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What Are Common Head Injuries Suffered in Car Accidents?

Posted by Harlene Labrum | Jan 22, 2022

Many people who experience a motor vehicle accident end up suffering a head injury. Head injuries can be short-term or permanent, depending on the severity of the accident. If you or your family member suffered a serious head trauma or traumatic brain injury after an accident, you may be able to recover damages from the at-fault party. Please contact Labrum Law at (615) 338-9500 to speak with one of our experienced Tennessee car accident attorneys to see if you have a case. We fight for our clients through the entire process of seeking compensation, whether the case settles quickly or goes to trial. 

Three Common Car Accident Head Injuries 

Though there are countless types of head injuries, some more commonly result from car accidents than others. 

1.   Concussions

Concussions are extremely common car accident head injuries. A concussion is sometimes referred to as a mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) because it occurs when there is a blow to the head that suddenly shakes or slams the brain within the cranium. The reason concussions commonly result from car accidents is because the impact between the vehicles often causes drivers' or passengers' heads to slam against the steering wheel, dashboard, or headrests. 

Although concussions are typically considered mild injuries, they must be treated immediately because they can have serious long-term consequences. There is sometimes a misconception that concussions do not require medical attention if the victim did not lose consciousness. While it is true that there is limited treatment to cure a concussion, it is important to get proper testing and diagnosis to ensure that you are cared for while concussed. According to the Mayo Clinic, some of the signs and symptoms of a concussion include:

  • Headaches
  • Ear ringing
  • Queasiness, vomiting, or nasuea
  • Fatigue or drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Confusion and/or brain fog
  • Amnesia surrounding the traumatic event
  • Any loss of consciousness
  • Slurring of speech
  • Inability to quickly respond to questions
  • Dazed appearance
  • Forgetfulness, such as repeatedly asking the same question 

Note that these symptoms may appear immediately, or they can take days to materialize. Even if you do not feel the immediate effects, be sure to seek medical attention after a car accident to ensure you do not have a concussion. Some of the longer-term effects of concussions include: 

2.            Contusion

A contusion is a bruise on the brain. Like a concussion, a contusion can be caused when a car accident victim's head suddenly jerks or slams against a surface or is struck by a loose object during the accident. According to Cedars-Sinai, a contusion can cause bleeding and swelling in the brain around the area where the head was struck.

The symptoms of a brain contusion are similar to a concussion. Seek immediate medical attention after a car accident, especially if you notice any of these symptoms:

  • Changes in personality
  • Difficulty speaking or understanding speech
  • Loss of memory
  • Numbness/tingling
  • Loss of attention

A contusion on both sides of the head is called a “coup-contrecoup,” where there is a bruise both at the site of impact and on the back side.

3.            Penetrating Injuries

Penetrating injuries occur when an object pierces the skull and enters the brain. In particularly serious car accidents, pieces of the car come dislodged, including sharp glass and metal fragments. Penetrating injuries should be treated immediately and can be fatal.

How Do I Know If I Have a Head Injury?

In addition to the many symptoms listed above, certain medical testing may reveal whether you have a head injury that requires treatment. According to the National Institutes of Health, symptoms of concussion typically appear within 7-10 days. Internal brain injuries often cannot be detected through imaging, so the victim must be observed by neurologists and pathologists to determine whether there are any abnormal findings. 

What Damages Are Available for Car Accident Head Injuries?

At Labrum Law, we believe in making car accident victims whole again. If you suffered brain trauma from a car accident, trust us to help hold the at-fault party accountable. Car accident victims can seek compensation for not only economic losses, but also the non-economic pain and suffering they suffer as a result.

Economic Damages

Head injuries can be expensive to detect. Similarly, you may have to take time off of work while you recover. After a concussion, for example, a physician will typically advise that you take time off of work so you do not have to look at a screen all day, which can exacerbate the symptoms of a concussion. Similarly, loud noises and bright fluorescent lights can stop your concussion from healing quickly. This means you may lose wages, or even long-term earning capacity, depending on the severity of your symptoms. After a car accident, victims may recover:

  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Past and future lost wages
  • Property damage
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Incidental expenses

Non-Economic Damages

The law recognizes that a serious car accident can cost much more than medical bills and car repairs. A head injury from a car accident may cause serious pain, discomfort, confusion, and mood swings, which can prevent you from doing the things you love to do. Victims can also seek damages for:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of consortium (for spouses)

Trust the Car Accident Lawyers at Labrum Law

At Labrum Law, we have years of experience representing car accident victims in the Nashville area. We know that this is a stressful time in your life, and we want to help you navigate the complicated legal system while you focus on recuperating. We treat each of our clients as the unique individuals that they are. Allow us to get to know your case and fight for you, whether your case is a small settlement or a large-scale trial. Contact us online or call our office at (615) 338-9500. We want to hear from you.

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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