(360) 718-3640
Personal Injury Lawyer
Vancouver & Southwest Washington

Your Brain and Car Crashes: Understanding TBI

CT scan of the human brain.

Car accidents can have devastating consequences, and one of the most overlooked injuries that can result from a crash is traumatic brain injury (TBI). Understanding TBI is crucial for both prevention and proper response in the event of an accident.

Traumatic brain injury occurs when a sudden impact or violent jolt to the head disrupts normal brain function. This disruption can range from mild to severe and may lead to a variety of symptoms.

If you or a loved one has suffered a TBI in a car accident, it's important to know your legal rights. You may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages resulting from the injury. Seeking help from an experienced car accident lawyer can help you navigate the legal process and ensure that your rights are protected.

How common are car accident brain injuries?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), car accidents rank among the leading causes of traumatic brain injuries. Moreover, motor vehicle accidents stand as the second most common cause of fatal brain injury incidents.

When considering non-fatal brain injuries, approximately 14 percent of TBIs stem from car accidents. This equates to nearly 210,000 cases every year nationwide, as estimated by the CDC. To put this into perspective, the CDC reports that 1.5 million people sustain a brain injury nationwide annually.

Why do car accidents cause so many TBIs?

Car accidents are notorious for causing a high number of traumatic brain injuries due to several contributing factors. These include:

  • The force of impact: The sheer force generated during a car accident can subject occupants to sudden and violent movements, leading to head trauma. For instance, in a head-on collision, the rapid deceleration can cause occupants' heads to strike the steering wheel or dashboard, resulting in TBIs.
  • Lack of restraint: Failure to wear seat belts or use proper child safety seats increases the risk of occupants being thrown against hard surfaces upon impact. Without wearing a seat belt, an occupant may be ejected from the vehicle during a rollover accident, leading to severe head injuries upon impact with the road or other objects.
  • Speed: Higher speeds result in greater impact forces, increasing the likelihood and severity of head injuries. In a high-speed crash, such as a collision on the highway or in an intersection, the force of impact can cause significant head trauma even with the deployment of airbags and seat belts.

Types of brain injuries

Brain injuries are typically categorized into two main types:

  • Non-penetrating TBIs: These injuries occur without the skull being pierced or fractured. They often result from sudden impacts or violent movements that cause damage to the brain tissue without external penetration.
  • Penetrating TBIs: In these cases, an object pierces the skull and enters the brain, causing direct trauma and damage to brain tissue.

Common types of brain injuries sustained in crashes include:

  • Concussions: Among the most common TBIs, concussions occur due to sudden blows or impacts to the head, resulting in temporary disruption of normal brain function.
  • Contusions: These involve bruising or bleeding within the brain tissue, typically caused by direct trauma to the head during a car accident.
  • Hematoma: A hematoma is the accumulation of blood within the brain tissue, often forming a clot. It can occur as a result of head trauma sustained in a car crash.
  • Diffuse Axonal Injury (DAI): DAI occurs when the brain rapidly shifts or rotates inside the skull, causing widespread damage to nerve fibers throughout the brain. This type of injury can result in coma, cognitive impairments, and long-term neurological deficits.
  • Coup-Contrecoup Injury: This type of injury involves two areas of damage in the brain — one at the site of impact (coup) and the other on the opposite side of the brain (contrecoup) due to the brain bouncing off the skull. It can lead to significant cognitive and motor impairments.
  • Traumatic Subarachnoid Hemorrhage: Subarachnoid hemorrhage occurs when blood vessels in the subarachnoid space rupture, causing bleeding into the space surrounding the brain. This can lead to increased pressure on the brain and neurological symptoms.
  • Skull Fracture: A skull fracture involves a break in the bones surrounding the brain. Depending on the severity, it can result in intracranial bleeding, brain damage, and neurological deficits.

The long-term consequences of TBI

Traumatic brain injuries can have profound and lasting effects on individuals, impacting every aspect of their lives. While some people may recover fully from a mild TBI, others may experience long-term consequences that significantly affect their physical, cognitive, emotional, and social functioning.

One of the most common long-term consequences of a TBI is cognitive impairment, which can manifest as difficulties with memory, attention, concentration, and problem-solving. These cognitive deficits can make it challenging to perform daily tasks, work, or engage in social activities.

In addition to cognitive difficulties, individuals with TBIs may experience physical symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, fatigue, and coordination problems. These physical impairments can affect mobility and independence, leading to reduced quality of life.

Emotional and behavioral changes are also common after a TBI, including mood swings, irritability, depression, anxiety, and impulsivity. These changes can strain relationships with family and friends and make it difficult to regulate emotions and behaviors.

Furthermore, TBIs can increase the risk of developing neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's or Parkinson's later in life. Research has shown a correlation between TBIs and an increased risk of cognitive decline and dementia in older adults.

Pursuing a brain injury claim

In severe cases, the long-term consequences of a TBI can be devastating, affecting not only the individual but also their loved ones and caregivers. When this occurs, it's essential for individuals with TBIs to receive comprehensive medical care, rehabilitation, and support to manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life.

Seeking legal recourse through a brain injury claim can help secure financial compensation to cover medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages resulting from the injury. However, dealing with insurance companies after a brain injury can be challenging. Insurance adjusters are trained to minimize payouts and protect their company's interests, often at the expense of injured individuals.

At The Scott Law Firm, PLLC, we have years of experience handling complicated legal cases involving car accidents and varying degrees of traumatic brain injuries. If you or a loved one has sustained a TBI due to someone else's negligence, don't hesitate to contact us and schedule a free consultation. Our office is in Vancouver, WA, and we offer legal representation to clients throughout Southwest Washington.

Categories: Posts
Free Consultation Click Here