How Common Are Traumatic Brain Injuries After Car Accidents?
Traumatic brain injuries are one of the most catastrophic kinds of injuries that an accident victim can suffer. Car accidents rank among one of the leading causes of traumatic brain injuries out of all types of accidents. But how common are TBIs in car crashes? Do these injuries only occur in the most violent car accidents, or can less severe crashes also cause TBIs?
What Types of Car Accidents Cause TBIs?
Different kinds of car accidents can lead to vehicle occupants suffering TBIs. A rear-end collision can cause people in the car in front to suffer whiplash, where their head and neck rapidly jerk back and forth. This can cause the brain to impact the inside of the skull. A head-on or front-end collision can also cause a vehicle occupant to strike their head on the steering wheel or dashboard when their car comes to an abrupt stop.
A side-impact or T-bone collision can also result in a car occupant striking their head on a side pillar or door window.
Accidents can also cause dangerous debris to go flying, including objects inside of a vehicle, shattered glass, or other metal or debris from outside of the vehicle. This flying debris can strike a car occupant in the head, causing a serious, potentially life-threatening open head injury.
Types of Traumatic Brain Injuries
Common types of traumatic brain injuries that car accident victims may suffer include:
- Coup lesion or contusion, or bruising of the brain
- Coup-contrecoup, or bruising on opposite sides of the brain
- Penetrating or open head injury
- Skull fractures
- Brain bleed/hemorrhage
- Hematoma, or pooling or clotting of blood in and around the brain
Traumatic brain injuries fall into one of three grades:
- Mild TBIs, usually defined as a concussion, which typically resolves on their own within a few days to a few weeks
- Moderate TBIs, including post-concussion syndrome, which causes symptoms that last several months to a year
- Severe TBIs, which usually result in long-term or permanent symptoms and disabilities or disorders of consciousness like coma or vegetative state
Symptoms of TBIs After a Car Accident
Symptoms of traumatic brain injuries suffered in a car accident will vary depending on the severity of the injury. Mild TBIs can cause symptoms in the minutes or hours after a car accident such as:
- Brief loss of consciousness
- Blurred vision
- Ringing in the ears
While symptoms of mild TBIs should resolve after a few days, car accident victims who display symptoms of mild TBIs should be monitored in the days following the accident for persistent or worsening symptoms, which may indicate that their injury is worse than initially believed.
Symptoms of moderate to severe TBIs include:
- Loss of consciousness lasting several minutes to several hours, or onset of coma or vegetative state
- Persistent nausea and vomiting
- Mood swings or changes, including agitation or combativeness
- Sleep disorders
- Numbness or tingling in the extremities
- Profound confusion
- Dilated pupils
- Clear fluids that drain from the ears or nose
Contact a Pittsburgh Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Car Accident Case in Pennsylvania
Did you or a loved one sustain serious injuries due to a car accident in Pennsylvania? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party or their insurance company to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at Berger Lagnese & Paul, LLC represent clients injured because of car accidents in Butler, Cranberry Township, Erie, Greensburg, and throughout Pennsylvania. Call (412) 471-4300 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 310 Grant St. #720, Pittsburgh, PA 15219.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.