If you hurt your brain during a car crash, the results can be disastrous. Brain injuries often lead to thousands of dollars in medical expenses, and moderate or severe traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) can leave people dependent on medical support for the rest of their lives or force them to leave their jobs because of their injury-related limitations.
Car crashes are a leading cause of TBIs in the United States. People sometimes fail to realize right at the scene of a crash that they could have a TBI because of the delayed onset of symptoms that is common with such injuries. If you recognize that the crash itself may have caused damage to your head or brain, you can better evaluate the situation to determine if you need to seek medical examination after the crash.
What are the common ways in which a car wreck can cause brain injuries?
1. Blunt force trauma
The most obvious and common means of collisions injuring human brains involve someone hitting their head. Whether you strike your head on the windshield or on the pavement when a car knocks you over as a pedestrian, blunt force trauma can cause damage to the brain and severe bleeding inside the skull.
2. Violent vehicle motions
If you have ever attended prenatal parenting class, you may have watched an instructor provide a demonstration of shaken baby syndrome. They put gelatin dessert in a bottle and shake it rapidly to show how the previously solid substance starts to liquefy due to the enclosed space and the rapid movement.
The same thing can happen to an adult brain in a car crash. The more violent the motion of your vehicle, the greater the risk of those motions causing damage to your brain.
3. Penetrating injuries
When windshields shatter and vehicles crumple during a crash, small pieces of sharp glass and other materials go flying. Those tiny objects can penetrate the human body, sometimes including the skull. Entry points that are actually very small can lead to severe injuries.
4. Percussive force
Despite how Hollywood loves to overuse them for dramatic effect, explosions are quite rare in car crashes. However, they can sometimes occur, and the percussive force that they produce can result in a TBI.
If you have wounds on your head or scalp from penetrating injuries, if the vehicles that you were in rolled over or if you lost consciousness, then you are at elevated risk for a brain injury. Recognizing when you may need to seek medical evaluation for possible brain injuries and similar concerns can protect your well-being following a car crash.