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Traumatic Brain Injuries After A Car Accident

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Historically, traumatic brain injuries were not taken nearly as seriously as they are now. With modern medical technology, however, we can better understand and diagnose brain injuries than in the past.

Car accidents are a significant cause of traumatic brain injuries, although falls and firearm-related suicide are the two leading causes. Overall, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were over 64,000 TBI-related deaths in the United States in 2020.

Woman holding head What Is a Traumatic Brain Injury?

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a type of damage to the brain that occurs due to a sudden, external force. This could be from a blow to the head, penetration of the skull by an object, or exposure to blunt force trauma.

The severity of a TBI can range from “mild” (also called a concussion) to “severe,” which can result in long-term disability or even death.

Types of Traumatic Brain Injuries

There are several different traumatic brain injuries. Some of the most common are listed below, but whether or not yours is included in this list, contact us immediately to schedule your free consultation.


A concussion is a form of TBI caused by a blow or jolt to the head. Concussions can cause many symptoms, including but not limited to:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Blurry vision
  • Sensitivity to light or sound
  • Irritability
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Difficulty concentrating or remembering
  • Anxiety or depression

Concussions range from “mild” to “severe,” and most people who suffer from a concussion will recover within a few weeks. However, some people may experience symptoms for months or even years after the initial injury.


A contusion is a bruise on the brain. It happens when blood vessels are damaged, and bleeding occurs in the brain tissue.

Symptoms of a contusion may include:

  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Blurry vision
  • Sensitivity to light or sound
  • Irritability
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Difficulty concentrating or remembering
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Death

Recovery from a contusion can take weeks or months. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove the damaged tissue and relieve pressure on the brain.

Coup-Contrecoup Injury

A coup-contrecoup injury is a type of contusion in which there is damage on both sides of the brain. This can happen when the head hits an object and then snaps back, causing the brain to hit the opposite side of the skull.

Symptoms of a coup-contrecoup injury may include:

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Memory issues
  • Severe headaches
  • Blurred vision or other issues with sight
  • Sensitivity to light and sound

As with any suspected TBI, it is important to see a doctor as soon as possible after the injury occurs.

Diffuse Axonal Injury

A diffuse axonal injury (DAI) is a type of brain damage that occurs when the brain is shaken so violently that the nerve cells are torn. This can happen in a car accident when the head is thrown around, causing the brain to bounce off the inside of the skull.

Symptoms of a DAI may include:

  • Coma
  • Loss of consciousness (even if it’s only for a few seconds)
  • Drowsiness or fatigue
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Headache
  • Concentration and memory problems
  • Problems with coordination

Seeking Compensation For a TBI After a Car Accident

If you or a loved one has suffered a TBI in a car accident, you may be wondering how to pay for the medical expenses and other damages that have been caused. The good news is that you may be entitled to compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance company.

At Mountain States Injury Law, our experienced car accident attorneys have helped many people who have been injured in car accidents, and we can help you too. We will fight to get you the maximum compensation possible for your injuries, including medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.

Calculating Damages in a TBI Case

The compensation you may be entitled to will depend on several factors, including the severity of your injuries, the length of your recovery, and whether or not you can return to work. Compensatory damages in a personal injury case are divided into two categories: economic and non-economic.

Economic damages are those that have a specific monetary value, such as medical bills and lost wages. Non-economic damages are more difficult to calculate but may include things like pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life.

In some cases, the court may award punitive damages. Punitive damages are not meant to compensate the victim but rather to punish the at-fault party and deter future misconduct.

To be eligible for punitive damages, it must be shown that the at-fault party acted with malice, fraud, or gross negligence. These damages are awarded by a judge or jury at the end of a trial and will not be factored into settlement negotiations.

In general, the more severe the TBI, the higher the damages will be. For example, someone who suffered a mild TBI and made a full recovery may be awarded less in damages than someone who suffered a severe TBI and requires long-term care.

What To Do After Suffering a TBI In a Car Accident

If you or a loved one has suffered a TBI in a car accident, it is crucial to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Even if you don’t think you’re injured, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. From a medical point of view, this is the best way to limit the chances of a serious, long-term issue; from a legal perspective, this allows you to generate important, official documentation about the injury that will help your lawyer build a case.

After being seen by a doctor, you should contact an experienced attorney to discuss your legal options. The sooner you contact an attorney, the better, as there is a statute of limitations for personal injury claims. This means that you only have a certain amount of time to file a claim, so it’s important not to delay. Depending on the state your accident was in, this statute will vary.

Contact Mountain States Injury Law To Discuss Your Car Accident and TBI With an Experienced Attorney

At Mountain States Injury Law, we offer free consultations, so you can learn more about your legal rights and options without any obligation. To schedule yours, simply give us a call or contact us online today. During your consultation, we will be able to answer any questions you have, and if you decide to hire us, we will begin working on your case right away.

Don’t wait to get the help you need after suffering a TBI in a car accident. Contact Mountain States Injury Law today.

Dale G. Casares

Colorado, Idaho, and Montana
Personal Injury Attorney

Free Consultation

We won’t charge a fee until
your claim is settled.