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TBIs: How Do Car Crashes Cause Brain Injuries?

March 9, 2022 | Category: Automobile Accidents, Brain Injuries | Share

Each year, hundreds of thousands of people in the United States are hospitalized with traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). Car crashes are among the leading causes of TBIs, and the brain injuries suffered can range from “mild” concussions to penetrating brain injuries resulting in death. Our Naples personal injury lawyer wants everyone to understand how these injuries happen, as having this knowledge is critical not only for assessing crash victims’ treatment needs but also for assessing their legal rights.

How Car Crashes Cause Traumatic Brain Injuries

Broadly speaking, traumatic brain injuries have three potential causes: (i) blunt force trauma, (ii) sudden and violent movement of the head, and (iii) penetration of the skull.

1. Blunt Force Trauma

Blunt force trauma is the most common cause of crash related TBIs. Even when a crash occurs at speeds too low for a vehicle’s airbags to release, the forces involved are more than enough to cause a driver’s or passenger’s head to collide with the dashboard, steering wheel, or another part of the vehicle.  

When a vehicle’s airbags release during a car accident, they won’t necessarily prevent blunt force trauma. The impact with the airbag itself can cause a concussion or other TBI in some cases, and if a vehicle rolls over or experiences multiple impacts, the vehicle’s airbags won’t necessarily protect against blows to the head.

When the head experiences blunt force trauma in a car crash, the force of impact can damage the brain in various ways. For example, drivers and passengers who experience blunt force trauma may suffer TBIs due to:

  • The brain colliding with the skull
  • Tearing of the connective tissue or nerve fibers inside the skull
  • Tearing of the blood vessels in the brain

2. Sudden and Violent Movement of the Head

While most TBIs result from blunt force trauma, an impact isn’t necessary to cause damage inside the skull. Drivers and passengers also frequently suffer traumatic brain injuries due to sudden and violent movement of the head caused by the forces of the crash.

This includes TBIs caused by whiplash. For example, when a car is involved in a front-end or rear-end collision, drivers’ and passengers’ seatbelts will restrain their bodies, but their heads can still be thrust forward. This can cause the brain to bounce off the inside of the skull, resulting in a concussion, hematoma (brain bruise) or another form of TBI.

Side-impact collisions can have similar consequences. Here too, the difference in the movement speed of the torso and head is the primary causal factor. While a driver’s or passenger’s head may collide with the side pillar or window, even if it doesn’t, all individuals involved in the crash should still seek treatment if they are experiencing any symptoms of a TBI.

3. Penetration of the Skull

The most severe form of TBI is known as a penetrating injury. This type of injury involves a foreign object penetrating the skull and directly impacting or piercing the brain. Unfortunately, these injuries are fatal in many cases. Even when a penetrating brain injury isn’t life-threatening, there is still a high likelihood that it will have life-altering consequences.

In car crashes, penetrating TBIs can result from flying debris, impacts with broken objects inside the cabin, and drivers and passengers being ejected from their vehicles. Emergency treatment will often be necessary to preserve any chance of recovery.

How the Cause of a TBI Impacts the Victim’s Legal Rights

Regarding how the cause of a TBI impacts the victims’ legal rights, our Naples personal injury lawyer knows that causation is a key factor for establishing liability after a crash. Depending on the circumstances involved in a collision, several parties could potentially be liable for a victim’s TBI. Here are some examples of possible scenarios:

  • A driver suffers a TBI in a head-on collision – In this scenario, showing that the driver’s TBI was caused by whiplash or blunt force trauma in the front or rear of the head could be essential for recovering financial compensation under the other driver’s insurance policy.
  • A driver suffers a TBI in a rollover accident – In this scenario, showing that the driver sustained his or her TBI when the vehicle’s cabin collapsed during the rollover may be necessary for establishing liability on the part of the vehicle manufacturer.
  • A driver suffers a TBI due to an airbag failure – In this scenario, showing that proper airbag deployment would have prevented the driver’s TBI could establish liability on the part of the airbag manufacturer.

Discuss Your Legal Rights with a Naples Personal Injury Lawyer Today

If you need to know more about seeking financial compensation for a TBI sustained in a car crash in Florida, we encourage you to contact Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A. promptly. Please call 239-793-7748 or 1-888-477-4839 or contact us online to arrange a free consultation with Naples personal injury lawyer Randall L. Spivey.

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