The Connection Between Car Accidents and Traumatic Brain Injuries

The Connection Between Car Accidents and Traumatic Brain Injuries

As you operate your vehicle daily, you likely do not consider the potential for sustaining traumatic brain injury should be involved in a car accident. However, motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of traumatic brain injury, with the CDC reporting that 50,000 people in the United States die from traumatic brain injuries each year. Understanding the mechanics of how brain injuries occur and learning preventative strategies can empower you to drive more safely. Reading this article will educate you on the connection between car accidents and traumatic brain injuries, providing key information that may help save your life or the life of a loved one.

Understanding Traumatic Brain Injuries Caused by Car Accidents

Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are a leading cause of disability and mortality following car accidents. A TBI occurs when an external force impacts the head and damages the brain. Car accidents often involve high speeds, sudden stops, and violent collisions that can cause the brain to strike the inside of the skull, resulting in bruising, bleeding, and tearing of brain tissue.

TBIs can range from mild to severe. Mild TBIs or concussions may lead to temporary confusion or loss of consciousness, while severe TBIs can cause prolonged unconsciousness, memory loss, impaired thinking, and permanent disability. The most devastating TBIs can even lead to a vegetative state.

  • Physical symptoms: Nausea, vomiting, dizziness, blurred vision, ringing in the ears, weakness or numbness in the extremities.
  • Cognitive symptoms: Impaired memory, difficulty concentrating or making decisions, slowed thinking, confusion, disorientation.
  • Emotional and behavioral symptoms: Irritability, mood swings, depression, anxiety, aggression, impulsivity, insomnia.

The good news is many people with mild to moderate TBIs caused by car accidents experience a full recovery with proper rest and rehabilitation. However, some symptoms may persist long-term or permanently. The key is prompt diagnosis and treatment. Seeking immediate medical care following any car accident is critical, even if you feel fine. Early intervention can help minimize damage from a TBI and improve your chances of recovery.

Common Causes of TBI in Auto Collisions

Auto collisions frequently lead to traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) due to the force that impacts the head during a crash. The most common causes of TBI from car accidents include:

  • Impact with the steering wheel, dashboard or windshield. During a collision, the body is thrown forward and the unprotected head can strike the interior parts of the vehicle. This impact often results in bruising, bleeding or skull fractures that damage the brain.
  • Ejection from the vehicle. Individuals who are ejected from a vehicle during an accident are extremely vulnerable to suffering a TBI. Without the protection of the vehicle, the head is unshielded from hitting the ground or other objects.
  • Rapid acceleration or deceleration. When a vehicle suddenly speeds up, slows down or changes direction during an accident, the brain can collide with the interior skull. This coup or countercoup injury leads to brain damage from the impact and resulting swelling or bleeding.
  • Unrestrained or improperly restrained occupants. Seat belts and airbags are designed to prevent occupants from striking parts of the vehicle interior and minimize rapid head movement during an accident. Without proper restraints, the likelihood of sustaining a TBI multiplies due to the lack of protection for the brain.

By understanding the forces that commonly cause TBIs in auto collisions and taking recommended safety precautions, individuals can reduce their risk of suffering a traumatic brain injury from a motor vehicle accident. Buckling up, following the rules of the road and driving defensively are all ways to improve safety and avoid potential head trauma in a crash.

Symptoms of a TBI After a Car Crash

If you have been in a motor vehicle accident, it is important to be aware of symptoms of a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and seek medical care immediately. A TBI is a disruption in the normal function of the brain that can be caused by a severe blow or jolt to the head. The symptoms may appear right away or days after the initial injury.

Loss of Consciousness

Losing consciousness or experiencing a lowered level of consciousness is a sign that a TBI may have occurred. If you were knocked out or experienced a period where you were dazed and confused following a car crash, consult your doctor.


Persistent or worsening headaches after a car accident can signal a TBI. The headaches may be dull or sharp, and pain relievers do not alleviate them. Migraine headache sufferers may notice a change in the frequency or severity of their headaches.

Dizziness or Nausea

Feeling dizzy, lightheaded or off-balance is a symptom of a TBI. Nausea and vomiting may also occur, especially right after the injury. These sensations indicate pressure or damage in the brain stem or inner ear.

Blurred Vision

Your vision may become blurry or you may see double after sustaining a TBI in a car accident. Vision problems arise from injury to the occipital lobe at the back of the brain which processes visual information.

