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Legal Blog

What to Know About a Head Injury in a Car Accident

Female Motorist With Head Injury Getting Out Of Car After Crash

Car accidents can lead to all kinds of damage to your body, but one of the worst traumas is a car accident head injury. Hitting the steering wheel, windshield, or side windows of your vehicle during a crash can result in Traumatic Brain Injuries or TBIs. In fact, you can suffer a TBI even if your head didn’t hit anything. The force of the collision can cause your brain to move inside your skull.

After a car accident, you should always see a doctor and get evaluated for a head injury. Even when a crash seems minor, you can suffer damage to your brain that needs treatment. Here is what you should know about experiencing a head injury in a car accident.

How Do Head Injuries Happen in Car Accidents?

According to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 300,000 of the 1.7 million TBIs diagnosed each year result from automotive collisions. Car accidents are the leading cause of TBI-related death for individuals aged 5-24.

The most common kinds of car crashes that lead to head injuries are:

  • Head-on: The impact caused when the front of your car hits a stationary object or another vehicle can slam your head into the steering wheel or windshield.
  • Rear-end: When you are hit from behind, you often suffer whiplash along with potential closed head injury from your brain moving rapidly back and forth in your skull.
  • T-bone: When another vehicle hits you on the side of your car or truck, your head could be forced into the window.
  • Rollover: Rollover crashes are some of the most dangerous and deadly since occupants could be hit with flying objects inside the vehicle, thrown outside, or slammed into various surfaces.

Head injuries happen during a car accident because your head and neck can move more freely than your body at the moment of impact. Many people suffer whiplash, which is damage to the muscles and tendons of the neck. However, that same sudden movement that strains tissue in the neck and shoulders can force your brain to crash into your skull.

There are numerous ways your brain can be affected when this happens. Many of the resulting conditions can leave you with astronomical medical bills. You may also require months or years of therapy to fully recover – if it’s even possible. Some victims of TBIs never return to their former way of living and must adjust to a permanent cognitive and / or physical disability.

Traumatic Brain Injury in Detail

A doctor is looking at an x-ray of a car accident victim with a car accident head injury. Traumatic brain injury.When the head experiences a sudden jolt, bump, or blow, the brain’s normal electrical function can be disturbed. The brain can also suffer physical trauma, such as bruising, tearing, or compression. Depending on the part of the organ that is impacted, victims can experience impairment in vision, hearing, speech, memory, or motor control.

Many people are knocked unconscious during a crash, even if only for a short while. If a car accident injury victim also suffers a reduction in oxygen to the brain, catastrophic medical conditions can result. Secondary injuries often occur when the brain tissue begins to swell in response to the original damage. If the pressure is not relieved, the person risks permanent damage or death.

You may experience even more dramatic injuries if objects fly around the passenger cabin or debris from other vehicles enters the car. Penetrating wounds to the skull are frequently fatal, but small pieces of metal or glass can also embed themselves into the braincase and cause significant damage. Regardless of how you receive your head injury in a car accident, you will need immediate medical attention.

Types of Head Injuries You May Suffer in a Car Accident

Car accident victims can suffer a wide range of head injuries in a crash. Each one causes more damage than the last, and victims can be left in a coma or vegetative state without immediate and proper medical treatment. Some injuries may be obvious when you are receiving medical attention right after the crash, but others could be “silent.”

Whether you feel fine or not after a car accident, you must be evaluated by a medical professional within 24 hours. You could have injuries that are not immediately apparent, and brain injuries are frequently undiagnosed until the victim collapses or experiences major issues. Getting assessed not only protects your health but also establishes a link between the car accident and your injuries, meaning you have a stronger claim for compensation.


This is the most common head injury suffered in car accidents, occurring when the brain slams against the inside of the skull. Concussions can result from sudden stopping, hitting something with your head, or being hit by an object. Symptoms include mild nausea, headache, dizziness, and blurred vision.

People usually recover from concussions in one to two months. They are said to experience Post-Concussion Syndrome (PCS) if the effects last longer than six weeks.


Cerebral contusions involve bruising of the brain tissue. When you hit your head hard enough that your brain is more severely damaged than a concussion, you can experience one of three kinds of contusions:

  • Coup: The brain is injured directly under the area of impact.
  • Contrecoup: The brain is injured on the opposite side of the skull from the impact.
  • Coup-contrecoup: The brain is injured twice, once at the point of impact and again on the opposite side.

The names come from the French words for “blow” and “counterblow.” Coup-contrecoup injuries are naturally more severe since they commonly affect the frontal cortex under the forehead and the cerebellum at the back of the head. The frontal cortex handles higher thinking functions, and the cerebellum controls movement and balance.

In addition, the force required to cause a contusion can be significant enough to tear tissue or break blood vessels in the brain.

Diffuse Axonal Injury

A diffuse axonal brain injury will substantially affect your cognitive function. Damage happens when the nerve fibers of the brain are sheared or torn due to twisting forces, such as during a car accident. This could leave you without the ability to reason, concentrate, or communicate. Victims often suffer dizziness, confusion, and issues with speech. They may also fall into a coma.

Penetrating Head Injury

Loose objects in your car can penetrate your skull, as can items from outside the vehicle. In addition to bleeding and cranial damage, the brain is often torn or crushed in this kind of head injury. Victims often experience catastrophic loss of function or die from this kind of TBI.

When a Brain Injury Happens Is Crucial

The timing of your brain injury can substantially impact how well you can recover. A primary injury occurs suddenly, such as when your head hits the steering wheel. Your brain function will be affected right away. You could lose consciousness, be unable to think clearly, or lose control of your movement.

