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Common Types of Brain Injuries from Motor Vehicle Accidents

Understanding Brain Injuries in Motor Vehicle Accidents (MVAs) 

Motor vehicle accidents (MVAs) are harrowing experiences, with the potential for severe and long-lasting consequences. Among these, brain injuries are some of the most serious and life-altering. They can range from mild concussions to debilitating traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). 

In this article, we will delve into the different types of brain injuries that can occur during MVAs, providing you with an understanding of each injury type, its causes, symptoms, and the challenges faced during diagnosis and treatment. We will also offer practical advice on navigating the aftermath of an MVA, including how to prove brain injury claims. 

Types of Brain Injuries Suffered in MVAs 

Here are some of the most common types of brain injuries people sustain in motor vehicle accidents:  

Subdural Hematoma 

A subdural hematoma occurs when blood collects on the brain's surface beneath the skull. This typically happens when a sudden stop or change in velocity tears blood vessels, as often happens in MVAs. Symptoms can include headaches, confusion, dizziness, and even loss of consciousness. If not treated promptly, a subdural hematoma can lead to life-threatening conditions. 


Concussions are the most common type of traumatic brain injury and often result from a direct blow to the head during an accident. Symptoms can include headaches, dizziness, nausea, and temporary loss of consciousness. While most individuals recover fully from concussions, repeated injuries can lead to serious complications. 

Cerebral Contusions 

These are bruises on the brain caused by a direct impact to the head. Symptoms can include confusion, memory loss, and temporary loss of consciousness. In severe cases, cerebral contusions can cause permanent cognitive issues. 

Diffuse Axonal Injuries 

Diffuse axonal injuries occur when the brain moves slower than the skull, causing tearing of the brain tissue. This can lead to disruption in normal brain function, coma, or even death. 

Traumatic Brain Injuries 

TBIs are severe brain injuries that can result in prolonged unconsciousness or memory loss after the injury. TBIs can cause a wide range of functional changes affecting thinking, sensation, language, and even emotions. 

Challenges in Diagnosis and Treatment 

Diagnosing brain injuries can be complex due to their varied nature and the delayed onset of symptoms. Advanced imaging techniques, such as CT scans and MRIs, are often required to accurately diagnose the extent of the injury. 

Treatment for these injuries is equally challenging and depends on the severity of the injury. It may include medication, surgery, physical therapy, and long-term care. 

Navigating the Aftermath of an Accident 

After an MVA, it's crucial to seek immediate medical attention, even if you feel fine. Early detection of brain injuries can significantly improve the prognosis. 

If you've been diagnosed with a brain injury following an MVA, consider seeking legal advice. A reputable personal injury lawyer can help you understand your rights, navigate the complexities of insurance claims, and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries. 

Should you choose to file a personal injury claim, you will need to establish the following elements:  

  • Duty of care. Establishing a duty of care requires demonstrating that the defendant had a legal responsibility to exercise a certain level of care while operating their vehicle to avoid causing harm to others on the road. 

  • Breach of duty. It must be shown that the defendant failed to uphold their duty of care. This could involve proving that the defendant was driving recklessly, was intoxicated, or otherwise acted negligently. 

  • Causation. You must prove that the defendant's breach of duty directly resulted in the accident, which subsequently led to your traumatic brain injury. This often involves providing medical evidence linking the accident to the injury. 

  • Damages. You must also be able to quantify the damages you've incurred as a result of the accident. This can include both economic and non-economic damages, such as medical expenses, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and loss of enjoyment of life. 

Remember, proving a brain injury claim requires demonstrating that the injury was directly caused by the accident. Medical records, witness testimony, and expert opinions are instrumental in building a strong case. 

Damages Recoverable After Suffering a Brain Injury in MVAs 

A brain injury resulting from a motor vehicle accident can have severe and life-altering consequences. As a victim, you have the right to seek compensation for the damages you've incurred, and these can be broadly categorized into economic and non-economic damages. 

Economic damages are quantifiable financial losses resulting from the injury. These include: 

  • Medical expenses. This covers all costs related to medical care, including the initial treatment, hospitalization, surgery, and rehabilitation. It also includes the cost of ongoing treatment and future medical expenses associated with brain injury. 

  • Lost wages. If the brain injury caused you to miss work or reduced your ability to work, you could be compensated for the lost income during that time. 

  • Loss of earning capacity. If the brain injury permanently affects your ability to work or reduces your earning potential, you can claim compensation for this future financial loss. 

Non-economic damages are those that do not have a direct monetary value but significantly impact the quality of life. They include: 

  • Pain and suffering. This covers the physical pain, mental anguish, and emotional distress resulting from the brain injury and its aftermath. 

  • Loss of consortium. If the brain injury affected your relationship with your spouse, you might be entitled to compensation for the loss of companionship and affection. 

  • Loss of enjoyment of life. This compensates for the decreased ability to enjoy the everyday activities and pleasures of life due to the consequences of a brain injury. 

In some cases, if the defendant's actions were particularly reckless or egregious, you may also be awarded punitive damages. These are intended to punish the defendant and deter similar behavior in the future. 

Discuss Your Legal Options with Our Attorneys  

Brain injuries from MVAs can have serious, life-altering consequences. The attorneys at The Dickinson Law Firm can help you pursue compensation to help you navigate some of the fiscal consequences of such accidents. With over 40 years of experience, our legal team offers our clients compassionate, straightforward representation.  

Call (770) 924-8155 to schedule a consultation and free case review.