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Types of Brain Injury Following a Car Accident and Your Legal Options

Car accidents are a leading cause of traumatic brain injury. Motor vehicle accidents can cause several types of brain injuries, which can range in severity from mild to catastrophic. A traumatic brain injury can leave a car accident victim with wide-ranging physical and psychological effects.


All brain injuries must be taken seriously. A brain injury might be severe, even if symptoms seem mild at first. In some cases, the physical pain caused by other injuries is so overwhelming that you may not even realize you’ve sustained a brain injury. You may be left with long-term consequences or permanent impairments, especially if you don’t receive an accurate diagnosis and proper medical treatment.


Here is what you need to know about how brain injuries are classified, the types of brain injuries that can be caused by a car accident, and your legal options for securing personal injury compensation.


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Severity of a brain injury

A traumatic brain injury (“TBI”) can be classified as “mild,” “moderate,” or “severe” depending on the severity of damage and the symptoms it produces. Medical professionals will determine the severity of a brain injury by assessing:

· The extent of any loss of consciousness or altered mental state (confusion, disorientation, etc.);

· The presence and length of post-traumatic amnesia;

· The injured person’s Glasgow Coma Scale score; and

· Neuroimaging results (e.g., CT scan, MRI).

The symptoms experienced after a head injury can also help doctors to diagnose and classify a TBI. For example, a person who sustains a mild TBI such as a concussion may have no loss of consciousness but experience symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, headache, sensitivity to light/sound, concentration difficulties, and irritability.


By contrast, a person who sustains a moderate to severe TBI will have loss of consciousness that lasts for several hours or days, and may have symptoms that include seizures, swelling or bruising around the eyes or ears, loss of coordination, blurred vision, profound confusion, agitation, and mood swings.


Types of brain injuries

The degree of severity of a TBI is important, as it can impact the symptoms experienced, the rehabilitation process, the prognosis for recovery, and the resources made available to an injured person. The type of brain injury and location of the injury within the brain will also be significant in that regard. These are the common types of traumas to the brain that can occur as a result of a car accident:

  • A concussion is a mild TBI that can cause a brief loss of consciousness (or no loss of consciousness). A concussion may or may not cause permanent brain injury. If not properly untreated, concussions are more likely to leave a person with long-term damage.

  • A brain contusion is a bruise to the brain caused by a blow to the head, such as striking your head against the steering wheel, window, or vehicle frame during a car crash. Blood clots and bleeding in the brain that requires surgery are two risks associated with contusion injuries. There are several ways that brain contusions can occur in a car accident:

A “coup” injury occurs when the brain is injured directly under the area of impact.

A “contracoup” injury occurs on the opposite side of the brain from where the head is struck.

A “coup-contracoup" injury happens if the blow to the head is strong enough; the brain is injured both in the area of impact and on the opposite side of the brain from where the head is struck.

  • Diffuse axonal injury (“DAI”) happens when the brain is jolted violently back and forth inside the skull. This movement damages the axons in the brain, which are responsible for connecting nerves cells within the brain. Extensive injury to the axons disrupts the brain's ability to transmit information.

  • Traumatic Subarachnoid Hemorrhage (tSAH) occurs when small arteries in the brain tear, resulting in bleeding in the space surrounding the brain. The blood spreads into that space, which is normally filled with cerebrospinal fluid that protects the brain. Blood flowing over the brain can cause widespread damage.

  • A hematoma is a blood clot that forms when a blood vessel ruptures. If the hematoma grows, it can put pressure on the brain, causing negative effects that will depend on the location of the blood clot. Surgery may be necessary to remove large clots.

  • Brain penetration or “open” head injury occurs when a foreign object (such as metal or glass from the car) or piece of the skull fractures and enters the brain. These types of injuries tend to cause catastrophic damages or in the worst cases, death.

Legal options after brain injury

Oshawa lawyers at Kelly Greenway Bruce have extensive experience representing people who have sustained brain injuries in car accidents. Healing after a brain injury typically requires significant time off work. Some brain injuries are so serious that a person is not able to work again. Most accident victims are left with sizeable medical bills and rehabilitating expenses. Some are permanently disabled and require extensive care.


It’s difficult to focus on recovery and adjust to your new normal when you are stressed by the insurance claims process and worried about your finances. If you or a loved one has suffered a brain injury in a car accident, you have legal options. You may be entitled to compensation for pain and suffering, out of pocket expenses, future care costs, and past and future income loss. You may also be entitled to no-fault accident benefits to cover attendant care, medical and rehabilitation costs, and income replacement—even if you were wholly or partially at fault for the accident.


Get legal advice from an experienced brain injury lawyer

Oshawa personal injury lawyers at Kelly Greenway Bruce are here to help if you or a loved one has suffered a brain injury following a car accident.


Dealing with a brain injury can be a challenging experience. You need dependable lawyers to represent your case if you or any of your loved ones have suffered a brain injury. Choose the strong representation of Kelly Greenway Bruce lawyers to receive the legal care you need in case of a brain injury incident.


At Kelly Greenway Bruce, we have experienced lawyers who understand the complexity of brain injury cases. We can help you file a strong lawsuit and seek compensation for economic and non-economic losses.

You can rely on our lawyers to get the legal representation you deserve. Let the qualified personal injury lawyers at our Oshawa and Lindsay locations assist you with a free case review.

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