Automobile accidents are the second leading cause of traumatic brain injuries in the U.S. Collisions often result in traumatic brain injuries (TBI) to passengers or pedestrians through direct trauma to the head (such as hitting your head on the windshield) or through forceful acceleration/deceleration. In some cases, these TBI injuries caused by car accidents can be life threatening. In fact, TBI accounts for about 40% of accidental deaths each year in the U.S. Further, over 2 million people in the U.S. suffer from long-term disabilities as a result of TBI
TBI is often associated with intracranial injuries and extracranial injuries. A severe head trauma may cause injuries such as brain contusion, extracranial hemorrhage, diffuse axonal injury, and/or intracranial hemorrhage. In many cases, TBI is associated with other injuries to the spine and thorax.
Car accident victims suffering from TBI may appear to have an altered consciousness. They may exhibit symptoms including headaches, amnesia, and vomiting. Anyone showing these symptoms after a car accident should be taken to an emergency room immediately for further evaluation. There, initial imaging studies will be taken to identify specific injuries and the victim may be admitted to the intensive care unit. Medical care usually involves treatment of principal injury and treatment / prevention of any secondary neurologic sequelae.
Types of Traumatic Brain Injury associated with Motor Vehicle Accidents
Acute subdural hematoma involve extracranial bleeding from damaged subdural vessels such as tears in bridging veins which cross the subdural space. A subdural hemorrhage can cause an increase in pressure which compresses and damages brain tissue. Acute subdural hematomas can be life threatening and develop quickly after suffering a head trauma in a car accident. They can be diagnosed with a CT scan or MRI.
Epidural hematoma involve extracranial bleeding from damaged dural vessels. Epidural hematomas are usually caused by tears in arteries, resulting in a build-up of blood between the dura mater and skull. They are often associated with skull fracture. In some cases, the person will initially appear well and then begin to deteriorate. A CT scan is used to confirm this diagnosis.
Subarachnoid hemorrhage is bleeding in the subarachnoid space, which is the area between the brain and the thin tissues that cover the brain. It may be seen with head trauma from an accident. It can usually be diagnosed with a CT scan which will show the hemorrhage.
Cerebral contusion is bruising or bleeding of the brain which is often caused by the skull impacting on cerebral cortex during an acceleration-deceleration injury. This type of contusion is more common in the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain. With serious motor vehicle accidents, a victim may be unconscious from the time of the injury or later progress to unconsciousness from the injury. A CT scan can be used to diagnose a cerebral contusion.
Diffuse axonal injury is a disruption of gray and white matter caused by the type of rapid deceleration injury often associated with car accidents. This injury is one of the most destructive types of traumatic brain injury. Persons suffering from diffuse axonal injuries have a poor prognosis when associated with severe TBI and may result in a persistent vegetative state. This injury may be diagnosed with MRI, CT scans, audio/visual exams or an EEG.
The Wieand Law Firm has experience representing people who have suffered traumatic brain injuries in automobile accidents. For a free legal consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer following a car accident, call us at (215) 666-7777.
*This article is for informational purposes only and should not be used as legal advice or medical advice. The Wieand Law Firm is located in Philadelphia, PA and proud to serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.