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Can Car Accidents Cause Traumatic Brain Injury?

Closeup of a CT scan with brain.

Many types of car accidents can result in traumatic brain injury - head-on collisions, rear-end accidents, intersection crashes, and sideswipes, for example. There's no guaranteed way to avoid negligent drivers, but understanding the injury and how car accidents cause TBIs can help reduce your risk.

If you or a loved one has suffered a head or brain injury in a crash caused by a negligent driver, it's crucial to understand your legal rights. An experienced car accident lawyer can provide valuable guidance and advocate on your behalf for the justice and financial compensation you deserve.

Car accidents are a leading cause of brain injuries

According to a study, brain injuries account for one-third of injury-related deaths in the United States. Car accidents, as well as falls, sports accidents, and physical violence, are the leading causes of serious and fatal TBIs. Research varies, but it is estimated that about 25 percent of car accidents resulting in injuries involve head or brain damage.

Traumatic brain injuries come in various forms, each with its own set of challenges. Common types of car accident TBIs include:

  • Concussions: These are common and often caused by sudden blows or jolts to the head, leading to symptoms like confusion, headaches, and memory issues. Repeated incidents can have lasting effects.
  • Contusions: These are bruises on brain tissue caused by direct head impact, potentially leading to bleeding and swelling, which may result in serious complications if not treated promptly.
  • Diffuse Axonal Injuries (DAI): These occur when the brain rapidly shifts inside the skull, damaging nerve fibers, often resulting in widespread brain damage and severe long-term consequences.
  • Penetrating Injuries: These happen when an object pierces the skull and enters brain tissue, causing significant damage depending on the location and depth of penetration.
  • Coup-Contrecoup Injuries: These result from the brain slamming into the opposite side of the skull due to impact force, often seen in high-speed collisions where the brain crashes around inside the skull.
  • Hematoma: This is a collection of blood outside blood vessels within the brain, including subdural, epidural, and intracerebral types, which can exert pressure on the brain and cause serious complications if not promptly treated.
  • Diffuse Brain Swelling: This involves swelling of brain tissue due to inflammation and fluid accumulation. It compresses brain structures and, if left untreated, can potentially cause further damage.

Some TBIs, like concussions, heal over time. But others leave permanent damage. Long-term damage resulting from a TBI may include cognitive impairments, memory loss, emotional disturbances, and physical disabilities, impacting a crash victim's daily functioning and quality of life.

Crash factors that increase TBI risk

Car accidents rank high among the causes of TBIs due to the sheer force involved in collisions. Head-on collisions, where vehicles traveling in opposite directions collide, are particularly hazardous, often resulting in severe TBIs. Similarly, rear-end collisions, T-bone accidents, and truck rollovers can cause rapid acceleration or deceleration of the brain within the skull, leading to significant injuries. Here's a brief list of factors that increase the risk of traumatic brain injury in a car accident:

  • Speeding: Driving above the speed limit increases collision impact force, leading to more severe injuries, including TBIs.
  • Failure to Wear Seatbelts: Not using seatbelts or using them improperly raises the likelihood of sustaining head injuries, including TBIs, in accidents.
  • Impaired Driving: Operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or medications impairs judgment and reaction time, elevating the risk of accidents and TBIs.
  • Distracted Driving: Engaging in activities like texting or talking on the phone diverts attention from the road, heightening the risk of accidents and TBIs.
  • Reckless Driving: Aggressive behaviors such as tailgating or weaving between lanes significantly increase the chances of being involved in collisions and sustaining TBIs.
  • Fatigue: Driving while fatigued impairs cognitive function and reaction time, increasing the likelihood of accidents and TBIs, especially during long journeys or late-night driving.

TBIs deserve maximum car accident compensation

Traumatic brain injuries are serious consequences of car accidents, but drivers can take measures to minimize their risk and promote safe driving awareness. However, even the most careful driver can become the victim of a distracted, drunk, speeding, or otherwise negligent driver.

When that happens, the brain injury lawyers at Mani Ellis & Layne, PLLC, can help you fight for maximum compensation. This may include compensation for past and future medical expenses, lost wages, ongoing care services, and more.

If you suffered a TBI in a car accident caused by someone else's negligence, contact us for a free and confidential consultation. Our offices are in Charleston, WV, and Columbus, OH.

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Charleston, WV

Mani Ellis & Layne, PLLC
10 Hale St Suite 501
Charleston, WV 25301
Phone: (304) 720-1000

Columbus, OH

Mani Ellis & Layne, PLLC
20 E Broad St Suite 1000
Columbus, OH 43215
Phone: (614) 587-8423