Brain injuries are a relatively common type of injury in car accidents, and the severity of these injuries can range from mild concussions to severe traumatic brain injuries (TBI). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), motor vehicle accidents are the third leading cause of TBI-related emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and deaths in the United States.
The risk of a brain injury in a car accident depends on a variety of factors, including the speed of the vehicles involved, the location of impact, the use of seat belts and airbags, and the age and health of the occupants. The head can be jolted or hit during a car accident, causing the brain to move within the skull, leading to brain injury.
While mild traumatic brain injuries may resolve on their own with rest and time, more severe brain injuries can have long-lasting effects on cognitive and physical functioning and may require ongoing medical treatment and rehabilitation.
It’s important for anyone involved in a car accident to seek medical attention right away, even if they do not initially exhibit signs of a brain injury, as symptoms can take time to appear. Prompt medical attention can help identify and treat brain injuries early, potentially reducing the risk of long-term complications.
Various types of car accidents can cause brain injuries, but some of the most common include:
- Frontal Impact: In a frontal impact, the head and brain can be jolted or hit, causing the brain to move within the skull, and resulting in a brain injury. Airbags and seat belts can help to reduce the risk of injury, but they may not always prevent a brain injury.
- Rear-End Collision: A rear-end collision can cause a whiplash injury, where the head is rapidly and forcefully jerked forward and back, potentially leading to a brain injury. Whiplash injuries can occur even at relatively low speeds.
- Side-Impact Collision: In a side-impact collision, the head and brain can be jolted or struck, potentially leading to a brain injury. Side-impact collisions can be particularly dangerous because there is often less protection on the sides of the vehicle.
- Rollover Accidents: In a rollover accident, the head and brain can be struck by objects within the vehicle, or the brain can be jolted by the rolling motion of the vehicle.
- Pedestrian or Bicycle Accidents: Pedestrians and cyclists are at a higher risk of brain injuries in car accidents because they lack the protection of a vehicle.
It is important to note that not all car accidents result in brain injuries, and the severity of the injury can depend on a variety of factors, including the speed of the vehicles involved, the location of impact, the use of safety equipment, and the health and age of the occupants.