Brain Injuries From Car Accidents

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Brain Injuries From Car Accidents

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 17.3% of traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are caused by motor vehicle accidents – second only to falls. Depending on the type and severity of the TBI, the symptoms of a brain injury may not become apparent until weeks or months after the initial car accident.

If you suffered traumatic brain injuries caused by the negligence of another party, contact a brain injury lawyer at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. We can gather the evidence needed to help ensure you obtain fair compensation.

brain injury from car accident

Types of Traumatic Brain Injuries

Two kinds of TBIs are penetrating injuries and closed-head injuries. A car accident can cause either of these injury types.

A penetrating head injury occurs when a foreign object physically enters the skull; a closed-head injury involves a blunt-forced blow to the skull or any other force being applied to the brain.

You do not necessarily need to hit your head to suffer a brain injury. For example, in a rear-end collision, your head could be thrown forward and thrown back, causing your brain to collide with the inside of the skull, causing a TBI.

Primary & Secondary Damage

Primary brain damage is acquired at the time of the accident. This might include a skull fracture, laceration, nerve damage, or bruising of the brain.

A secondary brain injury is usually not evident at the time of the accident and can evolve after the brain suffers primary damage. Secondary damage includes:

  • Hematoma
  • Swelling of the Brain (Edema)
  • Low Blood Pressure
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Anemia
  • Epilepsy
  • Infection (Intracranial)
  • Fever

Other problems one might experience include difficulty with attention and concentration, migraine headaches, nausea, blurry vision, loss of smell, loss of tastes, difficulty balancing, and fatigue.

Many people who have had a significant brain injury will experience memory loss, changes in cognitive skills, permanent ear damage (such as ringing in the ears), or hearing loss.

Types of Brain Injuries Caused By Car Accidents

types of brain injuries from car accidents

The severity of a brain injury can range from a mild concussion to a severe injury that results in coma or even death. Some of the most common TBI car accident victims suffer from include:


A concussion is usually caused by an impact on the head or sudden and violent movement. Although a concussion is considered a mild traumatic brain injury, it can cause substantial damage to the cranial nerves. It can take months or years to heal or even result in permanent problems.


A contusion is a bruise on the brain. A contusion occurs when the brain is injured by a blow to the head or by being shaken.

A contusion can be small, involving only a few cells, or large, involving many different areas of the brain. It is a severe brain injury that causes bleeding and swelling inside the skull, leading to serious and long-term damage.

Coup-Contrecoup Contusion

A coup-contrecoup contusion is a type of brain injury in which the brain collides with the skull and then rebounds and hits the opposite side of the skull. The force could cause the brain to crash the inside of the skull even if there was no blow to the head.

Diffuse Axonal Injury

A diffuse axonal injury (DAI) is a type of brain injury that occurs when the brain is shaken violently. Violent or rapid movement causes the skull to move faster than the brain, and nerves and other brain tissue can be torn. Whiplash can cause this type of brain injury.

Anoxic Brain Injury

An anoxic brain injury occurs when the brain is deprived of oxygen, causing brain cells to die off rapidly. This can happen if the heart stops beating or the lungs stop working.

Anoxic brain injury victims can often experience brain damage when oxygen deprivation lasts for as little as 30 seconds. After two minutes, there is almost a certainty that brain damage will occur. If oxygen deprivation lasts for four minutes or longer, that will usually be fatal.

Acquired Brain Injuries

Acquired brain injuries are injuries not caused by the traumatic force of the accident. They can result from blood loss, lung and rib damage, chest complications, or throat injuries that often lead to conditions directly affecting the brain. Acquired brain injuries are easily noticeable when you seek medical treatment.

Second Impact Syndrome

Second impact syndrome can occur when someone who already has a brain injury suffers another head injury. This is typically far more damaging than the original injury and can often result in permanent disability or death.

When to Seek Treatment for a Brain Injury

seeking treatment for a brain injury

If you or someone you know has been in a car accident, it is important to be aware of the potential for brain injuries. Symptoms of a brain injury may not appear immediately after the accident.

If you experience any of the following symptoms, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Confusion
  • Memory problems
  • Problems with vision or hearing
  • Sleep problems
  • Mood swings

Treatment for a brain injury will vary depending on the severity of the injury. In some cases, rest and pain medication may be all that is needed. More severe brain injuries may require hospitalization and surgery.

Auto Accidents & Headrests

A study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Association revealed that headrests (also called head restraints) are an effective way to minimize whiplash during a car accident. Although headrests can effectively prevent some injuries, a head restraint will not always prevent a TBI.

Why You Should Hire Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata, & Siegel, P.C. for Your Case

Suffering from a traumatic brain injury is no easy feat. While many people may recover from a TBI within a few weeks or months, some people experience permanent brain injury or even death. If you or a loved one has suffered a brain injury after a car accident, you deserve compensation for your injuries.

The Washington, D.C. car accident lawyers with Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. have a proven track record of success in helping clients obtain the maximum compensation possible for injuries they have suffered due to the negligence of others.

Our firm has consistently demonstrated we have the expertise needed to help our clients see that justice is served. We have the resources needed to conduct thorough investigations of all the circumstances contributing to a motor vehicle accident, gathering the evidence to establish negligence and other types of liability.

Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. has obtained more than $500 million in verdicts and settlements, and our attorneys have more than a century of combined legal experience. Two of our partners are certified by the National Board of Trial Advocacy.

Our firm has also earned the highest AV® Rating from Martindale-Hubbell®, one of the most respected attorney-ranking service organizations in the United States. Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. attorneys work passionately on behalf of our clients to help them secure fair compensation – there is no type of case that is too complex for us to litigate.

brain injury accident washington dc

Work With Our Team for Strong Legal Guidance After a Car Accident

If you are looking for the highest level of representation available for your personal injury case, turn to Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. Our firm has helped clients recover more than $500 million in compensation, and we have more than 100 years of combined experience.

All of our partners are recognized by Washington, D.C. Super Lawyers®, and our firm includes three past presidents of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, D.C.

We work to help our clients obtain fair settlement offers to compensate them for the injuries they’ve suffered, but our attorneys are extremely well-equipped to go to trial if needed. Call (202) 659-8600  or contact us online to get the proven legal representation you deserve.

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