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What Are The Symptoms of TBI In a Car Accident?

A doctor reviews a CT scan showing a patient's brain.

Traumatic brain injuries are common in car wrecks.

One of the most common injuries caused by car accidents is traumatic brain injury (TBI). Symptoms of TBI in a car accident can appear immediately or may develop slowly over hours to days. If you sustain a crash-related TBI, you could experience a wide range of symptoms, from mild headaches to severe and debilitating symptoms. It's important to understand how to recognize these symptoms and take the right steps to pursue a successful injury claim.

Physical symptoms of TBI

Physical TBI symptoms can affect various aspects of your life, such as personal independence, professional capabilities, and social interactions. Here's how some of the common physical symptoms might affect day-to-day living:

  • Headaches or migraines┬ásignificantly impair the ability to concentrate, work, or even perform daily tasks.
  • Nausea or vomiting makes maintaining a normal eating pattern difficult and leads to nutritional deficiencies.
  • Fatigue or drowsiness limits participation in social activities, reduces work or academic performance, and affects the ability to drive safely or operate machinery.
  • Speech difficulties┬ámake communication challenging, potentially leading to social isolation and difficulties in professional settings where clear communication is essential.
  • Dizziness or loss of balance increases the risk of falls and injuries. It can also make navigating public spaces, using transportation, or engaging in physical activities difficult.
  • Sensitivity to light or sound affects lifestyle and environment, such as avoiding crowded, noisy places or needing to wear sunglasses indoors.
  • Sensory problems (e.g., blurred vision, ringing in the ears) affect the ability to drive, read, work on a computer, or engage in hobbies that require fine motor skills.

Cognitive symptoms of TBI

The cognitive symptoms of TBI can affect your ability to perform daily tasks, maintain relationships, and function effectively in both personal and professional settings. For example:

  • Difficulties with short-term memory make it hard to remember new information, follow conversations, or recall recent events.
  • Impaired concentration and attention make it challenging to focus on tasks and lead to decreased productivity.
  • Impaired executive functioning often results in difficulties managing daily responsibilities, such as paying bills on time, maintaining a household, or planning activities.
  • Communication difficulties affect verbal and written communication skills, including finding the right words, understanding complex conversations, and following instructions.
  • Reduced judgment and insight affect the ability to assess situations accurately and make safe, appropriate decisions. This can increase the likelihood of engaging in risky behaviors, making poor financial decisions, or having difficulty recognizing one's own limitations.
  • Behavioral and emotional challenges often result in mood swings, irritability, or a decreased ability to cope with stress.

Severe symptoms that may develop immediately or soon after the injury

In severe cases, the following TBI symptoms may develop immediately after a car accident or within hours or days:

  • Loss of consciousness for a few minutes to hours.
  • Convulsions or seizures.
  • Inability to awaken from sleep.
  • Weakness or numbness in fingers and toes.
  • Clear fluids draining from the nose or ears.
  • Severe confusion.
  • Agitation, combativeness, or other unusual behavior.

Types of TBIs sustained in car wrecks

Common traumatic brain injuries sustained in car accidents include:


Concussions are the most common type of TBI in car accidents. They occur when a sudden impact or acceleration-deceleration forces the brain to strike the inside of the skull. Symptoms may include headaches, dizziness, confusion, and memory problems.


Contusions are bruises on the brain caused by direct impact to the head during a car accident. They can result in swelling, bleeding, and neurological deficits, depending on their severity and location.

Diffuse Axonal Injury (DAI)

DAI occurs when the brain's nerve fibers are stretched, torn, or sheared due to rapid acceleration or deceleration forces in a car accident. It can lead to widespread damage throughout the brain and severe neurological impairments.

Skull Fracture

A skull fracture involves a break in one or more bones of the skull. In car accidents, the force of impact can cause the head to strike against objects or surfaces, resulting in fractures that may further endanger the brain and surrounding tissues.


Hematomas are blood clots or bleeding within or around the brain, often caused by the head striking an object during a car accident. Depending on their size and location, hematomas can exert pressure on the brain tissue and lead to serious complications.

What should I do if I sustained a TBI in a car accident?

If you or a loved one has suffered a TBI in a car accident, it's essential to consult with medical professionals and consider seeking legal representation to protect your rights and pursue fair compensation for your losses. The stakes are often high in brain injury claims, and the insurance companies are keenly aware of this fact. Consequently, they may utilize various strategies to minimize their financial liability, including disputing the severity of the injury, downplaying its impact on your life, or offering inadequate settlements.

At Twenge + Twombley Law Firm, our attorneys can assess the true value of your claim, negotiate with insurance adjusters, and, if necessary, take your case to court to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. Don't let insurance companies dictate the outcome of your brain injury claim. With the right legal support, you can assert your rights, hold negligent parties accountable, and secure the financial resources needed to rebuild your life after a devastating injury. Contact us online or call one of our law offices in Beaufort, Bluffton, or Hilton Head Island.

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