Types of Traumatic Brain Injuries Caused by Car Accidents

A car accident can lead to a variety of serious injuries, including trauma to the head and brain. A traumatic brain injury, or TBI, can be a life-threatening car accident injury. If a victim survives, he or she could face hospitalization, lengthy treatments and lasting symptoms. Motor vehicle accidents are one of the top causes of traumatic brain injuries in the United States.

Open vs. Closed Head Injury

When a car accident victim presents symptoms of a head or brain injury to a doctor, the physician will assess whether the head injury is open or closed. An open head injury is one that has penetrated the skull, while a closed head injury means there has been no break in the skull but the brain has still been injured.


The most common type of traumatic brain injury is a concussion. A concussion is a mild TBI that is caused by blunt-force trauma, such as a bump or blow to the head. Most concussions are not fatal and will resolve on their own within about two weeks. However, some car accident victims experience concussion symptoms for much longer.

The symptoms of a concussion can include headache, dizziness, confusion, nausea, blurred vision, trouble concentrating, memory loss, and changes in mood or personality. Moderate to severe concussions can cause more serious or long-lasting symptoms.

Contusion or Hematoma

A contusion is a medical term for a bruise. A brain contusion describes the bruising of brain tissue, while a hematoma is heavy bleeding in or around the brain. In severe cases, a car accident victim may suffer a hemorrhagic cerebral contusion, which is a serious blood vessel injury that can lead to uncontrollable bleeding inside of the skull.

Diffuse Axonal Injury

In a car accident, if the vehicle spins rapidly around, an occupant’s head and neck can whip around with it. This motion can result in a diffuse axonal brain injury, or the shearing or tearing of the brain’s connecting nerve fibers due to the brain shifting or rotating violently.

Coup-Contrecoup Injur

A coup-contrecoup TBI occurs when a single blow to the head results in multiple blows to the brain. In these cases, the brain can suffer a first impact from the initial blow, then a second impact from rebounding off the inside of the skull and striking the opposite side. This can damage two sides of the brain and result in more severe symptoms and consequences.


Edema is the medical term for swelling. Cerebral edema, or swelling in the brain, can happen after a car accident due to an excessive buildup of fluid in the injured brain’s tissues. If edema is not caught and treated promptly, the buildup of pressure against the brain can cause additional damage or death.

Penetrating Brain Injury

A penetrating brain injury can refer to any type of TBI that does not occur due to blunt trauma, such as a sharp object penetrating the skull and brain. It is a type of open head injury that also involves a break in the skull, which can expose the victim to a risk of infection in addition to brain damage from the penetrating injury.

Get Help From a Brain Injury Attorney in San Antonio

If you or a loved one suffered any type of traumatic brain injury in an automobile accident in Texas, you may be eligible for financial compensation from the person or party at fault for your crash. Your family may be able to recover the costs of past and future medical bills, lost wages, lost quality of life, pain and suffering, property damage, and more. An experienced car accident attorney can help you prove fault and seek fair compensation for a life-changing brain injury.

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