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Can You Get Brain Damage From A Car Accident?

Posted by Harlene Labrum | Jul 05, 2021

Car accidents are traumatic experiences that can result in life-altering consequences. It is impossible to prepare for a collision and even the most responsible drivers are at risk. Unfortunately, car crashes are often catastrophic and can lead to severe physical injuries or life-long disability.

Car accidents are the leading cause of injury in the United States. In fact, over 2 million people are injured in car crashes each year. These injuries range from minor cuts and bruises to severe brain injuries or paralysis. Experiencing a brain injury from a car accident can be a particularly unnerving situation, as even minor brain injuries can have lasting effects on a person's health.

No one is expected to handle the aftermath of a car accident alone. Contacting an expert personal injury attorney can help ensure that you are treated fairly post-accident and relieves some of the burdens of attempting to navigate difficult legal issues by yourself. Call (615) 338-9500 to talk to a lawyer at Labrum Law and learn more about your legal options regarding your brain injury from a car accident.

What Is Brain Damage?

Brain damage refers to the destruction or degeneration of brain cells. Mild brain damage may lead to temporary effects, whereas severe brain damage can leave the victim with long-term or even fatal consequences. Brain injuries are categorized into two types:

  • Traumatic injuries: injuries that occur due to an external force. Examples of traumatic brain injuries (TBI) include concussion, contusion, or penetrating injuries.
  • Nontraumatic injuries: this type of injury is also referred to as an acquired injury, and refers to damage that is developed without the aid of an outside force. Examples include stroke and brain tumors.

Brain damage from car accidents are often considered a traumatic injury in many cases, because of an outside force acting on the brain. TBIs can easily happen during car accidents as the head is highly susceptible to injury during an automobile collision. TBIs can have long-term effects on mobility and cognitive function, especially if left untreated.

Car Accident Brain Damage Statistics

Data from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that there were roughly 61,000 deaths resulting from traumatic brain injury in 2019. An additional 28 million Americans experience a traumatic brain injury of some kind every year, and many are left with lifelong effects and/or long-term debilitation.

According to a 2017 report from the CDC, motor vehicle crashes are among the most common contributing factors to brain damage. Moreover, brain injury from car accidents were the leading cause of TBI-related death among children and young adults aged 5-24. The overall rate of brain injuries is on the rise, and these figures are expected to increase in the coming years.

Types of Brain Injuries From Car Accidents

Car accidents can cause a variety of injuries depending on the unique circumstances of the collision such as speed and point of impact. Even if you feel healthy, visiting a medical professional following a car accident is imperative. Some brain injuries, such as concussions, are not apparent at first glance. Failure to consult a doctor can have long-term health consequences.


Contusion, also known as a bruise, often occurs when the head strikes an object like a steering wheel or windshield during a car accident. Treatment of a brain contusion depends on the location and the severity of the injury, but in serious cases, surgery may be required.

Symptoms of brain contusion include numbness, loss of memory, headache followed by vomiting, or inability to understand or express speech.


Concussions are quite common following a motor vehicle accident. Concussions are typically caused by a violent blow to the head, and have been known to lead to a loss of consciousness, although this is not always the case. A medical examination is required to accurately assess and diagnose a concussion.

The symptoms of a concussion are usually temporary and include headaches, memory loss, or difficulty with balance and coordination.

Penetrative Wounds

Penetrative brain damage happens when an object penetrates the head and enters the brain. In a car accident, objects may crash through the window or windshield and strike the driver or passengers, causing these penetrative wounds. These types of injuries are particularly dangerous and can be fatal.

It should be noted that penetrative wounds require immediate medical attention, as they can lead to a significant loss of blood and further complications.

Diffuse Axonal Injury

If the head rotates quickly or shakes back and forth violently, the brain may not keep up with the momentum of the skull. This can cause tears in the brain, leading to brain damage. Diffuse axonal injury is the most common cause of post-trauma coma and disability.

Symptoms of this injury are headache, dizziness, general fatigue, problems with memory, and/or loss of consciousness. Diffuse axonal injury can also lead to behavioral changes and can affect personality, emotions, and cognitive skills.

Consult A Medical Professional Immediately

Following a car accident, it is important to be examined by a medical professional, even if you feel healthy or unharmed. For many brain injuries, symptoms may be minor or may not appear for up to 48 hours after the trauma. Failure to consult a medical professional can worsen the injury or result in serious long-term brain damage.

Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys Can Assist You

If you or a loved one has suffered from brain damage resulting from a car accident, you are likely left with steep medical bills and other related expenses. Depending on the circumstances of the collision, you may be eligible for compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Talk to a professional personal injury attorney to explore your options and learn more about the potential compensation available to you. Labrum Law is committed to answering your questions about car accidents and ensuring that you receive fair treatment following a crash. Call (615) 338-9500 to talk to one of our experienced lawyers today.

About the Author

Harlene Labrum

Harlene is focused and passionate about helping those injured in car wrecks.  She earned her J.D. at Nashville School of Law and her Bachelor's degree at State University of New York at Albany, awarded with the highest GPA and high honors.  Harlene began her career in law as a personal injury par...

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