A traumatic brain injury (TBI) occurs when a vehicle accident or other mishap causes trauma to the brain. Either direct impact to the head or severe whiplash can cause the brain to slam against the interior of the skull, damaging tissue and blood vessels and interfering with your brain’s normal functions. TBIs can be mild, moderate, or severe.
Types of Car Accident Brain Injuries
The brain injuries that might result from a car accident include the following.
A contusion is a bruising of the brain that can result from a car wreck or other external impact. A contusion can cause painful swelling, slurred speech, loss of memory, and other cognitive changes. If left untreated, a contusion can lead to an intracranial hematoma (brain bleed) or a blood clot in the brain.
A concussion is a mild TBI often suffered in car accidents and contact sports. It can result from whiplash, a hard impact, or a sudden change in momentum. A concussion victim might or might not lose consciousness at the time of the injury. Headaches, light-headedness, and disorientation are common symptoms. A concussion is generally treated with rest and medication but can become more serious if undiagnosed or untreated.
A penetrating TBI is a severe injury that occurs when something sharp pierces the brain. In a car accident, broken window glass or other sharp objects inside the vehicle might penetrate the skull. Shards of bone from a skull fracture could also cut into the brain tissue. Bleeding from the head after an accident usually indicates a possible brain penetration. Immediate medical care is required to prevent life-threatening blood loss.
Coup-contrecoup injuries can occur in head-on, rear-end, rollover, or T-bone accidents. The head might be jolted so hard that the brain bounces against the front and back of the skull or rebounds from the side of the skull where the impact occurs to the other side, causing damage to two opposing surfaces of the brain and doubling the damage and the danger to the victim.
Diffuse Axonal Brain Injuries
A diffuse axonal TBI is caused by hyper-rotation of the head in an accident. The extreme twisting of the brain stem can tear brain tissues and cause serious damage. Severe headaches, memory problems, loss of consciousness, and seizures can result. While some diffuse axonal TBIs can be treated with surgery and rehabilitation, the most serious cases can result in a coma or death.
Acquired Traumatic Brain Injuries
Acquired brain injuries are not caused by trauma to the head. Instead, they result from throat, chest, lung, or rib damage that leads to blood loss. The lack of blood flow can deprive the brain of its necessary oxygen and interfere with normal brain functions. An acquired TBI is not difficult to diagnose and treat as long as you get immediate medical attention after a crash that injures you anywhere between the throat and the waist.
Second-Impact Brain Injury
If you suffer a second TBI while you’re still recovering from the first, the chances of severe damage to the brain are significantly increased. This often happens if a victim’s first TBI is undiagnosed and untreated, so it’s important to seek medical attention after suffering any head or neck trauma in a car crash or other mishap.
Common Symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injury
Symptoms of mild to moderate TBIs include the following:
- Sensitivity to light
- Memory loss
- Lack of focus or concentration
- Nausea and vomiting
Severe TBIs can be characterized by any of the symptoms above, as well as slurred speech, lack of balance or coordination, tingling or numbness in extremities, seizures, or coma. If you suffer any of these symptoms after a blow to the head, you should seek medical attention right away. A doctor’s exam and diagnostic testing can reveal a TBI of which you might not be aware. Be sure to keep all documentation of your diagnosis and treatment, which is vital to your claim for damage compensation.
Understand Your Legal Options in Virginia
If you’ve suffered a TBI in a car crash or other accident caused by someone else, you’re entitled to compensation for all your medical expenses, as well as your property damage, lost income, pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life. Your first step toward obtaining that compensation is the filing of a claim for damages against the at-fault party’s insurance company, but you should not accept any settlement offer without first consulting an experienced car accident attorney. Your lawyer can determine the value of your claim and fight for you in court if a fair award is not offered. Contact us online or call us at 540-341-0007 to schedule your free consultation. You pay no attorney fees until we win your case.