A secondary brain injury can happen in the minutes or hours after the car accident. This can result from swelling or bleeding of the brain inside the skull. If the brain is compressed in the cranium when it swells, victims can pass out, lose cognitive function, experience hearing or vision loss, or be unable to walk.

While the effects of a primary injury may wear off quickly, they could also get worse and develop into a secondary injury as time passes. The longer you wait to get medical treatment, the greater the damage can be. Your medical costs will be higher, and the chances of making a full recovery go down substantially.

Brain Injury Severity and Symptoms

Brain injuries can be mild, moderate, or severe. They all share similar symptoms, but some are more debilitating as the level of damage increases. Symptoms include:

  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty swallowing or speaking
  • Inability to understand what others are saying
  • Insomnia or sleep disturbances
  • Losing consciousness or struggling to stay awake
  • Loss of coordination
  • Memory loss
  • Mood swings
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Mild TBIs

Mild TBIs can result in headaches, drowsiness, dizziness, blurred speech, and temporary memory loss. Victims may also be sensitive to light or sound until they fully recover. They often have difficulty sleeping and may experience mood changes.

Moderate TBIs

Moderate brain injuries can cause these same symptoms, along with a loss of consciousness for minutes or hours. Headaches are often severe and get worse over time. Victims may vomit frequently and have difficulty moving around. They may experience disorientation and struggle to wake up.

Severe TBIs

Severe TBI victims may have clear fluid leaking from their noses or ears. This is cerebrospinal fluid, and a leak indicates a severe injury where the membrane covering the brain has ruptured. Victims may also often suffer seizures, convulsions, and numbness in their extremities and may even slip into a coma.

How Much Does a Brain Injury Attorney Cost?

After a car accident in which you suffered a brain injury, you will have many worries on your plate. You must focus on getting better, pursue your insurance claim, and hold the at-fault party responsible for their negligence. The last thing you want to worry about is adding more bills.

When you work with a qualified car accident attorney at The Krist Law Firm, P.C., you can put this concern to rest. We offer free initial consultations to understand your case and explain your options. After that, we work on a contingency fee basis, meaning that you do not pay us unless we secure a settlement for you or win at trial.

Our team is committed to seeing you recover as much financial compensation as possible, and we know you need the maximum compensation to do that. You do not pay a retainer before we start, and we will discuss what our fees will be as a percentage of your recovery before we begin. We are confident in our ability to secure the best possible outcome for you based on your specific situation.

Head Injuries Can Cost Millions – You Deserve Compensation

Clipboard showing a medical billing statement for a car accident head injury.Recovering from the physical and emotional damage of a head injury from a car accident is challenging enough. You will likely also face tremendous medical bills that can cause devastating financial consequences. When someone else caused your injuries in the crash, you deserve compensation for all of the losses you suffered.

Each case is unique, but moderate to severe TBIs can require specialized treatment and extensive care. Victims often cannot work for long periods of time, and many struggle with returning to their jobs at all. Without an income, you may be unable to support yourself or your family. It does not need to be this way if you work with an experienced car accident attorney.

Medical care can skyrocket into hundreds of thousands of dollars, but you also need restitution for the non-economic damages you have suffered. Your pain and suffering should be compensated when your life is changed forever. When all your losses are calculated, your claim could be worth millions of dollars to help you adjust to a vastly different future.

Common Damages in Head Injury Cases

Here are some common damages we help our clients recover in head injury cases following car accidents:

  • Depression and anxiety
  • Disability
  • Emergency medical services
  • Emotional distress
  • Hospitalization
  • Isolation and loss of society
  • Long-term nursing care
  • Loss of care and guidance for your family members
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Lost income and earning potential
  • Pain and suffering
  • Physical therapy expenses
  • Rehabilitation and therapy
  • Surgeries

Texas is an at-fault state for car accidents, meaning the party or parties that hurt you must pay for all your damages. However, head injury claims may exhaust the coverage limits of some insurance policies, leaving you with too little to pay your bills. When you cannot recover the compensation your injuries demand, you may need to pursue a personal injury lawsuit.

Evidence Is Key to Proving a Brain Injury Claim

When another driver is responsible for your damages and brain injury after a car crash, you need an experienced personal injury attorney who can hold them accountable. Your lawyer should have the resources to ensure your condition is fully diagnosed and that you have a treatment plan for the future. They should also create a full estimate of your damage demands.

Our law firm can connect you with medical experts for a full evaluation. We also work with accident reconstruction specialists to determine exactly what happened and who is at fault for your crash. Building the strongest case requires robust evidence that comes from a variety of sources. Our attorneys put every resource we have to work on your case.

When we have powerful evidence, insurance companies are more willing to pay the appropriate amount for your settlement. If they don’t, we use our documentation in court to convince a judge and jury of your need for financial relief from the negligent party. Your case will be built on evidence such as:

  • Criminal records
  • Driving records
  • Expert testimony
  • Medical records and bills
  • Brain scans
  • Photographs of the accident scene and your injuries
  • Police reports
  • Video from traffic, security, and dashboard cameras
  • Virtual accident reconstructions showing the impact and its effects
  • Witness statements

Car Accident Head Injury Claims Require Skilled Legal Guidance

Whether you seek financial relief through Texas insurance claims or a car accident lawsuit, you should never try to face the complex legal system alone. You and your family should locate the right car accident attorney for your needs who will fight for compensation on your behalf.

At The Krist Law Firm, P.C., we understand how serious head injuries can affect your finances, relationships, work, and quality of life. Everything can change in the blink of an eye, but you should not suffer as the result of someone else’s carelessness without holding them accountable. Our legal team is ready to speak with you in a free initial consultation. Contact us today.