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Car Crashes: A Leading Cause of Traumatic Brain Injuries

pRollOverBW_shutterstock_78347797-240x161.jpgAccording to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), motor vehicle crashes are the third leading cause of traumatic brain injury (TBI) among all age groups in the United States, accounting for more than 14 percent of cases. Additionally, car accidents are the second leading cause of TBIs that result in death, accounting for about 26 percent or brain injury fatalities. Since Americans suffer approximately 2.5 million traumatic brain injuries each year, this means that car crashes account for about 357,000 annually, or more than 900 each day. Other causes include falls, unintentional blunt trauma and assault.

Unfortunately, the number of TBIs reported by the CDC may not be entirely accurate. Many times, traumatic brain injuries (commonly referred to as a silent epidemic) are not immediately apparent after an accident. Since many symptoms of brain injury can take days, weeks, or even months to appear, a lot of people never draw the connection to their head injury. It is important to be aware of the signs to watch for so a TBI can be treated right away.

  • Loss of consciousness, confusion or disorientation- even if only for a brief period
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Extreme fatigue or dizziness
  • Headache or pressure
  • Memory problems or difficulty concentrating
  • Speech or vision problems

A car accident lawyer will typically recommend that medical evaluation is sought anytime a TBI is suspected for two reasons. First and foremost, it is imperative that the victim receives competent treatment to prevent worsening of the condition or possible complications that could cause permanent or even life threatening damage. Second, a physician's diagnosis of a TBI can prove to be invaluable when damages are sought in an auto insurance dispute or a personal injury lawsuit.

Common Causes of TBI in Car Crashes

Generally speaking, a TBI can take two forms: closed head brain trauma or penetrating head injury. A penetrating injury occurs when a foreign object breaks through the skull. Most TBIs that occur in car crashes are closed head injuries. These can be cause in a variety of ways, and are often more difficult to identify than TBIs with penetrating wounds. They are often caused by blunt force trauma like striking a windshield or dash or being ejected from a vehicle, but sometimes they are caused by the sheer force of the crash. Closed head TBIs can cause internal bleeding and swelling which could result in disability or death.

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