There are many types of injuries that you can sustain when you are involved in a car accident. A car accident, even ones which are considered minor accidents like a fender bender, can cause a significant impact on the vehicle that you’re driving resulting in different kinds of injuries with different severities. Vehicular accident injuries can range from a minor case of muscle pain because of your seat belt to traumatic brain injury.
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a term used to refer to damage to the brain caused by external physical force. A brain injury caused by something internal like a stroke or a tumor is not considered as TBI. Although traumatic brain injury can be caused by any blow to the head, like falling down a flight of stairs and hitting your skull, one of the most common causes of it is vehicular accidents.
After a car accident, we usually check for any bleeding and wounds that are easy to see, however, you can still be suffering TBI even without any wounds in your head. You should always seek medical attention even if there are no visible wounds, especially if you are experiencing headaches after a car accident since this is the most common symptom of TBI.
The following are traumatic brain injuries that you can suffer after a car accident:
1. Concussion. – The most common type of traumatic brain injury. A concussion can affect your brain functions, and these effects are usually temporary. Headaches, problems with concentration, memory, balance, and coordination are the usual symptoms of a concussion. You may also suffer a temporary loss of consciousness. If you present with the following severe symptoms, you must seek immediate medical attention: repeated vomiting, slurred speech, worsening headaches, seizures, recurring/worsening dizziness, and severe disorientation or confusion.
2. Contusion. – A contusion is bleeding on a localized part of your brain. This type of traumatic brain injury may require surgery to fix the bleeding because the bleed may cause blood clot formation in your brain which can be lethal.
3. Diffuse axonal. – Tears in the brain structure cause this type of traumatic brain injury. These tears are caused by the shaking or strong rotation of the head; because the brain is not moving it doesn’t follow the movement of the skull caused by the impact of a car accident, causing the brain structures to stretch and eventually tear. The disturbance caused by these tears can lead to temporary or permanent widespread brain damage, even coma or death.
4. Penetration injuries. – As the name of this type of traumatic brain injury implies, it is caused by foreign objects breaking through the skull and entering the brain cavity. Broken glass from the windshield and other projectiles caused by a vehicular accident is the primary cause of this type of TBI. When a person has sustained this type of TBI, surgery is most likely needed.
TBI can lead to severe complications if not treated immediately. Because TBI involves the brain, your consciousness can be altered in permanent ways which include coma, vegetative state, minimally conscious state, or even brain death. Physical manifestations of a severe TBI include seizures, fluid buildup in the brain, infections, blood vessel damage, headaches, and vertigo.
The best thing to do after an accident is to seek medical attention. Be as detailed as possible when talking to first responders and try not to move too much, especially when you feel that there’s something that is not right. When you get to the hospital, make sure that you mention all the pain or symptoms that you are experiencing to your doctor. Do not resist if they tell you to undergo tests and follow all of their orders.
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