What You Need to Know About Car Crash Traumatic Brain Injuries

Posted on behalf of Peter T. Nicholl in Car Accidents Published on February 9, 2023

car crash victim with pain in headWhile brain injuries have a variety of causes, many occur in car crashes, particularly crashes in which the victim suffers a serious blow to the head. That said, those involved in a car accident could suffer a brain injury without hitting their head. Sometimes the impact can cause the head and neck to whip forward and backward so quickly that the brain suffers an injury.

The experienced attorneys at The Law Offices of Peter T. Nicholl discuss some of the most common brain injuries caused by car crashes. We also explain what to do after suffering a brain injury, including why victims should strongly consider discussing legal options with a lawyer.

If you suffered a brain injury you may need a significant amount of treatment and you may not be able to work as much as before the injury. You cannot expect the insurance company to take care of you, especially if you are not represented by an experienced lawyer.

Our Maryland auto accident lawyers are ready to help you seek full compensation for damages at no upfront cost to you. We know how devastating a brain injury can be and have the resources and knowledge to build a strong case.

Zero upfront fees. Call today: 410-401-9979.

8 Types of Car Crash Brain Injuries

If you think you may have any of the injuries listed below, you should seek medical treatment as soon as possible. Waiting to get treatment for a brain injury is dangerous, as your symptoms could become life-threatening.

1. Concussion

This is an injury that occurs when the victim’s brain hits the inside of his or her skull. This is the result of a quick change in momentum, which could occur if you get hit in the head or your head gets whipped forward quickly. This can happen in a car wreck as the force of impact throws you forward, and your momentum is stopped by your seat belt and the airbag.

It is important to note concussions can happen even if the victim never loses consciousness. If you do lose consciousness, the injury is likely to be more serious.

Symptoms that may indicate a concussion include:

  • Not remembering what happened just moments after the crash
  • Feeling light-headed or dizzy
  • Feeling nauseous
  • Headache
  • Trouble with balance, especially while walking
  • Ringing in your ears
  • Feeling confused
  • Slurring words

2. Brain Penetration

If an object breaks through your skull and hits your brain, you could suffer life-threatening medical issues. The severity of the damage depends on the part of your brain that gets penetrated. A penetrating injury could cause:

  • Seizures
  • Loss of feeling in the arms and legs
  • Coma
  • Blood running from your ears
  • Loss of ability to control your bladder or bowels

If a penetrating injury is not fatal, it could leave the victim permanently disabled and in need of daily assistance in the home.

Penetrating injuries are often caused by objects that break through the windshield. However, other objects inside your car could turn into projectiles during the collision.

3. Diffuse Axonal Injury

If your head rotates too much during the collision, it can cause tearing of the brain tissue. This can result in a serious concussion, as the injury disrupts communication and chemical processes in the brain.

Diffuse axonal injuries may happen when your vehicle stops abruptly because of the crash, as your skull is moving faster than your brain. These injuries are more likely to happen in high-speed collisions.

Some of the symptoms of this injury may include:

  • Migraines
  • Severe headaches
  • Seizures
  • Memory loss
  • Coma
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Feeling fatigued
  • Feeling nauseous or throwing up

4. Brain Contusion

If you get hit on the head during a crash, such as by an external object or fixed object (window, steering wheel, dashboard, etc.) in your car, your brain could get bruised. These bruises are also called contusions.

While some contusions will heal on their own, others can have more severe consequences. There could be bleeding in the brain or an increased risk of blood clots.

Symptoms of a contusion on the brain are like the symptoms of a concussion, such as:

  • Poor balance
  • Poor coordination
  • Struggling to concentrate
  • Feeling sick
  • Headaches

5. Coup-Contrecoup Injury

This is an injury to two sides of your brain that often happens because you suffered a blow to the head. Your brain gets injured in the place where you got hit in the head and this causes the other side of your brain to hit the inside of your skull. These types of injuries often happen in violent crashes, such as rollover crashes or head-on collisions.

Some of the potential symptoms of a coup-contrecoup injury include:

  • Losing consciousness
  • Blurry vision
  • Seizures
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Feeling confused
  • Ringing in your ears
  • Feeling nauseous
  • Slurred speech
  • Trouble remembering the crash

6. Skull Fracture

Sometimes crash victims get hit so hard in the head their skull fractures. Often a skull fracture occurs when a victim suffers a contusion and/or concussion. While some of the other brain injuries discussed above might occur without a hit to the head, a skull fracture is unlikely to happen without a significant blow to the head. If a crash victim goes through the windshield, there may be a much higher risk of a skull fracture.

Signs of a fractured skull could include blood running from your ears or a bruise or swelling on your head.

7. Acquired Brain Injury

This is a type of brain injury that is the result of another injury. For example, if you suffer an injury that restricts blood flow to your brain, you have an acquired brain injury. Sometimes crash victims stop breathing for a few minutes, resulting in damage to the brain.

Other examples of injuries that can cause damage to the brain include:

  • Significant loss of blood
  • Damage to your lungs or ribs
  • Injuries to the throat

8. Second Impact Syndrome

People who are recovering from one brain injury only to suffer another brain injury may have second impact syndrome. Suffering a second brain injury could cause catastrophic and potentially long-term damage.

Possible Long-Term Symptoms From a Car Crash Brain Injury

Many brain injuries cause some of the same symptoms and many of these symptoms may get better over time. However, sometimes a brain injury results in long-lasting or even permanent symptoms.

Cognitive Effects of a Brain Injury

Brain injury victims may struggle with:

  • Understanding abstract concepts
  • Solving problems
  • Making decisions
  • Memory issues
  • Shorter attention span than normal
  • Responding to commands that involve more than one or two steps
  • Confusion

Motor Deficits From a Brain Injury

Brain injury victims may have many physical challenges, including:

  • Struggling to plan motor movements
  • Shortening or tightening of muscles
  • Tremors
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Poor balance and coordination
  • Loss of endurance

Sensory Issues From a Brain Injury

Sometimes crash victims with brain injuries experience:

  • Double vision
  • Losing sensation in certain body parts
  • Heightened sensation in some body parts
  • Limited range of vision
  • Differences in the five senses, including taste, touch, smell, touch, sight or hearing

Communication Problems

Communicating with others can be challenging after a significant brain injury. Victims may struggle:

  • Speaking
  • Understanding what others are saying
  • Finding the words to say
  • Trouble forming sentences
  • Inability to identify objects
  • Struggling to read or write
  • Struggling to do math
  • Not knowing how to do everyday tasks
  • Smaller vocabulary
  • Struggling to make sentences that make sense to others

Mental Health Issues

Brain injuries can have a significant impact on mental health, as victims may experience:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Increased irritability
  • Less motivation than before
  • Feeling apathetic
  • Trouble controlling temper
  • Increased aggression
  • Less tolerance for frustration
  • Risky sexual behavior

Contact The Law Offices of Peter T. Nicholl Today

Have legal questions after suffering a brain injury in a car crash?

Contact The Law Offices of Peter T. Nicholl today. We have been advocating for those injured in car crashes in Maryland for decades. Our firm has obtained millions in compensation and there are no upfront costs with our services.

Free consultation. Call to learn more: 410-401-9979.