traumatic brain injury during a car accident

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is one of the worst types of injuries sustained in a crash and can change the lives of crash victims and their families. TBI symptoms often range from headaches to permanent cognitive disabilities.

Crash-related TBIs occur when there is blunt trauma to the head or rattling of the brain due to whiplash or violent shaking. Most crash-related TBIs are linked to:

  • High-impact rear-end collisions
  • Head-on collisions
  • Rollovers
  • T-bone or side-impact crashes
  • Roadway departures
  • Crashes involving pedestrians and bicyclists

These are the most common types of TBIs:


Concussions are the most common TBIs sustained in crashes and often produce delayed symptoms. Common concussion symptoms include headaches; nausea and vomiting; irritability; blurred vision; loss of memory; poor concentration; dizziness and vertigo; confusion; and sleep disturbances. These symptoms generally last three months but can last much longer in some people.


Hematomas occur when there are blood clots outside of the brain and dura (epidural hematoma) or between the brain and dura (subdural hematoma). Symptoms of epidural hematomas include headaches; neurological problems; confusion; and seizures. Symptoms of subdural hematomas include back pain; loss of muscle control; and loss of bowel and bladder control.

*The dura (dura mater) is a thick membrane that surrounds and protects the brain and spinal cord.


Hemorrhages occur when there is bleeding within the dura (subarachnoid hemorrhage) or within the brain ventricles (intraventricular hemorrhage). Symptoms of brain hemorrhages often include sudden and severe headaches; vision problems; poor balance; and weakness on one side.

*Ventricles are cavities within the brain that contain cerebral spinal fluid.

Skull fractures

Skull fractures occur when the bone tissue that makes up the skull breaks. Types of skull fractures include linear skull fractures (a thin line or crack); depressed skull fracture (part of the skull is crushed or caved in); and a basilar skull fracture (fracture at the base of the brain that causes cerebral spinal fluid to leak).

Open head injuries

Also known as penetrating TBIs, open head injuries are often caused by projectiles and sharp car parts that pierce the skull. Open head injuries can directly impact one part of the brain and result in profuse bleeding and/or death.


Coup-contrecoup injuries are contusions, bruises, and lesions that form in the brain after a crash. This type of injury can occur under the site of impact or on the opposite side of where the impact occurred. People who sustain this type of TBI may experience nausea and vomiting; dizziness; confusion and poor balance; blurred vision; headaches; loss of memory; poor concentration; difficulty sleeping; muscle weakness; and personality changes.

Diffuse axonal injury

Unlike other TBIs that are caused by blows to the head, a diffuse anoxal injury is the result of violent shaking, twisting or stopping during a crash. When this occurs, the neurons in the brain become twisted or torn. Some people who sustain this type of TBI lose consciousness for a long period of time and even fall into comatose.

Secondary TBI

If you sustained a TBI, a second one would likely be far worse than the first. That’s especially if you haven’t fully recovered from the first TBI.

Contact a Seattle attorney if you were hurt in a car accident

A TBI is nothing to take lightly and failure to get it treated can make your situation much worse. It’s important that you see a doctor to get the medical care you need as quickly as possible. Your doctor can provide a proper diagnosis of your injury and counsel you on the type of treatment you should receive. Depending on the nature of your TBI, it can take months or even years to recover.

If your TBI was the result of someone else’s negligence, you may be eligible to recover damages through a financial settlement or court verdict. The insurance company that represents the at-fault driver will do everything in its power to downplay your claim and limit your right to full and fair compensation. The Seattle car accident attorneys at Aaron Engle Law understand the tricks insurance companies use and we are prepared to deal with them directly on your behalf.

To get started on your claim, contact us online or call us and schedule your free consultation. We serve clients in Seattle and Tacoma, Washington.