A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a head injury typically caused by a forceful jolt or hard blow to the head. The force of impact moves the brain violently around the skull, causing the organ to bounce off the sides and bruise, bleed, or tear. Symptoms of a TBI can be mild, moderate, or severe, depending on the extent of the damage to the brain.
Causes of TBIs
TBIs are frequently present in survivors of severe traffic accidents. However, they can also result from collisions with objects, slips and falls, and high-contact sports. The following accidents frequently result in a traumatic brain injury:
Motorcycle crashes: These accidents are notorious for causing TBIs. A motorcycle’s small size, instability, and lack of enclosure contribute to the rider’s increased risk of severe injury or death.
Car accidents: Motor vehicle crashes are responsible for approximately 14 percent of all TBI cases in the US and are the leading cause of TBI-related deaths in young adults and children.
Pedestrian-auto accidents: Like motorcyclists, pedestrians and bicyclists are at higher risk of TBIs if they are struck by a vehicle. While riding, wearing a helmet can protect the head from serious injury or prevent an injury.
Workplace accidents: Particularly at construction sites or manufacturing plants, workplace accidents are another common cause of TBIs. Those working around heavy machinery or at great heights should wear proper protective gear, such as helmets and harnesses, to mitigate the risk of falling or hitting their head.
Tire blowouts: Although the tires on any vehicle can fail, this problem is especially common on commercial trucks. The consequences of a tire blowout on a heavy tractor-trailer can be much more dangerous than on a smaller vehicle, leading to more severe injuries.
Types of traumatic brain injuries
Traumatic brain injuries fall into open head injuries and closed head injuries. Open head injuries are where the skull is fractured, the brain is exposed to the air, and in some cases, a foreign object pierces the brain tissue. In a traffic accident, skull fragments or pieces of shattered glass may puncture the brain, causing bleeding, tissue damage, and potential bacterial infection. Whereas closed head injuries are when the brain ricochets around the skull due to strong external force, and the uneven surface of the skull can bruise, puncture, or tear the brain tissue. Closed head injuries occur more frequently than open head injuries.
These injuries can take form in several ways, including concussion, contusions, hematoma, or hemorrhage.
According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders, approximately half of severely head-injured patients will need surgery to remove or repair hematomas or contusions. Disabilities resulting from a TBI depend upon the severity of the injury, the location of the injury, and the age and general health of the individual. Some common disabilities include problems with cognition, sensory processing, communication, and behavior or mental health.
Signs and symptoms
The brain plays a vital role in all bodily functions, with different parts responsible for various functions. As such, the signs and symptoms of a TBI will vary depending on its severity, type of damage, and location.
See a doctor immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms after an accident:
- Persistent headaches
- Loss of consciousness
- Memory loss
- Persistent difficulty concentrating
- Disorientation or confusion
- Blurred vision
- Impaired speech
- Dizziness, vertigo, or trouble balancing
- Sleep disruption
- Changes in emotional patterns, such as depression, irritability, or sudden personality changes
After suffering from injuries resulting from an accident, it is advisable not to contact your insurance company without first speaking to a brain injury lawyer. A good attorney will help position you for the most favorable outcome, negotiating with the insurance company for the maximum compensation on your behalf.