By Logan Quirk
Any injury to your head or brain is always alarming. They can cause serious problems now and continue to impact your health and wellbeing long-term. You always need to protect yourself against a potential brain injury or head injury.
With that in mind, your safety should be your priority whenever you sit down in the driver’s seat of your vehicle. Car accidents are among the leading causes of head and brain injuries. One unfortunate incident could cost you dearly.
Here in this article, we’ll focus on some of the more common head and brain injuries that stem from car accidents. Let’s learn more about the effects they have on people and how professionals treat them. We’ll also touch on some tips that will help you stay safe whenever you’re on the road.
What Is a Traumatic Brain Injury?
Being in a car accident increases your chances of suffering a traumatic brain injury. A traumatic brain injury occurs when a powerful force hits the head and causes trauma.
Traumatic brain injuries are dangerous because they cause more than pain.
Anything that affects your brain can cause serious long-term effects. In turn, those effects can hamper your physical and mental capabilities. Your quality of life may also deteriorate due to the injury.
What’s even more concerning about these injuries is that they don’t always make their presence felt right away.
They aren’t similar to sprained shoulders or broken legs in that regard. Several hours or even days may pass before you start feeling the effects of your brain injury. If you don’t do something about your injury beforehand, you could be in a lot of trouble.
The Different Classifications of Traumatic Brain Injuries
They classify traumatic brain injuries in terms of how severe they are. According to the Mayfield Clinic, traumatic brain injuries can fall into three categories.
They can be mild, moderate, or severe injuries.
People who have sustained a mild brain injury usually remain awake and alert. However, there may be some gaps in their memory, and they may also be more susceptible to disorientation.
If a person is affected by a moderate injury, expect them to be more lethargic. They may even lose consciousness and remain in that state for hours.
Severe brain injuries are the most concerning. Someone with this injury is likely unconscious and in need of medical attention as soon as possible. A person suffering from a severe brain injury could die if they don’t receive care in time.
Let’s now turn our attention to specific types of traumatic brain injuries. We can start by highlighting concussions.
You can receive a concussion by a strong blow to the head. Your head smacking against the steering wheel or any other solid part of your vehicle can cause it.
You may get knocked out briefly, but that’s not always the case. A person may still have a concussion even if they remain conscious throughout the accident.
The Symptoms of Concussions
You can link numerous symptoms to concussions. Common symptoms include headaches, fatigue, and blurry vision.
Because of how common those symptoms are, you may not even realize right away that they are hinting at trouble. Some people may even ignore them altogether.
You should get yourself checked out if you have those symptoms and were recently in a car accident. It’s better to err on the side of caution in that scenario.
Other symptoms of a concussion are harder to ignore. They include nausea, vomiting, and slurred speech. Concussions can also cause you to become more sensitive to lights and noises.
Long-term, a concussion can bring about personality changes. It may also cause depression and make you more forgetful, per the Mayo Clinic.
Treatments for Concussions
Early on, the focus will be on addressing the symptoms caused by the concussion. Your doctor may prescribe medications for your nausea and/or headaches.
When it comes to treating the brain itself, rest is what doctors will recommend. You will need to limit physical activities and avoid engaging in anything that demands concentration. The goal is to give your brain a break because it may not recover quickly otherwise.
After some time, they may clear you to start taking part in certain activities. Things can ramp up gradually until your brain has recovered.
Diffuse Axonal Injuries
Next up, we have diffuse axonal injuries. This injury is the rapid movement of the brain inside the skull, which is something that can occur during a car accident.
As the brain quickly moves around inside the skull, the axons that serve as connecting fibers inside your brain may start to tear or fray. The changing speeds of the brain movements only serve to damage the axons further.
The Symptoms of Diffuse Axonal Injuries
Many of the symptoms observed in people with concussions will show up again in those dealing with diffuse axonal injuries. Someone with this injury saying they’re feeling tired or nauseous is common. Headaches also often accompany this injury.
The big difference here is that diffuse axonal injuries often cause people to fall into a comatose state. There are instances wherein someone with a concussion may also lapse into a coma, but that happens rarely.
Treatments for Diffuse Axonal Injuries
According to Healthline, when treating someone for a diffuse axonal injury, you first address the swelling of their brain. Doctors may use steroids to alleviate the problematic swelling.
Once the brain has settled down, you can explore long-term treatment options. Rehabilitation is key to recovering from a diffuse axonal injury since this is not a brain injury you can recover from by only resting.
You may also undergo different types of therapy to address the myriad problems caused by the injury.
A brain hemorrhage or brain bleed is often by an aneurysm and blood clot. Some also know it as the unfortunate outcome of years of bodily abuse.
