Why car crashes cause so many serious brain injuries

On Behalf of | Feb 6, 2024 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

Car crashes are a leading cause of some of the worst injuries possible. People may break bones, damage their spinal cords or even suffer an amputation because of a car crash.

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is also a possibility as a result of a serious car wreck. There are numerous ways for someone to hurt their brain. TBIs can be the result of interpersonal violence. Contact sports have a strong association with brain injuries too. Falls from a major elevation could also cause major brain injuries. Yet, car crashes are among the leading causes of TBIs in the United States, in part because there are many different ways for a collision to injure someone’s brain.

Violent motions can injure the brain

When two motor vehicles collide, the motion of the vehicles often becomes very violent and unpredictable. One vehicle might roll over or spin. Those sudden motions may shake someone roughly in the vehicle, causing their brain to move around inside their skull. The skull may protect the brain from the initial trauma, but it can also cause injuries when the brain begins to swell and has no place to go. The more violent the movements of the vehicles during a crash, the greater the likelihood that someone may have a brain injury afterward.

Blunt-force trauma can injure the brain as well

Someone could hit their head on many different items during a car crash. The blunt-force trauma that occurs when someone hits their head can lead to swelling and sometimes even bleeding inside the skull.

Vehicles could potentially explode

Although it doesn’t happen nearly as often as Hollywood might make it seem, vehicles can explode after a crash occurs. In that scenario, there are two main risks that could cause a TBI. The first is the possibility that the explosion might generate percussive force. The power of the blast itself could damage human brains even if the explosion does not knock them off of their feet.

The second is the potential for penetrating injuries. While also possible during any type of collision, an explosion increases the likelihood that pieces of glass or other debris from the vehicles could fly through the air with so much force that they penetrate someone’s skull and end up injuring their brain.

In any of these scenarios, a car crash could lead to someone’s hospitalization and put them in need of extensive medical support. They may also have a lengthy leave of absence from work during the recovery or may become unable to do their job because of their TBI symptoms.

Understanding the types of injuries most likely to occur during a crash can help people spot warning signs that they need medical support after a collision.