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Common Types of Head/Traumatic Brain Injuries Suffered in Car Accidents

doctor analyzing brain mrisSome of the worst injuries caused by car accidents are head and traumatic brain injuries (TBI). Even a moderate brain injury could end up affecting you for the rest of your life. The damage could affect you physically and psychologically, creating numerous daily challenges.

Below, Schmidt Kramer’s experienced attorneys discuss some of the most common head/brain injuries that can be caused by car crashes, including the symptoms and potential long-term effects.

We are here to help car crash brain injury victims seek compensation for damages. Our attorneys have a proven track record, having recovered millions on behalf of car crash victims. While compensation cannot change what happened, it is very important as victims look to move forward.

At Schmidt Kramer, there are no upfront fees for our services. That means an initial consultation is free and you are not obligated to hire our firm if we validate your claim.

Three Levels of Traumatic Brain Injuries

TBIs can be divided into three levels, from mild to severe, with severe TBIs leading to permanent illness and potentially death.

Mild TBI

A mild concussion is an example of a mild brain injury. People can suffer mild concussions in car crashes and make a full recovery after getting rest. They may have temporary symptoms, like:

  • Poor balance
  • Poor coordination
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Mild memory loss
  • Poor judgment

It is important to note that multiple mild concussions could make people more susceptible to serious damage if they have another head injury.

A contusion is another example of a mild head/brain injury. A blow to the head could cause minor bleeding in the brain that heals on its own.

Moderate TBI

A moderate concussion could cause symptoms that affect victims for anywhere between a few months and more than a year. Victims may develop psychological problems because of their other symptoms. For example, they may experience depression or anxiety because of the long-term effects of their concussion.

A hematoma may be considered a moderate TBI, as opposed to a contusion. A hematoma is a blood clot that puts pressure on the brain and is often caused by damaged blood vessels. There may not be long-term damage if doctors relieve the pressure a hematoma exerts on the brain.

Severe TBI

Severe concussions and serious open and closed head injuries may cause permanent damage and even death, based on the severity of the damage. The brain tissue suffers severe damage, either from being pierced or from the brain moving within the skull. The brain could be damaged from the head jerking violently forward or backward or from slamming into something.

Defining Different Brain Injuries

If you have any reason to believe you suffered one of the head injuries discussed below, seek treatment immediately. In some cases, immediate treatment could be the difference between having long-term health problems or even being at risk for death.


You have probably heard a lot about concussions, particularly in reference to athletes on contact sports suffering these injuries. However, people have many misconceptions about these injuries. For example, you can suffer a concussion without losing consciousness. You do not need to hit your head to suffer a concussion either. If your head gets shaken around hard enough, you could suffer a mild concussion.

Concussions occur when the brain hits the inside of the skull because of a sudden change in movement or momentum. This causes chemical changes that damage brain cells and could potentially lead to long-term health problems.

Some of the symptoms of a concussion may include:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Feeling light-headed
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Vomiting
  • Slurred speech
  • Changes in personality
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Feeling fatigued
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Seizures
  • Numbness in the arms and legs
  • Sensory deficiencies

Contusions or Bruises on the Brain

If your head hits the window, steering wheel, dashboard or another fixed object in your car, your brain could get bruised. The larger the bruise, the more severe the injury. Some brain contusions heal on their own, but you should not take that chance. Make sure a doctor evaluates you to determine the treatment you need to heal the injury.

A contusion could cause some of the same symptoms as a concussion, including:

  • Trouble forming new memories
  • Trouble with balance and coordination
  • Trouble forming sentences
  • Struggling to concentrate
  • Slurring your words
  • Numbness in the affected area

Open Head Injury

An open head injury involves an object penetrating the skull and damaging brain tissue. The faster your vehicle and the other involved are traveling, the more likely it is an object inside or outside your car will become a projectile. Sharp objects are much more likely to penetrate the skull.

These injuries could lead to permanent brain damage and may be fatal, depending on the part of the brain that is impacted. Symptoms of a penetrating injury can include:

  • Significant blood loss
  • Seizures
  • Trouble breathing
  • Loss of sensation in limbs
  • Paralysis
  • Coma
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Loss of bowel function
  • Loss of bladder function
  • Bleeding from the ears

Diffuse Axonal Injury

This happens when the force of impact causing the brain to hit the hard bone of the skull, which can damage the structure of the brain and tear apart nerve tissues. This can seriously disrupt chemical processes in the brain, possibly leading a coma, death or permanent brain damage.

This type of injury could happen with the skull being penetrated, but it can also happen without a penetration. Typically, the injury happens when the brain is not moving as fast as the skull, resulting in a collision between the brain and the skull.

Losing consciousness, feeling dizzy, vomiting, suffering headaches or feeling fatigued are all symptoms of a diffuse axonal injury.

Coup-Contrecoup Injury

This occurs when the force of impact causes the brain to hit both sides of the skull, damaging both sides of the brain. The injury usually results in severe brain damage that may be permanent.

Victims may experience symptoms like these, in addition to other symptoms associated with a head or brain injury:

  • Sensitivity to light
  • Sensitivity to sound
  • Tinnitus
  • Changes in mood or behavior
  • Swelling in the brain
  • Contusions
  • Skull fractures

Types of Car Crashes That May Result in Brain Injuries

Any car crash could result in a brain injury, but some collisions may be more likely to cause brain injuries. For example, a front-end collision causes vehicles to stop abruptly, which could cause the brain to move around or slam into the skull. This could result in whiplash, concussions and diffuse axonal injuries.

A coup-contrecoup injury often happens in rollover crashes because the head could be violently shaken and hit on both sides.

A T-bone or side-impact crash could cause your brain to strike the side of your skull that is opposite from the collision. Your brain could also strike the other side of the skull next. For the most part, the side of a car is not as well-equipped to deal with a crash as the front and back are.

Rear-end crashes could cause whiplash, which sometimes accompanies brain injuries. This usually happens to occupants of the car that was rear-ended.

Call Today to Discuss Your Legal Options

Crash victims often have a tough time securing full compensation for their damages on their own. Insurance companies know this, which is why they often discourage victims from hiring attorneys.

It is important for crash victims to know hiring an attorney often results in recovering more compensation. Unlike the insurance companies, Harrisburg car crash lawyers are committed to recovering full compensation, just like the victims.

Our firm has recovered tens of millions on behalf of our clients over more than 30 years. We work on contingency, so there are no upfront fees. There is no risk in giving us a call to learn how we may be able to help you.

Call Schmidt Kramer today. We are here to help. (717) 727-1837