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Brain Injuries Suffered in Automobile Collisions


One of the most common injuries suffered in North Carolina car collisions is TBI, or traumatic brain injury. TBI does not describe just one injury, but a category of injury that encompasses several specific types of damages to the brain. Trauma to the brain can occur during an automobile accident when the skull strikes, for example, an object like a steering wheel or windshield.  There may or may not be an open wound to the skull due to the accident, however in automobile accidents, the skull may not necessarily need to have been penetrated or fractured for a traumatic brain injury to occur.

In the case of an automobile accident the sheer force of the accident can cause the brain to collide against the internal hard bone of the skull. The reason why this can occur is that when a moving head comes to a quick stop, the brain continues in its movement, striking the interior of the skull. The particular type of traumatic brain injury could determine the symptoms the patient experiences, as well as their prognosis for recovery.

Types of Traumatic Brain Injuries

  • Concussions: Concussions are the most frequent brain injury in traumatic accidents, but are typically nonfatal. The symptoms of a concussion can include headache, dizziness, fatigue and brief changes in mental status. More serious concussions, however, may need medical intervention.
  • Diffuse Axonal Injury: This common injury arises from extreme forces exerted on the head and brain, such as those in a serious car collision. If the brain rapidly moves around inside the skull, it can compromise the connection between the brain and body. Generally, diffuse axonal injuries put the victims in comas.
  • Brain Contusion: A contusion within the brain refers to a bruise, generally caused by blows from sharp objects. Contusions are localized injuries that can be minor or life-threatening. A major cerebral contusion can cause brain herniation, a severe TBI where parts of the brain squeeze past the skull.
  • Coup-Contrecoup: This TBI occurs in two places: at the site of the impact (coup) and the opposite side (contrecoup). These injuries happen if the brain moves within the skull. This injury causes the brain to collide with the skull on the opposite side of the head, so the victim suffers two brain injuries instead of one.
  • Open Head Injury: An open head injury involves a cracked or fractured skull as well as a brain injury. A penetrating brain injury is a serious open head injury in which an object penetrates the skull. These injuries may require surgeries to relieve pressure on the skull from a swelling brain.
  • Acquired Brain Injury: An acquired brain injury (ABI) occurs from within the body. Examples of ABIs include anoxic and hypoxic injuries, in which the brain doesn’t receive enough blood or oxygen. This deficit can starve brain cells enough to permanently damage or kill them. However, dead brain cells cannot regenerate, resulting in lifelong effects.

Treatment for Traumatic Brain Injuries 

Most people who have had a significant brain injury will require rehabilitation. They may need to relearn basic skills such as walking or talking. The goal is to improve their abilities to perform daily activities.

Therapy usually begins in the hospital and continues at an inpatient rehabilitation unit, a residential treatment facility or through outpatient services. The type and duration of rehabilitation is different for everyone, depending on the severity of the brain injury and what part of the brain was injured.

Rehabilitation may include:

  • Physical Therapy
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Recreational Therapy
  • Neuropsychologist

Representation for Traumatic Brain Injuries

If you’ve suffered a TBI in an automobile collision caused by another driver’s negligence, you are entitled to compensation. Maginnis Law’s lead personal injury attorney, T. Shawn Howard has experience handling complex cases involving victims who have suffered traumatic brain injuries.

We handle personal injury cases on a contingency basis. This means that you do not pay any attorneys’ fee unless and until we make a recovery on your behalf. You can contact us at (919) 526-0450 or through our contact page.