What to Know About Car Accidents and Brain Trauma

What to Know About Car Accidents and Brain TraumaDepending on the severity of the car accident, there are multiple types of severe injuries that a person can sustain. Some people believe that spinal cord injuries are the most severe injuries experienced in a car accident; while others would say amputation would be the most severe injury. Others might say death is the most severe injury.

All of these injuries are catastrophic to the victims and their families, but traumatic brain injuries may be the most devastating. In some cases, they can last a lifetime, require around-the-clock care, and be indicated in causing severe complications like paralysis or death. Today, our Huntsville TBI attorneys break down what you should know about brain injuries from car accidents.

What is a traumatic brain injury?

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is the result of a blow to the head, or the penetration of the skull by an object. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that there are 1.7 million traumatic brain injuries each year. Although traumatic brain injuries can stem from several types of incidents, car accidents are the second leading cause of TBIs behind falls, responsible for 17.3 percent of TBIs each year.

What are some symptoms of a traumatic brain injury?

The symptoms of a TBI depend on the severity of the injury. TBIs can be classified as mild, moderate, or severe.

  • Some symptoms of a mild TBI include headaches, dizziness, nausea or vomiting, fatigue or drowsiness, and issues with speech.
  • Some of the symptoms of a moderate or severe TBI include a loss of consciousness that lasts from several minutes to several hours, clear fluids draining from the ears or nose, the inability to wake up from sleep, convulsions or seizures, and a loss of coordination. If any of these symptoms occur within the first hours or days of a head injury, individuals are advised to seek medical treatment.

How can a car accident lead to a traumatic brain injury?

When you are involved in a car accident, you can experience sudden, violent movement. This sudden, violent movement can cause your head to come in contact with several parts of a car, from the steering wheel to the dashboard to the car’s windows. If you are not wearing a seatbelt, the impact of the hit can be greater, and you risk being physically ejected from the car.

Even when you experience whiplash, a serious condition that is often giving short shrift, from being struck by another vehicle, this action can cause significant damage to your brain. When a person’s head is violently thrown backward and suddenly forward due to being rear-ended, the brain is in danger of striking the inside of a person’s skull at a high speed. This action can result in a person experiencing a mild or moderate TBI.

What types of car accidents lead to severe traumatic brain injuries?

Some of the common car accidents that lead to severe TBIs involve front-end collisions and side-impact collisions.

Front-end collisions can cause severe TBIs because both cars are forced to come to a complete stop after colliding with one another. However, your body will continue to move forward at the same rate of speed that the car was traveling before the impact while the car has stopped. When this happens, a person’s brain is capable of slamming against the skull with violent force. Even lesser impacts leading to whiplash can cause the brain to experience bruising and cause damage to the internal tissue and blood vessels.

A side-impact collision is a type of car accident where the side of one or more vehicles takes on the brunt of the accident. In this type of accident, your head is at risk of being thrown in the direction of the impact. This means that if the passenger’s side is hit, the impact may be less but it could cause your head to hit the window. If the driver’s side endured the brunt of the impact, your head will be thrown to the right.

When this happens, your brain is forced to strike the right side of the skull and then bounce back again, hitting the left side of the skull. This can cause tearing or bruising within the brain, potentially in a place that is not immediately detectable.

What are the types of traumatic brain injuries caused by car accidents?

Some of the common TBIs created by car accidents involve concussions, diffuse axonal injuries, contusions, and coup-contrecoup injuries.

  • A concussion is one of the most frequent brain injuries created by car accidents. Concussions can range from mild to severe and have the ability to become more fatal and cause life-threatening damages. A person suffering from a concussion requires rest for a full recovery.
  • A diffuse axonal injury is a head injury that is created when extreme forces are exerted to the head and brain, like the type of impact created by a car accident. The connection between the brain and the rest of the body can be compromised due to the rapid movement of the brain.
  • The fibers within the brain stem can wear and tear, leading to lifelong injuries like a coma. A contusion is a bruise on the brain. The brain can suffer a contusion when something strikes the head from the outside, like glass shards and other debris. When a person experiences a blow to the head by a sharp object, they are more likely to suffer from a contusion.
  • A coup-contrecoup is a TBI that happens when a person endures impact from an object. This type of injury can happen in two places: the site of the impact (coup) and the opposite side of the brain (contrecoup). These injuries occur when the brain moves within the skull in an impact.

After a traumatic brain injury caused by someone else’s negligence, the trusted Huntsville and Decatur personal injury lawyers at Martin & Helms are here to fight for justice for you. You may call us at 256-539-1990 or complete our contact form to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case. We also serve seriously injured clients in Athens, Madison, and throughout North Alabama.