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Can a Car Accident Cause Brain Injury?

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February 13, 2024 Car Accidents

Did you know that millions of Americans are living with the long-term effects of a brain injury? Unfortunately, many of these people were left partially or totally disabled as a result of preventable car accidents.

Yes, a car accident can be a devastating and life-changing event, and brain injuries are one of the most severe consequences of these accidents. Victims of car crashes may have debilitating lifelong handicaps as a result of someone else’s negligent act or carelessness on the road. When this happens, however, people diagnosed with a brain injury may be entitled to compensation for their financial losses and all the negative impacts of the injury on their lives.

Understandably, no amount of money can undo what happened to you, nor can it truly compensate you for everything you are going through. However, it can still make your life a little easier and eliminate many financial burdens you face.

Always discuss your legal options with a car accident attorney as soon as you receive a diagnosis of injuries.

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Types of Car Accidents Causes Brain Injuries

Can a Car Accident Cause Brain Injury

Motor vehicle accidents are among the most common causes of brain injuries in the United States. However, not all car crashes result in brain injuries, and contrary to popular belief, a vehicle occupant does not necessarily need to hit their head to suffer injuries to the brain. People are more likely to be hospitalized with a brain injury after the following types of car accidents:

  • Head-on collisions. Head-on collisions are some of the deadliest types of accidents on the road. These accidents happen when two vehicles collide from the front, leading to a devastating impact. The impact may cause the brain to move back and forth violently or cause the brain to hit the sides of the skull, leading to brain damage. In severe cases, the victim can suffer a penetrating injury where a foreign object breaks through the skull and pierces the brain.
  • Side-impact crashes. Also known as T-bone crashes, these accidents occur when a vehicle crashes into the side of another vehicle. This type of accident is particularly dangerous because the side of the car may not provide adequate protection to the vehicle’s occupants. As a result, this type of crash can result in severe brain injuries, such as a skull fracture or bleeding in the brain.
  • Rear-end collisions. Rear-end collisions occur when a vehicle crashes into another vehicle from behind. This type of accident can cause any degree of brain injury, depending on the force of impact. In rear-end collisions, the occupants in the car struck from behind may suffer a brain injury even if they didn’t hit their head, as damage may occur as a result of the brain shifting forcefully inside the skull.
  • Rollover accidents. Rollover accidents often occur when a driver loses control of their car, and the vehicle rolls over onto its side or roof. This type of accident can lead to multiple impacts on the head, leading to a traumatic brain injury. In severe cases, the brain may hit the side of the skull multiple times, resulting in life-threatening brain damage.
  • Chain-reaction crashes. Chain-reaction accidents occur when multiple cars collide with one another, resulting in a pile-up of vehicles. These accidents can lead to severe brain injuries, particularly when there are multiple impacts from different angles. In such cases, the damage to the brain can be more severe as compared to other types of accidents due to multiple or repeated head impacts.

Obviously, any type of car crash can result in injuries to the head depending on the force of impact and how badly the person hits their head. However, the accidents mentioned above are responsible for a large percentage of brain injuries among vehicle occupants. An experienced car accident lawyer can assess your situation and determine who should be liable for your brain injury.

Common Types of Brain Injuries Associated with Car Accidents

Common Types of Brain Injuries Associated with Car Accidents

Thousands of people involved in car accidents suffer brain injuries due to the forces involved in the crash. Some types of brain injuries may occur when the victim hits their head, while others happen when the brain moves violently and strikes the inner walls of the skull. Below is an overview of some of the most common types of brain injuries associated with car crashes:

  • Concussion. A concussion is one of the most commonly recognized types of brain injury following a car crash. A driver or passenger in the car may suffer a concussion as a result of a blow to the head or a jolt that causes the brain to move inside the skull.
  • Contusion. Contusions, caused by bleeding in the brain, are another common type of brain injury suffered by victims of car accidents. A blow to the head usually causes these injuries and can range in severity from minor to severe.
  • Penetrating brain injury. A penetrating brain injury occurs when a foreign object, such as broken window glass, pierces the skull and damages the brain. This is one of the deadliest types of brain injuries a person can suffer.
  • Diffuse axonal injury (DAI). A diffuse axonal injury occurs when the brain is subject to a strong rotational force, which can cause damage to its neural fibers, known as axons. In the worst-case scenario, a DAI can lead to a coma.
  • Coup-contrecoup injury. A coup-contrecoup injury is where the brain experiences injury on both sides of the brain. It occurs when the head is struck, causing the brain to move forcefully in one direction and then back the other way.
  • Skull fracture. As the name implies, this type of brain injury occurs when the skull is fractured. Skull fractures may occur in conjunction with other types of brain injury and require immediate medical attention.
  • Intracranial hemorrhages (ICH). Intracranial hemorrhages occur when there is bleeding inside the skull. This can result in a life-threatening stroke when the brain gets deprived of oxygen and blood supply.
  • Hematoma. A hematoma is a blood clot that forms in the brain. If left untreated, those clots can put pressure on the brain and compress the brain, worsening the damage over time.

