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Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)

Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)

Car accident victims can experience broken bones, neck pain from whiplash, and even spine injuries. Another common car wreck injury is a Traumatic brain injury (TBI), which can be serious if not treated immediately.

TBI is a broad term that describes when an object external to the body strikes the head, injuring the brain or if the brain impacts the interior of the skull do to a sudden impact. Mild TBI may temporarily affect the brain cells, but moderate to severe TBI sometimes results in long-term complications and even death.

Delayed symptoms are common, appearing days or even weeks later. Car accident doctors can help with medical treatment immediately following a car crash to prevent a mild head injury from becoming more severe.

Categories of Traumatic Brain Injuries

Categories of Traumatic Brain Injuries

TBIs fall into two main categories:

  1. Closed brain injuries do not go through the skull, but they can range from minor to deadly, causing anything from a mild concussion to a fractured skull.
  2. Open brain injuries, also known as penetrating brain injuries, occur when an object penetrates the skull and causes damage to the brain. These require emergency treatment. 

Many car accident injuries fall in the closed brain injury category, but doctors further characterize TBI as mild, moderate, or severe based on symptoms.

Primary vs. Secondary TBI

The standard classifications of TBI are primary and secondary injuries. The primary injury occurs at the point of impact and includes open and closed injuries.

Examples are:

  • Lacerations to brain tissue or blood vessels
  • Breaking or fracturing of the skull
  • Tearing of nerve fibers
  • Bruising and bleeding of the brain
  • Concussions

Secondary head injuries occur indirectly as a result of the initial trauma. Some common examples include:

  • Infection in the form of meningitis and abscess
  • Insufficient oxygen or blood supply to the brain
  • Swelling in the brain, known as edema
  • Changes to neurotransmitters and other biochemicals
  • Displacement of parts of the brain caused by increased pressure inside the skull
  • High carbon dioxide levels in the blood
  • Seizures
  • Low or high blood pressure levels

Car accidents often lead to secondary injuries because of untreated primary injuries. An auto injury doctor could potentially diagnose and treat a primary injury before more serious injuries develop.

Common Types of Car Accident Injuries to the Brain

Common Types of Car Accident Injuries to the Brain

TBIs from car accidents range from mild to severe, depending mainly on the accident’s severity. The most common types include:

  • ConcussionsA concussion occurs when the force of impact causes the brain to slam against the inside of the skull. For example, the impact during a collision could cause your head to hit the steering wheel or window, and the speed of both vehicles affects the force behind the collision. Therefore, a more forceful impact would result in a more severe concussion.
  • Diffuse axonal injuries. A DAI occurs when the violent movement of the brain inside the skull causes the stretching and tearing of nerve fibers, known as axons. This damages the brain’s ability to send signals and transmit information.
  • Contusions. A contusion is bruising on the brain, typically caused by a blow to the head. Contusions usually refer to a localized bruise at the point of impact, whereas a concussion is more widespread. 
  • Coup-contrecoups. The French terms “coup” and “contrecoup” refer to a “blow” and a “counterblow” respectively. A coup-contrecoup injury refers to two separate contusions caused by the same accident, but the coup is the contusions occurring at the point of impact. The contrecoup could occur on the other side of the head when the brain bounces back from the impact. 
  • Acquired brain injuries. An acquired brain injury is typically secondary to another condition. For example, a shortage of blood supply, damage to the lungs, or chest complications could affect the brain. 

In more violent accidents, you may see penetrating brain injuries.

Symptoms of TBI Following a Car Accident

Symptoms of TBI Following a Car Accident

Traumatic brain injuries are common accident injuries due to the abrupt nature of a collision, and without seeing an auto accident doctor, victims may not know for days that they suffered a head injury in some cases. Knowing the possible symptoms could prevent more severe damage or even save your life.

Physical Symptoms

Common physical signs of a mild traumatic brain injury can include:

  • Feeling dizzy or unable to balance yourself
  • Minor or severe headaches that occur consistently
  • Difficulty with speech
  • Feeling nauseated or vomiting
  • Feeling fatigued or drowsy

Independently, many of these symptoms could indicate other issues. However, if you suffered a recent head injury in a car accident, it may result from a mild TBI.

Moderate to severe TBIs present with more severe physical symptoms:

  • Loss of coordination
  • Losing consciousness from anywhere from a few minutes to hours
  • Weakness or numbness in extremities, such as the fingers and toes
  • Consistent nausea or vomiting with little relief
  • Feeling unable to wake up from sleep
  • Having seizures or convulsions
  • Fluid drainage from the ears or nose
  • Pupil dilation in either one or both of the eyes

You can experience as many as all or as few as only one of the physical symptoms. If left untreated, your condition may worsen or even cause irreparable damage.

Behavioral, Cognitive, and Sensory Symptoms

The symptoms of mild, moderate, and severe trauma to the brain can manifest as behavioral, cognitive, and sensory abnormalities.

Some examples include:

  • Having trouble sleeping or sleeping more than usual
  • Feeling disoriented or confused without losing consciousness
  • Mood swings
  • Changes in mental state, such as feeling depressed or developing anxiety
  • Having difficulty with concentration or remembering things
  • Feeling agitated or combative 
  • Slurred speech
  • Loss of consciousness resulting in a coma
  • Sensory issues, such as bad taste in the mouth, ringing in the ears, or blurry vision
  • Feeling sensitive to light and sound

Symptoms may present differently in children. For example, infants may struggle to eat or nurse, seem more irritable, or cry inconsolably.

Small children may lose interest in their favorite activities or toys or have a sudden change in their mood or sleeping habits. Some have difficulty paying attention.

They often struggle to communicate symptoms, so you may benefit from seeing a doctor right away if your child appears different.

See a Car Accident Doctor at Medical Clinics of New York City

Car Accident Doctor at Medical Clinics of New York City

The neurologists at Medical Clinics of New York City have experience treating car accident victims suffering from traumatic brain injuries. They provide dedicated quality medical care care with kindness to help you recover in a warm environment.

Our team can work with your insurance company and primary care physician to make sure you properly document your injuries and treatment plan for your medical records or any personal injury claims you may have. We accept no-fault insurance, PIP (personal injury protection), workers’ compensation, medical liens and other health insurance plans

You can request your appointment online today and see a specialist at one of our many locations throughout the New York City.

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