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Why Traumatic Brain Injuries Are So Dangerous After a Car Accident

More than half of all reported traumatic brain injuries are as a result of a motor vehicle accident. A traumatic brain injury can occur as a result of any force that penetrates or fractures the skull. Naturally, we instinctively protect our head in any situation that could potentially damage it. The suddenness of a car accident doesn’t allow a person the time to protect themselves from hitting their head. The scary part is that a traumatic brain injury can take time to show symptoms, and the lasting effects of one can be catastrophic and even lethal.

There are many things in a car that can cause brain injury. Whether it’s the dashboard, a window, the steering wheel or the seat in front of you, blunt force to the head is a huge concern. Unlike other kinds of injuries, major damage can be done even if there isn’t an open wound or fracture to the skull. The sheer force of a motor vehicle accident can cause the brain to hit against the skull from the inside. The result can be multiple kinds of brain injuries. Blunt trauma to the head can result in injuries that are both debilitating and long-lasting. The scary part is that the symptoms of traumatic brain injuries are similar at first, but the range of severity can be huge. Traumatic brain injury can have wide-ranging physical and psychological effects. Some signs or symptoms may appear immediately after the traumatic event, while others may appear days or weeks later. Here are some types of traumatic brain injuries that are caused from motor vehicle accidents.


A sudden hitting of the head after something like a car accident can cause the brain to hit against your skull. Signs of a concussion include dizziness, confusion, vomiting, trouble balancing and problems with memory. While a concussion is mostly not life threatening, it is still very important to visit a doctor for this.


Edema is a swelling of fluid in the body. For a brain injury it causes a build up of pressure forcing the brain to press against the skull. Unlike edema in other parts of the body, edema in the brain is especially dangerous. The symptoms of edema are really just more severe symptoms of a concussion. This makes it even more important to get checked out if you think you have a concussion because there’s a possibility it could be something more serious. If you also have trouble doing normal things like walking, talking or breathing this could also be a sign of brain edema.


This is uncontrolled bleeding inside or around the brain. These hemorrhages cause extreme nausea and vomiting and can be very dangerous.

Skull Fracture

Fracturing the skull is very hard to do and requires a large amount of force. If you are in a motor vehicle accident and hit your head pretty hard you should immediately go to the hospital. Even if it isn’t a fracture it could still result in one of the other symptoms above. Bleeding or swelling from the nose or other parts of the face could indicate that a blow was hard enough to the face to possibly fracture the skull.

Diffuse axonal injury

This is the most dangerous of all the brain injuries. Diffuse axonal injury is direct damage to the brain cells as opposed to hemorrhaging. Even worse is that it is hard to detect. If this happens, a person likely loses the ability to function. This kind of injury can be permanent or even result in death.

Any kind of blow to the head should not be taken lightly as it may be hard to know the severity right away. Brain injuries are categorized as mild, severe or catastrophic according to the extent of physical and/or mental impairment. The injury may cause damage that is intermittent, is short term, or lasts a lifetime. Severe and traumatic brain injuries place a great emotional and financial burden on the entire family.

If your brain is injured, in addition to medical treatment, you may require extensive physical therapy and rehabilitation to help you re-learn simple daily tasks, such as walking and talking. You may also need to redesign your home to accommodate a wheelchair and other equipment. Therefore, if you hit your head from a motor vehicle accident , you should get medically evaluated right away. Doing so not only will ensure you are treated properly and quickly, but it will also link your injury to the accident. Brain injuries are long lasting, devastating and expensive. When the accident is not your fault, you should not be responsible for paying for extensive medical treatment. That is why if you or a loved one suffered a traumatic brain injury from a motor vehicle accident, it is in your best interest to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney to help you regain your losses as a result of the accident.

About the Author

Steven Palermo is the managing partner for Palermo Law, Long Island’s Personal Injury Law Firm. He has been helping people receive compensation for their injuries for over 21 years. He focuses on cases involving car accidents, truck accidents, construction accidents and slip and fall injuries.

His book The Ultimate Guide to Handling New York Car Accident Claims details the ins and outs of a car accident claim in a simple, easy-to-read manner.