| Read Time: 4 minutes | Personal Injury
car accident brain injury

Thousands of car accidents happen across the U.S. every day. While most are minor collisions, some have devastating results that can change your life forever, especially when the car accident involves a brain injury. 

Brain Injury from Car Accident

When an accident occurs, drivers and passengers traveling at high speeds can suffer head trauma when the vehicle suddenly stops or changes direction. This sudden impact or force may result in various brain injuries, which can range from a mild concussion to traumatic brain injury (TBI) or even death. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), unintentional motor vehicle crashes account for approximately 17% of all TBI-related deaths. 

Types of Brain Injuries from Car Accidents

The type of brain injury you suffer will determine the symptoms you experience and the overall effect on your life. Below, we discuss four of the most common types of brain injuries from car accidents in order of severity.


A concussion is typically a mild brain injury that occurs when you suffer a blow to your head, resulting in some degree of confusion, dizziness, and other symptoms. Nearly any impact with another vehicle or stationary object can cause your head to hit something inside the car, such as the steering wheel or dashboard. 

If you’ve sustained a concussion, then you may experience symptoms like:

  • Headache or migraine,
  • Nausea,
  • Balance issues, and
  • Ringing in the ears.

Telling your doctor whether you lost consciousness is vital to ensuring you receive the proper treatment. It’s important that your medical records accurately reflect all your symptoms both for your own well-being and to strengthen your compensation claim. If you don’t document all your injuries and symptoms, you might not be fully compensated for your injuries.

Traumatic Brain Injury

traumatic brain injury (TBI) happens when a force or impact damages the brain. TBIs vary in level of severity. For example, mild TBIs, such as concussions, cause temporary symptoms, while more serious TBIs can result in life-long, debilitating damage or even death.

Symptoms that might point to a moderate-to-severe TBI rather than a concussion include:

  • Speech issues similar to those that affect intoxicated people;
  • Mental confusion, disorientation, and drowsiness;
  • Severe headaches;
  • Loss of consciousness lasting for anywhere from a couple of seconds to a few minutes;
  • Mood swings, paranoia, anxiety, and depression;
  • Nausea;
  • Vomiting; and
  • The inability to wake up.

The difference between a concussion and a TBI can be difficult to discern. Put simply, a concussion is a mild TBI. The bottom line is that both injuries require immediate medical attention.

Skull Fracture

If the blow to your head is hard enough, your skull may fracture or break. You can suffer a skull fracture in a car accident whenever you hit your head, either inside the vehicle or outside the car if you are thrown through the windshield. Symptoms of skull fractures include bleeding from the ears and nose, bruising, and swelling at the site of the blow.

Acquired Brain Injury

Another common brain injury to be aware of is an acquired brain injury, also called a secondary brain injury. This type of injury is unique because an acquired brain injury can occur without any impact to your head. 

Any car accident that restricts oxygen or blood flow to your brain can cause an acquired brain injury. For example, if you were hurt so badly in a crash that you stopped breathing for several minutes before being revived, you might suffer an acquired brain injury due to a lack of oxygen.

Brain Bleed From Car Accident

While the injuries above are the most common brain injuries, the list is not exhaustive. Victims should be aware that a car accident can also cause other serious injuries. A brain bleed, for example, is a less common brain injury but can cause permanent damage or death. 

brain bleed from car accident occurs when trauma to the head causes blood vessels to rupture and blood to be released. The excess blood puts life-threatening pressure on the victim’s brain. Symptoms of a brain bleed might not appear immediately, creating a false impression that the person is not injured. Although not a technical term, this situation is commonly known as “talk and die syndrome.” This is a tragic situation that occurs when a motor vehicle crash victim and observers never fully realize the crash victim has suffered a brain injury until it’s too late. That’s why it’s vital that you receive medical care after being in a car accident, even if you don’t think you’ve been injured. 

Brain Swelling After Car Accident

It is also important to point out the potential harm brain swelling can cause after a car accident. Swelling can occur throughout our body and is the body’s response to many different types of injury. The initial trauma of a car accident can cause the brain to swell when the brain is injured. 

Brain swelling is another silent killer that often overcomes the victim before they know it’s happening, which is why close monitoring of a head trauma victim is essential for at least 24 hours after their injury occurs. 

Brain Injury From Car Accident Symptoms

Throughout this blog, we’ve identified many symptoms related to head injuries. Many are apparent, but some can hide and have serious, or even deadly, consequences. When it comes to brain injury symptoms, the symptoms you experience will depend on the severity of your head injury. Certain symptoms might help you identify a mild versus a more severe head injury. Any of the following signs or symptoms may indicate a serious head injury:

  • Severe head or facial bleeding,
  • Bleeding or fluid leakage from the nose or ears,
  • Vomiting,
  • Severe headache,
  • Change in consciousness for more than a few seconds,
  • Black-and-blue discoloration below the eyes or behind the ears,
  • Not breathing,
  • Confusion,
  • Agitation,
  • Loss of balance,
  • Weakness or an inability to use an arm or leg,
  • Unequal pupil size,
  • Slurred speech, and
  • Seizures.

These are just some, but not all, of the possible brain injury from car accident symptoms. Every person and injury is different. If you were in a car accident, tell your doctor about any head-related pain or trauma so that they can thoroughly evaluate you. 

Contact a Los Angeles Brain Injury Lawyer at Peerali Law

Did you or a loved one suffer a car accident brain injury? Then you want the best Los Angeles brain injury lawyer on your side. The attorneys at Peerali Law are experienced car accident lawyers who will help get you the compensation you deserve for your brain injury. Our team focuses exclusively on personal injury cases, and we are dedicated to helping our clients get the compensation they need to recover from their injuries. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation to learn more about how we can help you.

Author Photo

Kristopher earned his J.D. at the University of Southern California Gould School of Law where he was a member of the Review of Law and Social Justice honors law journal and was awarded several scholastic honors.

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