Although fender benders often cause injuries such as whiplash, bruises and broken bones, serious car accidents can have devastating consequences. Car accidents are common causes of traumatic brain injuries.
TBIs can be mild in severity, in which symptoms clear up after a few days or weeks. Brain injuries can also be severe, with symptoms and consequences that last for years.
How brain injuries occur
According to the Brain Injury Association of America, car accidents and other traumatic events can cause closed brain injuries due to the force of the brain hitting the inside of the skull. The aggressiveness of the force tears brain tissue and ruptures blood vessels in various areas of the brain. Along with the acute injury, brain damage can continue over time, which experts refer to as secondary injury or secondary cell death.
Unlike some injuries that recover with treatment and time, severe brain injuries do not recover fully. The brain may compensate or make different connections to help with symptom management, but the body does not generate new neurons.
Consequences of severe TBIs
A loss of consciousness is common after a severe brain injury. After waking or after some time has passed, the accident victim may exhibit certain changes in behavior. This may include aggressiveness and irritability. The person may also show confusion or have memory issues.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the patient will more than likely have long-term physical consequences such as seizures, loss of balance, vertigo and headaches. They may have ongoing issues with communication, thinking, emotions, senses and social activities. Most people will require long-term therapy and rehab services to be able to function in daily life.