Car accidents and traumatic brain injury

Written on behalf of Abramson Smith Waldsmith LLP

One of the consequences of being in a car accident in California, and elsewhere, is brain injury. Whether from a direct blow to the head from the steering wheel or window, or from whiplash, head trauma can range from mild to serious. Victims should be aware of some of the symptoms so they can get medical help right away.

According to the CDC, traumatic brain injuries from motor vehicle accidents result in the third-most frequent visits to emergency rooms, with falls and getting hit by an object being the two leading causes. Motor vehicle crashes are also the third-leading cause of deaths due to head injuries. The people most affected are those between the ages of 15 and 44.

According to the Brain Injury Alliance of Utah, there are different types of brain injuries, and they vary in severity. One common type is a concussion, and this can be caused by whiplash from an accident. Symptoms related to concussions may include:

  • A dazed feeling
  • Brief loss of consciousness
  • Behavioral changes
  • Confusion
  • Headaches

A concussion can take up to a few years to heal, depending on how severe the damage is. Treatment varies from rest to intense rehabilitation.

A diffuse axonal injury can also be caused by a car accident. This occurs when structures of the brain tear due to movement of the skull. As a result, nerve tissue tears which leads to a release of brain chemicals and a disruption to the brain’s communication. Symptoms may include:

  • Confusion that lasts for weeks
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Long-term behavioral and cognitive impairments

This type of injury is often more severe and can lead to coma, permanent brain damage or even death. 




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