Common Types of Brain Injuries Caused by Car Accidents

traumatic brain injury scans

Types of Head Injuries Sustained in Motor Vehicle Accidents

Car accidents can cause catastrophic injuries that lead to life-altering consequences. A head injury from a car accident could result in brain trauma, ranging from mild concussions to severe traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). While some brain injuries from car accidents may be quickly apparent, others may not be as evident or may take more time to manifest.

It’s crucial for personal injury victims to seek medical attention immediately after a car accident, and then consult with an experienced brain injury lawyer. If another person’s negligence caused the car accident, you may be able to pursue compensation for your injuries and losses in a personal injury claim. Read on to learn about common types of brain injuries caused by car accidents and how a brain injury attorney can help your claim.


Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

TBIs are severe brain injuries that result from sudden trauma to the head. They can cause a wide range of symptoms, including cognitive impairment, motor dysfunction, and emotional disturbances. TBIs often require extensive medical treatment and rehabilitation. Traumatic brain injuries can be classified as either closed or penetrating injuries.


Open Head Injuries

Open or penetrating head injuries happen when an object such as glass or metal penetrates the skull, causing damage to the brain cells and tissue. These kinds of injuries are always extremely serious and require immediate medical attention.


Closed Head Injuries

car crash

Closed head injuries occur when there is no penetration of the skull, but the brain sustains damage due to a hard blow to the head from striking an object or surface. These injuries can range from mild concussions to severe traumatic brain injuries (TBIs).


A concussion is caused by a sudden impact or jolt to the head or body and requires medical evaluation and monitoring in the hours afterward. Symptoms may include headache, confusion, dizziness, nausea, and memory problems. If not monitored, a mild traumatic brain injury, such as a concussion can lead to severe implications such as a brain bleed or even death

Skull Fractures

Skull fractures occur when there is a break in the skull bone. Depending on the severity and location of the fracture, it can cause damage to the underlying brain tissue and potentially lead to complications such as bleeding or infection.

Diffuse Axonal Injury

Diffuse axonal injury is one of the most common types of traumatic brain injuries caused by vehicle accidents. This kind of injury occurs when the brain’s nerve fibers are torn or stretched due to rapid acceleration or deceleration forces. This type of severe injury can result in long-term cognitive and functional impairments, permanent brain damage, comas, and death.


A contusion is a bruise or bleeding on the brain tissue, typically caused by direct impact to the head. Contusions can vary in severity and may require surgical intervention to reduce pressure on the brain.

Coup-Contrecoup Injury

Coup-contrecoup injuries are two contusion injuries that occur when a violent blow or change in momentum stops the skull’s motion suddenly causing the brain to slam first into one side of the skull, then rebound into the other side. This can lead to multiple areas of damage within the brain, increasing the severity of the injury.


A hematoma is a collection of blood outside the blood vessels, often caused by bleeding within the brain tissue or between the brain and skull. Hematomas can compress brain tissue and lead to neurological issues if not treated promptly.


What Are Acquired Brain Injuries From Car Accidents?

Acquired brain injuries (ABIs) refer to any damage to the brain that occurs after birth and is not related to genetic or degenerative conditions. Car accidents are a common cause of ABIs, resulting in various types of traumatic brain injuries such as concussions, contusions, and TBIs. Motor vehicle accidents account for a majority of TBI-related deaths. Car crashes account for 55.8% of TBI-related deaths in youth 5–14 years and 47.4% in young adults 15–24 years.


What is Primary and Secondary Brain Injury?

Primary brain injury refers to the initial damage caused by the impact or trauma to the head. This can include contusions, hemorrhages, and diffuse axonal injuries. 

Secondary brain injury occurs as a result of physiological processes triggered by the primary injury, such as inflammation, swelling, and decreased blood flow to the brain. Secondary brain injury can exacerbate the initial damage and lead to changes that evolve over hours to days after the primary brain injury.


Brain Injury Signs and Symptoms After a Car Accident

severe head injury

After an auto accident, victims who sustain moderate to severe traumatic brain injury may be unconscious for minutes to hours in the aftermath of the crash. Traumatic brain injury symptoms can include:

  • Headaches or migraines
  • Loss of consciousness, even if brief
  • Dizziness or loss of balance
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Seizures or convulsions
  • Blurred vision or sensitivity to light
  • Memory problems or difficulty concentrating
  • Mood swings or changes in behavior
  • Slurred speech or difficulty communicating
  • Weakness or numbness in limbs


When Do I Need to See a Doctor for a Head Injury?

If you experience any of these symptoms after a car accident, seek medical attention immediately, even if the symptoms seem mild. Delayed diagnosis and treatment of brain injuries can lead to complications and long-term impairments.


Compensation Available in a Car Accident Claim

medical bills

Victims of car accidents who sustain brain injuries may be able to pursue compensation for their damages, including:

Medical expenses: This includes hospital bills, doctor’s visits, medication, rehabilitation, and therapy.

Lost wages: If you had to miss work to recover from your injuries, you may be able to recover compensation for lost income.

Pain and suffering: Compensation may be available for physical pain, emotional distress, and diminished quality of life.

Permanent disability: If the brain injury results in permanent disability, you may be entitled to compensation for accommodations such as home modifications or assistive devices.

Wrongful death: If you lost a loved one in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be able to pursue compensation for burial and funeral expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering in a wrongful death claim.


How a Brain Injury Lawyer Can Help

Navigating the legal process after a car accident can be complex, especially when dealing with insurance companies and determining liability. A brain injury lawyer can help:

  • Gather evidence, interview witnesses, and reconstruct the accident to determine liability.
  • Calculate the full extent of your damages, including past and future medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering.
  • Negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf to recover full and fair compensation. Insurance companies may try to minimize your claim or deny liability altogether.
  • Represent you in court and advocate for your rights if the other party is unwilling to offer a fair settlement.


Award-Winning San Francisco Car Accident Lawyers

If you’ve been injured in a car accident in San Francisco or the surrounding areas, don’t hesitate to contact our personal injury lawyers. At Golden State Accident Lawyers, our team of personal injury attorneys is dedicated to helping injured victims recover the compensation they deserve. We understand that accident victims deal with severe injuries, extensive medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering.

We will fight tirelessly to protect your rights and hold the responsible parties accountable for their actions. We offer free consultations and would be happy to answer your questions. Call us today for a free case evaluation.

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