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Types of Head Injuries Common in Auto Accidents

Types of Head Injuries Common in Auto Accidents

Given the force and impact of an auto accident, head injuries are common for car crash victims. Head injuries can range from mild to severe, with the worst injuries causing permanent disability or even death. If you or someone you know has suffered a head injury in a New York auto accident they deserve to be compensated for the harm caused to them by those responsible for the crash.At the Law Offices of Justin D. Brandel our experienced auto accident attorneys zealously advocate on behalf of accident victims suffering from head injuries, and we are prepared to do the same for you. To learn more about our wide range of legal services for accident victims, call or contact our office today.

Scalp Laceration

Auto accidents routinely result in sharp debris being thrown around inside a vehicle after a crash. One head injury that can result is scalp lacerations. This type of injury occurs when sharp objects like metal or glass cut the head and scalp of a victim. Scalp lacerations may require stitches or even plastic surgery to fix after an accident in order to avoid permanent disfigurement.


A concussion is the most common type of head injury in an auto accident. A concussion can cause mild symptoms that disappear in a matter of days to severe issues that can last for years and cause disability. Symptoms of a concussion include headache, loss of consciousness, nausea or vomiting, fatigue, agitation, slurred speech, clear fluid running from ears and nose, lack of coordination, and confusion. An accident victim should seek immediate medical treatment after an accident to diagnose the severity of a concussion injury.


A contusion is also referred to as a brain bruise. This type of injury occurs when a force or object impacts the head from the outside, causing the brain to rattle inside of the skull. Contusion injuries can be mild or life threatening. Serious brain contusions can lead to brain herniation and swelling, which requires major surgery and immediate medical attention to avoid permanent injury or death. Symptoms of a contusion on the brain include cognitive changes, difficulty forming new memories, numbness or tingling, difficulty with balance or coordination, slurred speech, difficulty concentrating, and difficulty forming sentences.

Diffuse Axonal Injury

A diffuse axonal injury is another common injury in car accidents, especially those at high speeds, which occurs when significant forces are exerted on the head and brain typically from severe rotation or shaking. If the brain is moved forcefully within the skull hard enough, it can compromise the connection with the rest of the body and tear or shear fibers within the brain stem. Diffuse axonal injuries are almost always severe and auto accident victims suffering from this injury routinely end up in comas after a crash. Signs of a possible diffuse axonal injury include headache, vomiting, nausea, dizziness, fatigue, and a loss of consciousness.


A coup-contrecoup head injury also occurs when a substantial force or impact with an object occurs in an auto accident. This type of injury causes two injuries inside the head. The first injury occurs at the site of the impact, known as the coup, and the second injury occurs on the opposite side of the brain, known as the contrecoup. The force in an accident must be significant enough to impact the brain with enough force to cause damage on both sides. Signs of a coup-contrecoup accident include bleeding and swelling of the brain, skull fracture, loss of consciousness, headaches, seizures, dizziness, confusion, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, memory issues, mood disturbance, blurred vision, slurred speech, sensitivity to light and sound, and tinnitus in the ears.

Open Head Wound

An open head wound, or open head injury, involves the victim of an auto accident receiving a cracked or fractured skull in the crash in addition to a brain injury. Blood loss is common, as is swelling of the brain. This type of injury also runs the risk of infection and additional complications because of the open nature of the wound, and debridement is often required if debris from an auto accident gets into the wound. 

Penetration Head Wound

A penetrating head wound is a form of an open head wound that occurs when an object penetrates the skull and brain in an auto accident. A penetrating head wound routinely causes swelling of the brain and requires immediate surgery to remove the object and release the pressure inside the skull. Wound debridement may also be necessary for a penetrating head wound, as serious complications can arise from leaving pieces of an outside object inside the skull and brain. While a penetrating head wound is normally easy to identify, complications that can result from this type of injury include heavy blood loss, bleeding from the ears, seizures, difficulty breathing, loss of movement or sensation in limbs, paralysis, loss of consciousness, loss of bowel control, and coma.

Acquired Brain Injury

The last type of head injury seen in New York auto accidents is an acquired brain injury. This type of injury is different from other types of head injuries because the injury occurs inside the body and not from external forces. Two of the most common acquired brain injuries include anoxic and hypoxic injuries. Anoxic acquired brain injuries occur when the brain does not get enough blood to continue functioning properly, and hypoxic acquired brain injuries occur when the brain does not get enough oxygen to continue functioning properly. Lack of blood or oxygen starves the brain cells, which can permanently damage or kill the cells, causing permanent brain injury as brain cells do not regenerate. Victims of auto accidents that suffer acquired brain injuries often require a lifetime of additional care. 

To Learn More, Call Our Office

Head injuries caused by auto accident can be serious, costly, and result in permanent disability for crash victims. If you or a loved one has suffered a head injury in a New York auto accident the knowledgeable and experienced personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Justin D. Brandel are ready to help. Call the office or contact us today to schedule a consultation of your case now. 

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