According to the California Highway Patrol’s annual report, 269,031 people suffered injuries due to automobile collisions in 2019. Additionally, traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) were among the most common injuries in car accidents, often leading to death or disability.
Damage to the brain may be “focal,” meaning confined to one area. Or, it could also be a diffuse injury, which is when more than one area of the brain suffers damage. We will explain five types of brain injuries you may experience following a vehicle collision.
Types of Brain Injuries
A brain injury does not require a fracture or penetration of the skull to be serious. People often experience brain injuries after a car accident.
The impact of the collision causes the brain to bang against the skull’s internal hard bone. When the brain hits the skull, it causes damage to the brain structure and may tear nerve tissue.
You must take TBI injuries seriously. The injuries may be temporary or permanent, resulting in a coma or death. They can cause a victim to experience problems with communication, cognitive processing, and the brain’s chemical processes.
One of the most common car accident injuries is a concussion. This happens when your head hits the dashboard, steering wheel, or door at the time of impact.
Most concussion symptoms are temporary and may not show up immediately. The symptoms may last for days or weeks. If you believe you have a concussion, seek medical treatment. Only a medical professional can determine the severity of your injury.
If you have a concussion, you may experience some or all of the following:
- Amnesia about the events of the accident
- Blurry vision
- Concentration problems
- Drowsiness or fatigue
- Ears ringing
- Personality changes, including irritability
- Sensitivity to light and noise
- Sleep disturbances
- Taste and smell disorder
People around you may notice you slurring your speech, having a dazed appearance, giving a delayed response to questions, or being forgetful.
Depending on the severity of the brain injury, you may lose consciousness, experience bleeding and swelling of the brain, or have nerve damage.
The cause of a contusion is a direct impact on the head. A contusion is a bruise that develops because of bleeding of the brain.
Depending on the contusion size, you may experience severe headaches, nausea, vomiting, and dizziness. If the damage is severe, it may require surgical removal.
The symptoms of a contusion are similar to those of a concussion. This TBI often happens during a rear, frontal, or side collision that causes the head to hit something inside the vehicle or violently shake.
Many contusions heal on their own, but they can also cause more severe problems, including blood clots and bleeding in the brain.
3. Closed Brain Injury
A closed brain injury is what you experience when there is no penetrating damage to the skull. This type of injury results from the brain’s rapid back-and-forth motion, or shaking, within the skull. This causes bruising and tearing of the brain tissue and blood vessels.
The tearing of the blood vessels may cause a Traumatic Subarachnoid Hemerage (TSAH), which refers to bleeding in the space surrounding the brain. Normally this area contains cerebrospinal fluid, which serves as a cushion between the brain and skull.
When an injury occurs that causes arteries to tear, blood flows into the area around the brain. That blood causes irritation and pressure on the brain, damaging brain cells. At the same time, the area with the torn arteries is now deprived of its blood supply, compounding problems.
4. Diffuse Axonal Injury (DAD)
Between 40% to 50% of all TBIs requiring hospital admission are diffuse axonal injuries. Damage occurs when the brain rotates and shifts inside the skull, causing its connecting nerve fibers (axons) to shear off or tear.
This happens because the brain cannot keep up with the movement of the skull during the rapid back-and-forth motion impact causes.
The tearing of the nerve fibers prevents the brain from processing normal communication and chemical processes. People suffering from this brain injury may have temporary or permanent brain damage, enter a coma, or die.
The name “diffuse axonal injury” refers to an injury that incorporates the entire brain. Some researchers believe this name is incorrect. Most people with this type of TBI usually have issues with only the areas of the brain dealing with rapid mental processing skills and memory.
5. Penetrating Injury
A penetrating brain injury leaves an open head wound. This may be due to glass or other objects in the vehicle entering the skull during the collision. Depending on the severity of the injury, victims may experience the following:
- Bleeding from ears
- Heavy bleeding from the head
- Breathing problems
- Loss of bladder and bowel control
- Loss of feeling in limbs
- Loss of consciousness
- Problems with movement
Doctors will initially take lifesaving measures to stop bleeding and assist with breathing. Surgery may be necessary to remove the item that entered the skull. They may also need to place a tube into the brain to drain excess fluid buildup.
Healing From Different Types of Brain Injuries
Medical studies show that brain cells that are destroyed or damaged will not heal. The younger a person is at the time of TBI, the more likely they are to experience a full recovery from head injuries after a car accident.
In some cases, another portion of the brain makes up for what was lost in another section. The brain may learn how to reroute information so that it can function adequately without the areas that have damage.
Brain injury recovery is often a lifelong process of treatment, rehabilitation, and the victim making lifestyle changes to accommodate their injury.
For this reason, medical professionals can’t predict how much improvement a person with brain injury will experience over time. The final results may not be evident for weeks or even years.
Legal Expertise Is Crucial
The time it takes the brain to heal and the extensive injuries that may result from a TBI are why it is crucial to hire a car accident lawyer as soon after your accident as possible.
While you are working to heal, your attorney will begin gathering evidence to support your case. This includes obtaining accident reports, witness statements, medical records, and expert witnesses.
Your car accident attorney will negotiate with insurance companies to get you the best settlement possible. Fair compensation takes into consideration your doctor’s long-term prognosis on your recovery and any changes the injury has to your everyday lifestyle, both present and future.
Your lawyer will ensure a personal injury lawsuit is filed within the time allowed under the California Statute of Limitations. In California, you have up to two years from your accident to file a lawsuit or one year from the date an injury not initially apparent is discovered.
If you do not meet this deadline, you lose your opportunity to obtain financial recovery from your injuries.
Hire Experienced Legal Representation
When you suffer personal injury in a car accident, you need a lawyer with experience in this area of law. Central Valley Accident Lawyers help victims receive the compensation they deserve.
They understand the various types of brain injuries from car accidents and how they impact your future lifestyle. This knowledge will assist them in obtaining the best settlement possible.
Contact Central Valley Accident Lawyers today for a free consultation. There are no upfront fees; we get paid when you receive your settlement.