What Types of Brain Injuries Are Common in Car Accidents?

Brain injuries are among the most common types of car accident injuries. There are numerous types of traumatic brain injuries, or TBIs, ranging in severity from mild to life-threatening. TBIs are often caused by a sudden jolt or blow to the head during a collision. The same impact that causes whiplash, when the head and neck are jerked violently back and forth upon impact, can also cause TBIs.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the most frequent types of brain injuries that car accident victims suffer.  


Concussions can occur due to direct physical trauma in a motor vehicle accident or swift acceleration and deceleration of the head during a collision. While concussions could be mild, doctors take them seriously, and so should patients. Failure to take a break from physical activity can lead to a second concussion before the patient’s first concussion has had adequate time to heal, significantly increasing a person’s risk of serious brain swelling and death.

The most common symptoms of a concussion include a temporary loss of consciousness, headache, nausea, vomiting, confusion, lack of coordination, dizziness, and fatigue. The signs of a concussion may be delayed, appearing hours or even days after a car accident.  


A brain contusion is a bruise on the brain that develops after the head is subjected to physical trauma. Contusions frequently accompany concussions. Contusions can cause cognitive difficulties, numbness and tingling, and difficulty speaking, among other symptoms. While many contusions heal without medical intervention, some can be life-threatening. If a contusion leads to serious complications such as bleeding on the brain, it may need to be surgically treated. 


A hematoma can form when blood clots or collects outside of blood vessels in the brain. As blood begins to pool, it can place pressure on the brain, leading to a loss of consciousness and, in severe cases, brain damage. Two common hematomas are epidural hematomas, which occur between the skull and the dura mater, the brain’s outermost protective layer, and subdural hematomas, which occur beneath the dura mater. While small hematomas that don’t cause symptoms may not need to be removed, surgery is often required when symptoms are present. 

Coup-Contrecoup Injuries

Coup-contrecoup brain injuries occur at both the site of impact and on the opposite side of the brain. Sometimes, blunt force trauma to the brain is so forceful that it knocks the brain against the opposite side of the skull, leaving contusions on both sides of the brain. Possible symptoms include dizziness, severe headache, loss of consciousness, memory loss, vision problems, and difficulty concentrating. Severe coup-contrecoup brain injuries may lead to permanent brain damage and even death if left untreated.  

Penetrating Head Injuries

While many TBIs occur due to blunt force trauma, some are due to an object penetrating the brain. If the object penetrates the brain, serious damage or death could occur. Many people who survive penetrating injuries suffer irreversible brain damage. These injuries require emergency medical treatment.  

Diffuse Axonal Injuries

A diffuse axonal injury (DAI) type of TBI occurs due to blunt force trauma. When the brain shifts rapidly inside the skull, connecting nerve fibers in the brain, known as axons, may tear. DAIs can affect multiple areas in the brain and may lead to coma. Tragically, many patients with DAIs never regain consciousness.

Contact Us for Help

If you sustained a brain injury in a car accident caused by someone else, contact Virginia Beach car accident attorney Mike Deering immediately. Mike has a long track record of helping car accident victims seek full and fair compensation for TBIs and other injuries. Contact Deering Hedrick today at 757-383-6848 for a confidential consultation today.


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