What Kind of Head Injury Can You Receive From a Car Accident?

May 9, 2023

There are over 69,000 deaths from traumatic brain injuries per year. That’s at least 190 per day.

A head injury from a car accident is one of the most common causes. The speed and impact of the collision hit the skull and brain in ways that cause permanent damage.

Read on to learn the most common types of head injuries from car accidents.


A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury caused by sudden impacts or changes in movement or momentum. A loss of consciousness is common, but other symptoms include:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Blurred vision

Healing can take weeks, months, or years. Failure to seek immediate treatment can lead to permanent damage.

Contusions and Coup-Contercoup Contusions

A contusion is a medical term for a bruise and, yes, the brain can get bruised. It’s typically identified by pain and swelling on the head.

Small contusions heal on their own, but severe ones cause risks such as:

  • Blood clots
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Memory and cognition challenges

A coup-contrecoup injury is a contusion to both sides of the head. A blow jolts your brain from one side of the skull to the other. It’s an even more severe form with greater risk. 


Penetration occurs when an object breaks through the skull and enters the brain.

Car parts and glass fly at high speeds during a car accident, leaving everyone at risk of penetration. Penetration head injuries are often deadly or cause brain damage.

Diffuse Axonal Injuries

Diffuse axonal injuries occur due to severe head rotation during an accident. The term diffuse means it can damage wide regions of the brain.

Nerves get stretched beyond their limit and begin to tear and release chemicals. This can cause:

  • Seizures
  • Headaches
  • Migraines
  • Memory loss

Mild cases are treated in rehab. Serious cases can result in brain damage, impairment, coma, or even death.

Diffuse axonals are one of the most difficult car accident injury cases to take to court. They involve nerve damage, which can be difficult to prove without the right accident lawyer.

Skull Fractures

A skull fracture is perhaps the easiest head injury to identify. It often accompanies others such as contusions and concussions. There may be bruising or swelling where you were hit, or you may begin to bleed from your ears or nose.

Acquired Brain Injuries

The symptoms of a head injury from a car accident don’t always show up immediately. They aren’t always caused by the force of the accident. Other impacts include:

  • Blood loss
  • Chest complications
  • Lung and rib damage
  • Throat injuries 

These can cause a lack of blood flow and oxygen to the brain. It uses 20% of the body’s oxygen, and damage occurs in three minutes if it doesn’t get enough.

Legal Help for a Head Injury from a Car Accident

A head injury from a car accident can show up in numerous forms.

Skull fractures and penetration are two of the easiest head injuries to see. Concussions come from any hard force to the head. Contusions are bruises and a coup-contrecoup contusion affects both sides of the head or brain.

Diffuse axonal injuries are a subtle form of nerve damage that’s difficult to get a settlement for. You can even develop acquired brain injuries after the accident. 

If you need help filing your personal injury claim, contact Wright Gray to find a car accident lawyer today.

If you or someone you know has been injured, protect your future and your rights

Contact Wright Gray TODAY for legal guidance

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