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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 head injury. Hitting the steering wheel, windshield, or side windows of your vehicle during a crash can result in Traumatic Brain Injuries or TBIs. Nearly 300,000 of the 1.7 million TBIs diagnosed each year result from automotive collisions.

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?

These injuries happen 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. Some victims of TBIs never return to their former way of living and must adjust to a permanent cognitive or physical disability.

Traumatic Brain Injury in Detail

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, and/or motor control.

Many people are knocked unconscious, 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.


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.

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.

Brain Injury Symptoms

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 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 TBI victims may have clear fluid leaking from their noses or ears. They also often suffer seizures, convulsions, and numbness in their extremities, and may even slip into a coma.

Head Injuries Can Cost Millions – You Deserve Compensation

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 that are claimed in head injury cases include:

  • Depression and anxiety
  • Disability
  • Emergency medical services
  • Emotional distress
  • Hospitalization
  • Isolation
  • Loss of care and guidance for your family members
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Lost income and earning potential
  • 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.

Car Accident Head Injury Claims Require Skilled Legal Guidance

Whether you seek financial relief through insurance claims or a personal injury lawsuit, you should never try to face the complex legal system alone. You and your family should locate the right trial 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 pay for someone else’s carelessness without holding them accountable. Our team is ready to speak with you in a free initial consultation. Contact us today.