring a lawyer after a car accident will aid in gathering the necessary proof to prove the other party liable.
Schedule A Free Consultation with a Personal Injury Attorney
If you or someone you love has suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) due to an accident, you need a brain injury lawyer to ensure you get the compensation you deserve.
If you’ve suffered a personal injury caused by another party’s negligence, Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys are here to help.
Our experienced legal team understands the impact a TBI can have on your life, and we will fight to win compensation for your medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
We have been helping people bring their claims to court for the last decade and continue to fight to get the compensation our clients deserve.
Call us today to schedule your free consultation so our Traumatic Brain Injury Attorneys can start helping you with your personal injury claim.