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Brain Injury After a Car Accident: What You Need to Know

Getting a brain injury after a car accident is quite common these days. It happens almost every day across Canada as well as around the world. Most of these brain injuries, however, are caused by minor collisions.

Sad but true, the consequences can be devastating and significantly affect your life. Traumatic brain injuries can lead to migraines, cluster headaches, memory loss, and sometimes coma or death.

Apart from the physical damage, it will cause many other issues like; extended hospital stays and hefty medical bills. Because TBI can lead to long-term problems, it’s time to take this matter seriously.

If you suffer a brain injury after a car accident, here is what you need to know.

What is a Traumatic Brain Injury?

A traumatic brain injury is a form of injury acquired to the brain. It happens when a sudden trauma from a violent blow or jolt causes damage to the brain. Also, it can occur when an object hits the head or pierce the skull and damage the brain.

The brain is suddenly pushed back and forth and shaken inside the skull. The fast movement causes bleeding, bruising, and tears of blood vessels in the brain. Besides, TBI disturbs the normal functioning of the victim’s brain.

After the accident, the victim may be unable to remember what happened and lose consciousness. The victim can have blurry vision and feel dizzy. Sometimes, a tiny object can penetrate the skull.

It may fracture your skull and injure the brain. However, the victim may appear to be normal after a car crash. But gradually, the condition can get worsen. The brain experiences a delayed trauma.

With time, the brain swells and pushes itself against the skull. This minimizes the oxygen-rich blood flow to the brain. Slowly but surely, it changes the trajectory of life.

Types of Traumatic Brain Injury

“Car accident and brain injury” – these two terms are thoroughly related to each other. One results in another. Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are more likely to happen in a car accident than any other accident.

After a car accident, you can experience multiple types of brain injuries. However, not all TBIs are the same because they happen under different circumstances.

The severity of brain injuries can be as follows:

  • Mild, when the victim is awake with the eyes open.
  • Moderate when the victim feels lethargic and eyes are open to stimulation.
  • Severe, when the victim is unconscious and eyes are closed even with stimulation.

There are a few types of brain injuries you can endure after a car accident, such as;

Brain contusion

A brain contusion is a bruise from a violent blow to the head. It occurs when the brain’s surface collides with the skull’s inner surface. However, it can happen either at the coup or the countercoup sites of the brain.

Though some contusions will recover soon, most of them can lead to severe consequences. Severe bruises like bleeding on the brain and blood clots may require surgeries to remove. Some contusions can result in pain and swellings.


A concussion is a type of mild and common traumatic brain injury. It happens due to a sudden change in movement or a mild impact. Concussion may not cause permanent brain injury but can easily result in loss of consciousness.

Sometimes it may cause confusion and dizziness. Moreover, other less severe symptoms of concussion include blurred visions, vomiting, headache, etc. If not treated at the right time, it can result in severe health effects or permanent damages.

Diffuse axonal injury

Diffuse axonal injury is the tearing and stretching of the brain’s long attaching nerve fibers (axons). It happens when the brain moves and rotates inside the skull after an impact. A diffuse axonal injury can disturb normal brain activity.

The brain cannot process the normal transmission of information. As a result, it can lead to migraines, seizures, severe headaches, and memory loss. Rehabilitation can treat these mild symptoms. In extreme conditions, it can cause coma or death.

Skull fracture

A severe blow to the head can fracture the skull. A skull fracture results in head injuries, bleeding from the ears, and swelling at the site of the injury. However, it can take place anywhere and anytime at the accident site.

Traumatic subarachnoid hemorrhage (TSAH)

The TSAH occurs from bleeding to the brain’s surface after severe brain injury. Basically, this place surrounding the brain is filled with Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF).

The CSF protects the brain. When the small blood vessel tears down during an accident, the TSAH occurs. As a result, the blood spreads all over the brain surface.


Penetration injury happens when an object penetrates the brain. The object can also be the parts of the skull. However, the object can sometimes penetrate deep into the brain. Some common symptoms to look for after penetrations are blood emission from the head, exhaustion, and breathing difficulty.

Acquired brain injury

The acquired brain injury is not caused by a direct traumatic impact on the brain. It happens after an injury in other body parts that prevents sufficient oxygen flow to the brain. Hence, it is also referred to as a secondary injury.

Any type of injury that restricts enough blood flow and oxygen to the brain is called acquired brain injury. It can cause damage to the lung and ribs, chest complications, throat injuries, and blood loss. All these lead to reduced brain function.

What are the Symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injury?

Symptoms of TBI can be noticeable right after the accident and sometimes days and weeks after. Some symptoms can be mild, while some are severe. Most people just ignore them or mix them with other injuries.

If you are having any of the following symptoms, make sure to seek medical help.

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Memory lapses
  • Changes in vision, mood, taste, and speech
  • Sensitivity to sound or light
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Seizures
  • Ringing in one or both ears
  • Dilated pupils
  • Worsening headache
  • Numbness of the fingers or toes
  • Extreme confusion
  • Fluid drainage from the ears
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Coma

What to Do for Brain Injury After a Car Accident?

If you or your loved one have suffered a brain injury, here is what you need to do.

  • Check yourself instantly to detect and diagnose the injury
  • Seek medical treatment
  • Gather medical documentation
  • Discuss your injury with an experienced personal injury lawyer
  • Contact your auto insurance company
  • Do not reach any settlements without discussing your lawyer


Mild or severe traumatic brain injury after a car accident should never be neglected. A little negligence or unawareness can turn a minor injury into a severe one. It can even have long-lasting adverse effects on your life.

Thankfully, this will not happen to you. You can now identify the injury earlier and seek necessary help. All in all, it is definitely worth seeking legal assistance from a personal injury lawyer.

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