Car Accidents and Traumatic Brain Injury

Traumatic brain injury can be catastrophic in car accidents, which cause roughly 17 percent of all head traumas. Usually, a blow to the head is responsible for the head injury, but it can occur in more subtle ways. For instance, in a rear-end accident, the impact from behind causes the head and upper thorax to move rapidly backward and forward in a whip-like motion. During this, the brain moves back and forth within the skull striking its rough surfaces. The inner surfaces of the bony skull are rough and add to the damage. This damage can have an effect on the way the brain functions and lead to permanent disability or death.

Other Reasons for a Traumatic Brain Injury in a Car Accident

Some of the most common accidents that result in a traumatic brain injury are:

  • Impact of the head with the steering wheel, side and front windows, dashboard or a loose object can cause a head injury. The intensity of impact is not always the sole determiner of the TBI. The area of the skull that is impacted also makes a huge contribution to the nature of the injury. For instance, the side and temple area of the head is critically linked to traumatic brain injuries. 
  • Head-on collision: When two vehicles impact in a head-on collision, the intensity of the impact is tremendous. The brain moves forward within the skull at the same speed the vehicle was going prior to impact. That means if the vehicle is traveling at highway speeds, the brain hits the rough inner area of the skull at roughly 55 mph. This can cause serious head injuries.
  • Side-impact collisions: Here, the brain is thrown against the skull in the direction of the impact and then back against in the opposite direction, causing a coup-contrecoup injury. This type of injury is intense since the brain will sustain damage on both sides. In addition, the type of brain injury is influenced by what part of the vehicle is struck in a side-impact crash. For instance, if the door is struck, this can be more dangerous than if the rear or front of the vehicle is impacted since the injured party’s head may directly impact an object or the window/door frame, resulting in a fractured skull or direct penetration of bone or debris into the brain.

Types of Traumatic Brain Injury in a Car Accident

The following types of traumatic brain injury are frequently seen with an auto accident:

  • Concussion: This type of injury is usually mild and resolves with rest and analgesics. However, in some cases, symptoms such as upper back pain, headache and confusion persist for much longer. This can be disabling for the individual and may keep them from working. A personal injury claim may recover medical costs, lost wages and compensation for pain and suffering.
  • Hematoma: A blow to the head can result in a collection of blood on the surface of the brain or within it. The blood puts pressure on the brain, causing swelling and disturbed function. Often, the blood must be surgically removed to prevent further deterioration and death.
  • Coup-contrecoup injury: As we said earlier, this injury is caused by the brain hitting both sides of the skull after an accident. 
  • Coma: In severe accidents, the damage to the brain may be overwhelming and prevent the injured party from regaining consciousness. Depending on the nature of the injury and where it is located, the person may remain in this state. 
  • Diffuse axonal injury: This is the most consequential brain injury. It deals with the shearing of axons, the long interconnecting filaments that transfer information from one neuron to another. This interferes with the way the brain functions.

Olinde Law Firm

When you are injured in a car accident and suffer a traumatic brain injury, you need the legal insight of an experienced attorney. Most TBIs require long-term hospitalization and often rehabilitative therapy. Filing a lawsuit against a negligent party who caused the injury is necessary to obtain the compensation you deserve. It is wrong for you to suffer both the financial and physical pain the injury caused. 

Let us help you recover full damages by calling the Olinde Law Firm at (800) 587-1889 or reaching out to us online to schedule a free case review. We make every effort to do this in a manner that is easy for you as you recover from your injuries.