Auto accidents are a leading cause of traumatic brain injury in the United States, accounting for nearly 1 in 5 TBI diagnoses. Even if the head doesn’t impact a window or steering wheel, an abrupt jolt of the neck could be enough to cause a concussion, contusion, or a more serious TBI.
Read on to learn about some of the most common brain injuries sustained in car accidents:
- Penetrating Head Wounds
A vehicle’s crumple zone contains all kinds of metal and glass components that can break off and penetrate the head in the event of a collision. Should one of these sharp projectiles pierce the skull, a penetrating head wound will result.
The precise location and extent of the wound will determine the prognosis. Penetrating injuries can be immediately fatal, or they can cause life-threatening complications if left untreated. Examples include seizures, paralysis, loss of consciousness, and coma.
Contusions are bruises caused by forceful impacts. There are two primary ways a brain contusion can develop during a car accident: An object might strike the head forcefully enough to bruise the brain, or the brain itself might strike the inside of the skull hard enough to develop a bruise. Brain contusions can cause serious complications and may even need to be surgically removed.
- Coup-Contrecoup Injuries
A coup-contrecoup injury occurs when the brain bounces from one side of the skull to the other, resulting in the development of contusions on two opposite sides of the brain’s gray matter. Symptoms depend on the location and severity of the contusions but might include nausea, fatigue, blurred vision, slurred speech, tinnitus, dizziness, confusion, poor memory, headaches, and sensitivity to light and sound.
The symptoms of concussion can be similar to those of a coup-contrecoup injury, but concussions tend to be less severe. Called a “minor traumatic brain injury,” a concussion is unlikely to cause lasting damage, though some studies indicate that people who sustain multiple concussions over the course of their lives are vulnerable to long-term complications.
- Diffuse Axonal Injuries
Diffuse axonal injuries (DAIs) are a serious form of TBI. Characterized by lesions scattered across a widespread area of the brain, DAIs are caused by the actual tearing of structures, which occurs when the head is rotated or shaken forcefully.
Because the lesions affect both white and gray matter in the brain, they can cause severe and even permanent disability. More than 90 percent of patients with extensive DAI never wake up upon falling into coma, and those who do regain consciousness tend to be significantly impaired.
Call 212-421-0300 to Discuss Your Case with a New York City Car Accident Attorney
If you or someone you love sustained a brain injury in a motor-vehicle collision, contact The Law Office of Richard M. Kenny. We are dedicated to providing the legal advice you need and the attentive service you deserve. Call 212-421-0300 or fill out our Contact Form to schedule a free case evaluation with a car accident lawyer in New York City.