Traumatic Brain Injury Caused by Automobile Accidents

Brain trauma can occur during an auto collision when the head hits the windshield or steering wheel. The skull does not have to have been penetrated or fractured for a TBI to occur. The impact involved in an auto collision can cause the soft brain to strike the hard bone of the skull. This occurs because the impact causes the head, which had previously been in motion, to come to an abrupt stop. The brain continues its forward movement, and impacts the interior of the skull. This impact can cause bruising of the brain and/or a brain hemorrhage (bleeding) which in most cases is not visible at the time of injury.

Blunt trauma is another mechanism of injury during a car accident. This occurs when a moving head slams against a hard object such as the windshield. Often, upon impact with the hard object, and open head wound will be visible. This can also occur if the car occupant is ejected at impact.

When head trauma is not visible to the naked eye, diagnostic imaging is necessary to assist in diagnosis. A CT scan (cranial tomography) is a type of imaging study that will reveal brain injuries such as blood clots, active bleeding, contusions, and swelling. In some cases, a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan, which is a different type of imaging, may be required. It is important to note that neither CT nor MRI can detect all types of brain injuries, It is possible to have a severe TBI – even be comatose – and still show normal scan results.

A neuropsychologist is a type of specialist that can evaluate and develop strategies to deal with the effects of TBI. If you have been in an automobile accident and suspect that you may have suffered TBI despite clean scans, you may want to consider consulting a personal injury attorney who can help you find the resources you need to best treat your injuries.