Do know, though, that bleeding in your brain may also be from a car accident. To be more specific, the accident may cause you to suffer from a subarachnoid hemorrhage.
This injury occurs when arteries tear during the accident. As soon as the arteries are torn open, they may spill blood on the brain and potentially cause serious issues.
The Symptoms of Brain Hemorrhages
Once again, many of the symptoms that will surface due to a brain bleed are similar to ones you’ll experience from other traumatic brain injuries. You can expect to feel more fatigued, nauseous, and plagued by bouts of confusion.
Those are not the only symptoms to watch out for, though.
You may also have trouble maintaining your balance or lose your vision due to the injury. Some suffer from seizures. The additional symptoms are likely from blood ending up in places where it shouldn’t be.
Treatments for Brain Hemorrhages
Surgery is often required to treat a brain hemorrhage. The blood pooling over the brain can cause pressure to build up inside the skull. Per the Cleveland Clinic, creating an opening in the skull or removing a part of it temporarily is often needed to alleviate the pressure.
Your doctor may also prescribe medications formulated to address your seizures and to normalize your blood pressure.
Long-term treatment for people who suffered from a brain hemorrhage will often include different therapies. The various forms are needed to account for the different kinds of damage your brain has suffered.
Common Head Injuries from Car Accidents
A car accident survivor is also a prime candidate to be suffering from a head injury of some kind. Most head injuries related to car accidents break down into skull fractures and penetrating injuries. Let’s talk about them in greater detail below.
Broken bones are common in car accidents. The bones in your arms and legs are especially susceptible to the impact. They are not the only bones that may break, however.
Although many of us instinctively protect our head during an accident, the impact can still be so great that it causes your skull to fracture.
Johns Hopkins Medicine notes that there are four types of skull fractures. They are basilar, depressed, diastatic, and linear skull fractures.
Linear fractures are the most common among car accident victims. Basilar and depressed fractures may be observed in them as well.
The Symptoms of Skull Fractures
Skull fractures are hard to miss because they will often cause enormous amounts of pain. Still, there are additional symptoms to keep an eye out for.
Bruising is a telltale sign of a skull fracture, especially if the discoloration appears around the eyes or behind the ears. Fluid leaking from openings such as the nose and ears are also troubling signs. Swelling may also start to take place along the spot where the fracture occurred.
Treatments for Skull Fractures
You may not require surgery for skull fractures. Linear and basilar skull fractures may start to heal on their own without the aid of surgery.
Depressed fractures are different. You may need surgery to correct a depressed fracture because the indentation stemming from the trauma may cause the skull to become deformed.
Penetrating Head Injuries
Last up, we have penetrating head injuries. Penetrating head injuries involve debris or projectile flying into your head during the accident. It could be a shard of glass or a small piece of your dashboard that causes this injury.
The Symptoms of Penetrating Head Injuries
Penetrating head injuries are easy to spot because they will usually create a noticeable wound in that part of the body. Beyond that, the projectile may also cause massive blood loss.
There are also cases wherein the injury will cause additional symptoms. They include difficulty breathing and bleeding from your ears.
Treatments for Penetrating Head Injuries
Blood transfusion is likely going to be necessary to treat someone with a penetrating head injury. Given the amount of blood they’ve lost, they will need their supply replenished as soon as possible.
Surgery may follow not long after that. Whatever projectile is in the skull, it will need to come out to prevent any further injury.
How to Prevent Brain and Head Injuries from Car Accidents
Throughout this article, we’ve highlighted the adverse effects of head injuries that stem from car accidents. Needless to say, you should avoid those injuries at all costs.
The good news is that preventing those injuries is not hard at all.
Start with your seatbelt.
Make it a point to buckle up whether you’re driving or staying in the passenger seat. If an accident does happen, the seatbelt will help keep you in place and prevent your head from smashing into anything hard.
Airbags will also keep your head from colliding with your dashboard. Children under the age of thirteen could get injured by a deployed airbag, but if you’re an adult wearing a seatbelt, you have nothing to worry about.
Staying safe also means being a responsible driver. Always keep your eyes on the road, and don’t let your phone distract you.
You should also only get behind the wheel when you are in good condition physically, and mentally. Driving when you’re intoxicated or stressed out makes you more prone to potential accidents. Call a cab or book a ride on your preferred app instead if you feel like you’re in no shape to be driving.
If someone else is at fault for the car accident that led to your injuries, you need to hold them accountable. Contact us at the Quirk Law Group, and we will ensure that the party responsible for what happened will indeed face adequate consequences.