Memory Loss

Difficulty remembering events before and after the accident, as well as temporary gaps in memory, can be a sign of traumatic brain damage. Short-term and long-term memory may be impaired. Memory loss is a result of injury to the temporal lobes on the sides of the brain.

If any of these symptoms are present after a motor vehicle collision, consult your physician right away for an evaluation and diagnosis. Early detection and treatment of a TBI is critical to preventing permanent brain damage and improving the potential for recovery.

Seeking Compensation for Your Traumatic Brain Injury

Traumatic brain injuries resulting from car accidents can have devastating, life-changing impacts. If you have suffered a traumatic brain injury in a car accident caused by another driver's negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. This compensation can include payment of medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other related expenses.

File a Claim With the At-Fault Driver's Insurance Company

The first step is to file a claim with the insurance company of the at-fault driver to recover damages. You will need evidence to show the other driver was at fault, such as a police report, witness statements, photos of the vehicles involved, and medical records documenting your injuries. Be prepared for the insurance company to try and dispute or diminish your claim. You may need to negotiate to get full and fair compensation.

Hire an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney

If filing a claim yourself is unsuccessful or too complicated, consider hiring an experienced personal injury attorney who specializes in traumatic brain injury cases. A qualified attorney can handle the claim process for you, deal with the insurance companies, and pursue a lawsuit on your behalf if needed. They work on contingency, meaning you typically do not pay any upfront legal fees and they receive a percentage of your settlement or court award.

Pursue a Personal Injury Lawsuit

As a last resort, you may need to pursue a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver to obtain proper compensation for your traumatic brain injury. An attorney can advise you on whether you have grounds for a lawsuit and determine an appropriate settlement demand or help you through the litigation process. Lawsuits can be complex, so having legal counsel is highly recommended.

With persistence and the right legal help, you can seek recompense for the physical, mental, emotional and financial suffering resulting from a traumatic brain injury in a vehicle accident. No amount of money can undo the damage, but compensation can at least provide resources for treatment and make life after an accident a little easier.

Do I Need a Texas Car Accident Lawyer? FAQs

If you've been in a motor vehicle collision in Texas, you may be wondering whether you need to hire a car accident lawyer to handle your claim. Here are some frequently asked questions about working with a car accident attorney:

Do I have to hire a lawyer to pursue a car accident claim?

No, hiring a lawyer is not legally required to pursue compensation after a car crash. However, given the complexity of personal injury laws and insurance policies, it is highly advisable. An experienced attorney can properly value your claim, handle negotiations with insurance companies, and file a lawsuit if needed. They know how to maximize your settlement and get you the compensation you deserve.

How much will a car accident lawyer cost?

Most personal injury attorneys offer contingency fee arrangements, meaning they don't charge any upfront fees and simply take a percentage of your settlement amount, typically 33% to 40%. They only get paid if you win your case. Some lawyers charge flat fees or hourly rates, but contingency fees are most common in car accident cases.

How long do I have to hire a lawyer?

It's best to hire a lawyer as soon as possible after an accident. In Texas, the statute of limitations for car accident claims is two years. This means you have two years from the date of the collision to file a lawsuit against the at-fault parties. Hiring an attorney early on allows them adequate time to investigate, gather evidence, and build the strongest case possible on your behalf.

What if the other driver doesn't have insurance?

If the at-fault driver has no insurance, you can make a claim through your own uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. A car accident lawyer can help ensure your insurance company handles your claim properly and that you receive fair compensation under your policy. They can also explore other options for recovering damages, such as filing a lawsuit against the uninsured driver.

In summary, while hiring a lawyer is not legally required after a car accident, doing so is highly recommended to maximize your settlement, deal with complex insurance laws, and avoid costly mistakes. An experienced attorney can advocate for you, handle all legal matters, and help you win fair compensation for your injuries and losses.


Through your own diligent research and by consulting medical experts, and a qualified attorney from lawyers at Fletcher Law you have built a compelling case for the strong connection between car accidents and traumatic brain injuries. By raising awareness of this issue, you empower your readers to drive more cautiously and advocate for improved safety measures. Although the statistics are sobering, you end on a note of hope, underscoring the remarkable resilience of the human brain and highlighting emerging treatments that can restore quality of life after injury. With care, compassion and continued effort, the futures of those affected by this challenge can be bright. By illuminating this vital issue, you have taken an important step toward a safer, healthier society.