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Accident-related Traumatic Brain Injuries: Causes, Types, and Recovery

Traumatic brain injury

The brain is a very delicate and vital component of the human body. A severe blow or violent shaking of the head can result in long-term damage. This is medically known as traumatic brain injury (TBI) and is caused by damage to brain tissue.

Traffic collisions are among the leading causes of TBIs. These include:

  • Contact with the steering wheel or windshield in a head-on collision
  • Side impact of a T-bone crash
  • Jerking of the neck or contact with a headrest during a rear-end collision
  • Blows to the head during a rollover
  • Struck by a car while walking or cycling

Traumatic brain injury types

There are generally two types of TBIs: closed head and open head.

Closed head TBIs occur when the brain sloshes around or collides with the inner surface of the skull. As a result:

  • Brain tissue may become bruised
  • Blood vessels can tear
  • Blood clots can form and put pressure on the brain (hematoma)
  • Bleeding may occur within the brain and skull (hemorrhage)
  • Swelling may occur within the brain (edema)
  • Neuronal axons, which link the brain to the body and various brain cells together, can become damaged
  • Frontal and temporal lobes can be damaged

Most closed head TBIs are classified as diffuse brain injuries. This means that the blunt-force impact can damage a widespread area, not just the point of contact.

Open head TBIs occur when a vehicle part or other object pierces the skull. These TBIs often result in focal brain injuries. Unlike diffuse brain injuries, they tend to only affect tissue in one specific area of the brain. Open head TBIs can result in diffuse brain injuries and can be fatal.

A mild TBI (mTBI) may occur in a collision and cause temporary complications similar to a concussion. While the impact and injury symptoms may be generally mild, a mTBI can still disrupt someone's ability to function normally, perform daily tasks, or attend work. This may be due to poor memory or concentration, mood changes, dizziness, and sensory complications.

How long is the recovery process?

People who sustain TBIs, such as concussions, may experience loss of consciousness, confusion, blurred vision, dizziness, loss of memory, nausea, and vomiting. According to theĀ Mayo Clinic, concussion symptoms can appear within the first seven to 10 days. Recovery periods can vary greatly from patient to patient, and can take months or years; many patients never completely recover.

Some severe TBIs may result in permanent brain damage that can affect cognitive, physical, and motor functioning. Patients may partially recover from a severe TBI, but may still never be able to function the same as they did prior to their injury.

Recovery from a TBI can take months, sometimes years. According to, the lifetime cost of medical treatment for a TBI is $85,000 to $3 million per individual. To make matters, worse, the unemployment rate among people with TBIs was 60 percent in 2015.

People with TBIs are faced with skyrocketing medical bills, wage loss, pain, and suffering. If you or a loved one sustained a TBI or concussion in a crash, you need an experienced legal team that can help you recover all damages you're entitled to. The New Hampshire car accident attorneys atĀ Burns, Bryant, Cox, Rockefeller & Durkin, P.A. can help. Contact us online today or call us at 1-800-371-3228.

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