Common Signs of Brain Injury after a Car Accident

man with a brain injury caused by a car accident in new york - Signs of Brain Injury after a Car Accident

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that nearly 190 Americans die from traumatic brain injuries daily. While most people think the signs of a traumatic brain injury are apparent, that isn’t always the case. Waiting too long to seek treatment for TBI following a car accident can be life-altering or even fatal.

At Finz & Finz P.C., our New York car accident attorneys believe that education is the key to helping car accident victims understand the severity of traumatic brain injuries and how they can impact their lives. Unfortunately, motor vehicle accidents are one of the leading causes of traumatic brain injury in the U.S. If you are involved in an accident with a careless driver, you need to recognize the signs that you or someone you love might have a TBI. Understanding what to look for after a car accident could save your life.

What Is Traumatic Brain Injury?

Traumatic brain injuries include any injury or damage to the brain that impairs or disrupts regular brain function. A sudden or powerful jolt to the head causes most traumatic brain injuries.

Traumatic brain injuries are mild, moderate, or severe. A concussion is an example of a mild brain injury. Coup-contrecoup and diffuse axonal injuries are typically some of the more severe types of traumatic brain injuries. In addition to severity, brain injuries can be classified in one of two ways:

  • Closed Brain Injury – A closed brain injury occurs internally. Most closed brain injuries happen when a sudden blow or violent force to the head rapidly propels the brain forward and backward inside the skull. The acceleration and sheer force of the blow can cause bleeding, swelling, and tissue damage.
  • Penetrating Brain Injuries – Penetrating brain injuries occur when a foreign object penetrates the brain. Bullets are the most common cause of penetrating brain injuries, but these injuries can also be caused by flying car accident shrapnel. Additionally, when the force of a car accident breaks the skull, pieces of the skull can cause penetrating brain injuries, bleeding, and tissue damage.  

Common Types of Brain Injuries that Can Result from Car Accidents

The violent impact of a New York car accident has the potential to cause numerous types of significant traumatic brain injuries. Some of the most common types of brain injuries associated with car accidents can include:

  • Brain hemorrhage
  • Concussion
  • Contusion
  • Coup-contrecoup brain injury
  • Diffuse axonal injury
  • Intracranial hematoma
  • Penetrating brain injury

The long-term complications associated with many of these brain injuries can be life-changing. Those diagnosed with a severe brain injury may never fully recover and could suffer physical, mental, and behavioral challenges for the rest of their lives. Car accident victims diagnosed with TBIs may face physical limitations, mobility issues, paralysis, changes in cognition, memory loss, changes in personality, depression, anxiety, and numerous other complications.

Research also indicates that those diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury may be more likely to develop neurological disorders like dementia and Alzheimer’s. TBI may also increase a person’s risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.

Symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injury Following a Car Accident

Unfortunately, the symptoms of a traumatic brain injury are not always apparent. After a car accident, you must seek immediate medical attention to check for potential signs of a traumatic brain injury. The adrenaline coursing through the body after a crash can mask symptoms of a mild brain injury after a frightening collision. Even moderate or severe traumatic brain injury symptoms can be challenging to decipher because of the wide range of signs that individuals can exhibit depending on the brain region affected by the damage.

Some of the signs that you might have a traumatic brain injury after a car accident include:

  • Anxiety
  • Changes in mood
  • Changes in hearing or vision impairments
  • Changes in sleeping or eating patterns
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Loss of coordination or mobility
  • Memory problems
  • Nausea
  • Seizures
  • Sensitivity to light or sound
  • Vomiting

If you are involved in an accident where you suspect you sustained a head injury, seek medical attention immediately. Swelling and bleeding of the brain can be life-threatening conditions and can only be diagnosed and treated by medical professionals.

Diagnosing Traumatic Brain Injuries

Physicians have a wide range of diagnostic tools to use in diagnosing a traumatic brain injury, its severity, and the brain region impacted by the damage. First, your physician may ask you a series of questions to gauge your level of cognition, including:

  • Can you tell me your name?
  • Do you remember what happened?
  • How did the injury occur?
  • How fast was your car going?
  • Do you or someone close to you know if you were unconscious?
  • Did your head hit anything?

Imaging tests are a routine part of traumatic head injury screenings and may involve X-rays, CT scans, or MRIs. Severe pain and swelling may require physicians to insert a probe through the skull to measure and assess the threat of intracranial pressure.

Treatment for traumatic brain injuries also varies. Some mild traumatic brain injuries may only require rest before you are back on your feet again. However, moderate to severe traumatic brain injuries may require anti-seizure medication, coma-inducing drugs, and surgical intervention. Individuals may also require rehabilitation and physical therapy to help retrain the brain and recover mobility, motor function, and cognition skills.

Get Help from an Experienced New York Car Accident Attorney

A traumatic brain injury can change your life, impacting everything from how you move to how you think. At Finz & Finz, P.C., our compassionate legal team understands the challenges you face as you move forward with your life. In addition to your physical and mental health, your financial health is also at stake following a significant car accident. Our New York legal team can help you recover the money you deserve for your financial losses, allowing you to focus on your well-being.

Has a careless New York motorist hurt you? Call (855) TOP-FIRM to discuss your situation with the professional and aggressive legal team at Finz & Finz, P.C. Contact our office today to arrange a free initial case review.


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Finz & Finz, P.C. is a New York and Long Island personal injury law firm based out of Mineola, NY. It was founded in 1984 and is highly rated, with many honors and awards of excellence.