Traumatic Brain Injury Associated with Auto Accidents in California

by Staff Blogger | October 24th, 2022

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a serious and potentially devastating consequence of a car accident. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that car accidents caused 24.5% of all TBI-related hospitalizations and 4.9% of male TBI-related deaths in 2017.

A TBI’s physical, financial, and emotional impact can be severe and long-lasting. If you or a loved one has suffered a disability from a TBI, contact Berg Injury Lawyers to find out your options for restitution.

What Happens to Your Brain in a Car Accident?

In a car accident, your car absorbs the kinetic energy from the other vehicle’s impact. The force of the movement may throw your head back and forth, side to side, or cause you to hit your head on the car interior. These movements cause your brain to move, shake, twist, or suffer injury inside your skull.

Depending on the severity of the crash, you can experience mild to severe injury to your brain. The injury can include bruising, bleeding, or permanent damage or death to your brain’s nerves and tissues.

What is a TBI After a Car Accident?

A TBI that occurs during an accident may not show immediate signs or symptoms. According to the CDC, signs of a mild concussion may not surface until several hours or days after the collision.

It’s also possible to experience secondary injury, where the initial damage to your brain causes further damage to develop. For example, due to the TBI, you may suffer brain swelling or bleeding, hypoxia (low oxygen in the brain), meningitis, or ischemia (lack of blood flow).

Common Types of Brain Injuries from Car Accidents

Most brain injuries sustained in car accidents are closed brain injuries, meaning the skull remains intact. TBIs commonly incurred in car accidents include:

  • Concussions: a general term for mild brain injury
  • Contusions: bruising of the brain tissue
  • Lacerations: the brain tissue or cerebral blood vessels shear or rip
  • Diffuse axonal injury: the nerve fibers inside the brain tear or rip

What are Common Symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injury?

Since a TBI affects the brain, the condition shows many symptoms. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, about 75% of all TBIs are mild. However, even a mild TBI can have life-long effects such as:

  • Headache and dizziness
  • Feeling lightheaded
  • Confusion
  • Tinnitus (ears ringing)
  • Vision impairments
  • Tiredness, fatigue
  • Moodiness or sudden changes in behavior
  • Impaired cognition (difficulty thinking, concentrating, or remembering events)
  • Loss of coordination

In more serious cases, someone with a TBI may:

  • Vomit
  • Experience seizures
  • Have unevenly dilated pupils
  • Have trouble speaking; slurring words
  • Feel weak or numb
  • Enter a coma

Regardless of symptoms or apparent severity, TBIs are considered a medical emergency and must be assessed by a doctor. Contrary to popular belief, you do not have to lose consciousness to experience a TBI. Many people experience mild TBIs without losing consciousness.

What Kind of Doctor Can Diagnose Accident-Related Brain Injuries?

There is no doctor dedicated solely to diagnosing TBIs. Instead, someone with a TBI will likely be assessed by a team of doctors, including:

  • A general physician to assess your overall state
  • A neurologist to screen for cognitive impairment
  • A radiologist to perform a CT or MRI scan

After a car accident, it’s vital to see the right medical professionals for an accurate diagnosis. Not only can it help you get the treatment you need, but your diagnosis can also help you receive appropriate compensation for your potentially life-altering injury.

Can the Brain Heal from Traumatic Brain Injury?

Recovering from a TBI is complex; if a TBI damages or destroys your brain tissue, the harm is permanent. However, depending on the severity of the TBI, you may undergo rehabilitation to regain some normal functions.

Some TBIs have minimal impact on your ability to function and may be overcome with medical intervention. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, the brain can potentially reroute information from areas of the brain affected by a TBI to other locations. In younger people, other brain tissues may compensate for injured tissue.

Even when someone experiences a mild TBI, rehabilitation is a slow process. It can take months or years for someone with a TBI to return to how they used to be, during which they might be unable to work.

A California car accident attorney can help you gain restitution for lost wages and the cost of your medical bills so you can work on recovery after an accident.

How Do You Prove a TBI?

If you pursue financial compensation for your TBI, you will need proof of the injury at trial. While medical imagery can detect more serious TBIs and complications, such as brain bleeds, mild TBIs may not have a visible impact on the brain.

If your TBI doesn’t appear on imaging scans, you may need to rely on medical records and the testimony of your medical providers to prove your injury to the court.

An experienced personal injury lawyer like our attorneys at Berg Injury Lawyers can work with medical experts to help you document your TBI and prove its cause.

Contact us today for a free consultation about your TBI accident case. We can review your records and help you take the next legal step toward restitution from your injury collision.