If you suspect you might have suffered a brain injury in a car crash, seek immediate medical attention. This is true even if you do not notice any symptoms that can indicate a brain injury, as symptoms may not surface for days, weeks, or possibly even months after the accident. Regardless of what kind of brain injury you were diagnosed with, you may deserve financial compensation for your resulting damages and losses. Consult a car accident lawyer as soon as you can.

Compensation for Victims of Car Accidents with Brain Injuries

When pursuing compensation for a brain injury after an automobile accident, the injured victim is usually entitled to both economic and non-economic damages. While economic damages (e.g., medical expenses and loss of income) are relatively easy to quantify, non-economic damages (e.g., emotional distress, pain, and suffering) do not have a clear monetary value. That is why determining fair and reasonable compensation in brain injury cases may require the assistance of a car accident attorney.

When a person suffers a brain injury, they may demand compensation for the following expenses and losses:

  • Medical bills. The first and probably most obvious expense that comes with a brain injury is medical bills. Depending on the severity of the injury, medical bills can pile up quickly. Compensation for medical bills can help the injured victim afford the costly medical treatment for months, years, or possibly for the rest of their life.
  • Loss of earnings from the date of the crash to the settlement date. When you sustain a brain injury, there is a high likelihood that you will not return to work for some time, if at all. As a result, you will lose income. The compensation you receive should cover the loss of earnings from the date of the accident to the present date.
  • Loss of future earnings. If your brain injury is likely to diminish your earning capacity in the future, you can demand compensation for the loss of future earnings. The compensation should cover the income you could have earned throughout your life if the accident had not occurred.
  • Pain and suffering. If you have suffered a brain injury, the road to recovery can be both physically and emotionally painful. The compensation you seek must account for that pain and suffering as well as the emotional distress associated with your injury and reduced quality of life.
  • Travel expenses. Another important aspect of compensation is travel expenses. Most certainly, you will need to visit a doctor regularly or make trips to the hospital to see a specialist or undergo treatment. These trips will cost you money, so the compensation you ask for should cover those expenses.
  • Cost of special equipment and adjustment to the home. Your compensation should also include the cost of special aids, equipment, and home adjustments you might need after the accident. For instance, if you require a wheelchair due to the effects of the brain injury, it means you have to buy or lease one, which can be expensive.

Given the severity of a brain injury and its significant impact on many aspects of the victim’s life, multi-million-dollar settlements and verdicts are not uncommon in cases involving TBIs and head trauma.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Brain Injuries After Car Accidents

When you or someone you love has been involved in a car accident and suffered a brain injury, you may have dozens of questions but very few answers. We decided to put together this FAQ section to address some of the questions a person may have when dealing with injuries to the brain:

How do I claim compensation for my brain injury?

If the car accident was not your fault, you should obtain compensation for the expenses and losses associated with your brain injury through the at-fault party’s liability insurance coverage. This will require you to file a claim and deal with the other party’s insurance company, which in and of itself can be a daunting task. You might want to get the assistance of an experienced attorney when navigating the insurance claims process to ensure that you get the full compensation to which you are entitled.

Note: Colorado is an at-fault insurance state where all motorists are legally required to carry liability insurance.

Can I sue for my brain injury after a car accident?

Yes, you can sue for your brain injury after a car accident, but only if the accident was not your fault. If another party’s negligence or recklessness caused the accident, you may file a lawsuit against them to recover damages. However, obtaining compensation through litigation can be costly and time-consuming, so you always want to discuss your best course of action with a lawyer before filing a lawsuit.

What elements will I need to prove in my brain injury case?

When seeking compensation for a brain injury after a car accident, you need to prove that the other party’s negligence was a direct or proximate cause of your injury. Negligence means that a person fails to act reasonably under the circumstances. You can demonstrate negligence by proving four elements: (1) duty of care, (2) breach of duty, (3) causation, and (4) damages.

How is it possible to prove the impact of a brain injury on my life?

Proving the impact of a brain injury can be challenging but possible if you have a skilled lawyer on your side. No words or records of medical treatment can truly describe what you are going through. Your lawyer will gather the necessary evidence, including medical expert testimony, that proves the extent of your brain injury and its impacts on many aspects of your life, including occupational, cognitive, emotional, and social impacts.

Do I need a lawyer after a car accident that resulted in a brain injury?

Keith Fuicelli

Keith Fuicelli, Longmont Car Accident Attorney

It is always recommended to work with a knowledgeable car accident lawyer. Brain injury cases can be complex and require a very specific knowledge of the law, understanding of these complex injuries, and attention to detail. Your lawyer will collect evidence and prepare compelling arguments to advocate for your rights and maximize your compensation through an insurance claim or litigation.

Reach out a experienced Longmont personal injury lawyer for legal help and guidance in your case.