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Understanding a TBI following a car crash

Our head, specifically our brain, is a vital organ. Thus, when this organ is harmed or impacted in an accident, this can significantly impact a victim. Even when a head injury seems minor on the outside, what happens on the inside could be traumatic. Therefore, it is important to understand what happens to the brain in the event of a car accident, and how accident victims could take steps to recover compensation for this and other injuries.

A traumatic brain injury, or a TBI, is when there is damage to the brain as a result of external physical force, much like that caused in a car accident. This type of brain injury is not caused by something internal or due to prolonged lack of oxygen. While it is a result of an external blow or penetration into the brain, it is possible to suffer a TBI without ever losing consciousness.

When external force causes damage to the brain, at least one of three factors must be present. This includes a documented loss of consciousness, the inability to recall the actual traumatic event or suffering a skull fracture, post-traumatic seizure or an abnormal brain scan.

While there are various causes of TBIs, with regards to automobile collisions, this is the second most common cause. The leading cause is falls, occurring in roughly 35 percent of TBIs. This is followed by car crashes at 17 percent. A brain injury can be closed or open. It is closed when the damage to the brain is caused by a blow to the head or a jarring motion to the head. On the other hand, an open injury occurs when there is penetration to the brain. This injury is likely to be localized, causing damage to a specific area of the brain. Nonetheless, open head injuries are likely to be just as severe as closed head injuries.

Suffering any type of injury in a car accident can be life impacting. A head trauma can significantly affect a victim's ability to live their life, as they require much medical treatment or the damage is irreversible. Thus, if a negligent party caused the accident that resulted in a TBI, it is important to consider your options, such as filing a personal injury action. Brain injury cases are extremely complex. Our Redlands car accident lawyers can help guide clients navigate these cases.

Source:, "Understanding TBI: Part 1 - What happens to the brain during injury and the early stages of recovery from TBI?" Thomas Novack and Tamara Bushnik, accessed April 15, 2018

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