Doctor demonstrating the effects of brain injury from a car accident to a patient | Hauptman, O'Brien, Wolf & Lathrop

A brain injury from a car accident should always be taken seriously. Traumatic brain injuries (also known as TBIs) can lead to major health problems and prolonged hospitalization.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 223,000 people received treatment for traumatic brain injury in 2019. In 2021, almost 70,000 TBI-related fatalities were reported.

Car crashes were responsible for 20 percent of these TBI deaths. This is not surprising, seeing as auto crash victims may suffer severe blows to the head in the event of a collision. Injury to the brain may be caused by deployment of the air bag, blunt force trauma to the head during the crash, and other factors.

If you or someone you love suffered a brain injury from a car accident, our lawyers can help you pursue the full compensation you deserve. Call Hauptman, O’Brien, Wolf & Lathrop at (402) 241-5020 for a FREE case review.

Potential Complications of Traumatic Brain Injury

Brain injuries may not be immediately apparent following a car accident. Seeking prompt medical attention can reduce the risk of complications.

Read More: What Are the Signs of Brain Damage After a Car Accident?

Some of the most serious complications associated with TBIs include:


Often referred to as a minor TBI, concussion is a temporary loss of mental and cognitive function that a victim experiences after suffering a blow or injury to the head.

Loss of Consciousness

Loss of consciousness occurs when the brain is jarred or moved around within the skull because of the collision. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke reports that there are four abnormal states of consciousness that point to the severity of brain damage or injury:

  • Minimally conscious state
  • Vegetative state
  • Coma
  • Brain death

Generally, the longer a victim stays unconscious and unresponsive, the higher their chances of long-term brain injury.

Fluid Buildup (Hydrocephalus)

Fluid accumulation can increase pressure within the skull, cause permanent brain damage, and may even be fatal if left untreated.

Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF) Leakage from the Ears

Although the prognosis for CSF leakage is generally good, it can lead to meningitis if it’s not quickly treated.


TBI patients are often at risk of developing lung infections like pneumonia, bladder infections, and meningitis. This is why they are monitored for these infections after suffering an injury to the brain.

Damage to Blood Vessels in the Brain

Also referred to as cerebral vasculature injury, this occurs in 5–46 percent of TBI patients. Damage to blood vessels in the brain can lead to brain bleeds and death if not caught early.

Nerve Damage

Often involving the cranial nerves (i.e., the nerves at the base of the skull) and/or olfactory nerves, nerve damage can lead to complications like loss of sensory abilities in the face or facial muscles paralysis.

Long-Term Difficulties Associated with Brain Injury from a Car Accident

Brain injuries from a car accident and other causes are capable of causing major health difficulties and can significantly impair the victim’s quality of life. Some of the common health issues victims have to deal with include:

Cognitive Impairment

The National Institutes of Health report that TBI patients may suffer memory, attention, and executive function impairment post-accident.

Seizures and Epilepsy

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that people who suffer from severe traumatic brain injury may develop epilepsy in the long term.

Motor Skill Dysfunction

Patients who suffer significant TBIs may struggle with their balance and develop difficulty in their fine motor coordination and control. They may find it difficult to move around, control their muscular reactions, and/or become clumsy in their movements.

Difficulty in Communication

TBI can lead to impairment of the part of the brain that controls speech and communication. Victims may be unable to speak for a long time after the injury, and they may have to relearn verbal communication. In milder instances, they may suffer slow or slurred speech.

Sensory and Perceptual Changes

Examples of sensory and perceptual changes following a TBI include impaired vision, facial paralysis, changes in olfactory perception, and more.

Emotional Disturbances

TBI victims may experience frequent sadness, mood swings, anger, and worry if they’re unable to keep up with other people because of their injury. In extreme cases, they may become suicidal.

Behavioral Changes

Brain injury victims can develop psychological and behavioral issues like anxiety and depression. They may also become more impulsive, irritable, and aggressive both to family members and outsiders.

Can You Recover from a Car Crash-Induced Traumatic Brain Injury?

That depends on the following factors:

  • The severity of your injuries
  • The type of injuries sustained
  • The parts of the brain that were affected 
  • Whether any brain tissue was destroyed
  • The age of the victim
  • If there were underlying health conditions

If parts of the brain were damaged, you may not be able to recover the use of those parts (damaged brain cells are incapable of regeneration). However, if the victim is young and the damage is not severe, they may be able to recover.

For instance, it is not unusual for the brain to reroute information or develop new neural pathways to make up for the loss of another part of the brain. Patients with moderate TBIs may recover with good medical care and rehabilitation.

Doctors may use the Glasgow Coma Scale to determine the TBI’s severity. This scale involves the use of certain parameters in the 3 to 15 range. Higher numbers mean less severity, while lower numbers mean high severity.

Victims who suffer severe trauma may require years of treatment and rehabilitative therapy to regain full or partial function. Ultimately, you’ll only be able to get a definite prognosis when a neurological specialist examines you.

Read More: How Do I Know If I Have a Brain Injury?

Brain Injury from a Car Accident? Get Help Today

Traumatic brain injuries often mean prolonged hospital stays, extensive medical bills, months or years of lost income, impaired ability to earn a living, possible financial ruin, and a likely lack of capacity to provide for one’s family. Even when you recover, you may not be able to return to the same job because of the lasting impact of the injury.

All of this can be overwhelming for even the strongest of individuals. This is why you need to speak to a skilled and experienced brain injury attorney about your case today.

The attorneys at Hauptman O’Brien Wolf & Lathrop can help make you whole. We know that money may never replace the time and capacity that you or your loved one may have lost as a result of the brain injury, but having a financial safety net can help take your mind off your financial woes and allow you to focus on recovery.

Our skilled lawyers can calculate the damages you are due and pursue the compensation you deserve in this very trying period of your life. We are committed to helping you get the best outcome possible.

Contact Hauptman, O’Brien, Wolf & Lathrop today for a FREE case review if you or someone you love suffered a brain injury from a car accident. Our firm serves clients in Omaha, Sarpy County, and throughout Nebraska and Iowa.

by Hauptman, O’Brien, Wolf & Lathrop
Last updated on - Originally published on

Posted in: Brain & Spinal Cord Injuries, Car Accidents