Car Accidents and Traumatic Brain Injuries

Traumatic brain injuries are responsible for the deaths of approximately 50,000 Americans each year and the hospitalizations of roughly 230,000 more. Many more victims go undiagnosed.

Auto accidents are one of the leading causes of brain injuries. Most brain injuries are closed head injuries, which means that trauma sets the brain in motion inside the skull. The brain gets slammed against the interior surface of the skull, resulting in bruising and swelling of the brain.

Trauma can also initiate rotational forces that twist and stretch the brain, which can damage the brains ability to send and receive electrical impulses from the body. A condition called diffuse axonal injury (DAI) occurs on a cellular level and leaves blood vessels and major brain structures intact. This type of damage cannot be detected by MRIs or CT scans, making DAI vastly underdiagnosed and undertreated.

Brain injuries are unlike injuries to other parts of the body. They not only have a physical component, they also affect the thinking and emotional well-being of the victim. Impairments can be temporary or permanent, subtle or catastrophic.

It’s important to note that low-impact auto accidents can result in a brain injury (for example a concussion due to whiplash), not just high-impact ones. In addition, a person involved in a car crash may feel perfectly normal immediately following the incident; however, brain injury symptoms might only present themselves hours, days, or weeks later.

As a nurse I understand the true impact a head injury can have on a person. I have handled many of these cases. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about this post.   Christine

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