Different Types of Brain Injuries Caused by Car Accidents

Many auto accidents result in serious bodily injury – brain injuries often being the most difficult to diagnose and treat. Generally caused by a sudden jolt or blow to the head, a brain injury can range from mild and temporary to physically disabling and permanent. A brain injury caused by an auto accident can be catastrophic and life changing.

The following is a brief look at some of the most common types of brain injuries that individuals sustain in auto accidents:


A concussion – also called a mild traumatic brain injury, or TBI – is a brain injury that commonly results from a sudden hit or jolt to the body or head, causing the brain to twist or bounce inside the skull. Being subjected to extreme external forces can alter the brain’s chemical functioning and set in motion a wide range of pathological problems. Concussion symptoms include headache, dizziness, fatigue, and changes in mental status.

Diffuse Axonal Injury

Diffuse axonal injury (DOI) is a tearing of the brain’s connective fibers. Auto accident victims who suffer a DOI often wind up in a coma. The changes in the brain that are the hallmark of diffuse axonal injury are frequently difficult to detect even with modern imaging technologies such as CT scans or MRIs.

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Another common auto accident brain injury is a contusion, or a bruising of brain tissue. Contusions are localized brain injuries that can either be mild or life-threatening. Someone with a serious contusion generally requires emergency medical attention to control the swelling.

Penetrating Head Wound

Also called an open head injury, a penetrating head wound is when a foreign object breaks through the skull and damages the brain. A serious penetrating head wound can be instantly fatal or result in long-term disability.

Coup Contrecoup

This term refers to two distinct brain injuries that often occur simultaneously. A coup injury occurs at the head’s point of impact with an object. A contrecoup injury occurs on the opposite side of the brain. Coup contrecoup injuries are generally caused by an abrupt deceleration of the head, causing the brain to collide with the interior of the skull.

Brain Injury Symptoms

An auto accident victim who has suffered a brain injury can present a wide range of physical and psychological symptoms. Some symptoms may present themselves immediately while others can take days or week to appear. Common brain injury symptoms include headache, nausea, slurred speech, loss of balance, blurred vision, mood changes, difficulty concentrating, and loss of consciousness, and cognitive deficits.

Contact Whalen Hersh

The above information is brought to you by the experienced auto accident lawyers at Whalen Hersh – one of the premier personal injury law firms in Colorado. To schedule a consultation following an accident, we invite you to call Whalen Hersh at 720-307-2666. You can also contact us by submitting this convenient online form.

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