The Centers For Disease Control determined that an estimated 61,000 people died due to traumatic brain injuries (TBI) in 2019. This number breaks down to about 166 TBI-related deaths per day. While falling is the most common cause of TBI, many may be surprised to learn that motor vehicle accidents can lead to the most severe types of injuries. Even when not fatal, brain injuries can still be life-changing.
What causes TBI?
Brain injuries occur when a victim suffers a blow to the head or their head is dramatically jerked. Common examples include the head coming in contact with vehicle windows or the dashboard, or violently shaking the head (which can occur even when a vehicle occupant is wearing a seatbelt).
The impact of collisions can cause the brain, suspended in cerebrospinal fluid inside the skull, to strike the cavity wall. This contact causes the brain’s tissue to bleed, bruise, or swell. Left untreated, the injured brain can expand, putting pressure on the skull cavity, causing further damage.
Common symptoms to watch for
These will vary, but many cases involve nausea and vomiting, headaches, dizziness, difficulty remembering things, concentrating, or sleeping. There may be confusion. More severe cases will often include such symptoms as convulsions, slurred speech, loss of coordination, seizures, or sensory deficiencies. The victim may also be rendered unconscious.
Common 5-year outcomes
The CDC broke the long-lasting results of TBI into four groups:
- 30% became worse
- 26% improved
- 22% stayed the same
- 22% died
Seek medical help immediately
These injuries can lead to long-term disabilities, substantial medical bills or even death, so it’s essential to get treatment from a trained medical professional as soon as possible. The victim (or their family) may also need to seek damages to hold the negligent driver accountable for their actions in causing the collision.