A car accident can be a traumatic experience. You could get jolted forward or backward which can result in the brain getting shaken against the skull. This can result in the tearing of tissues and blood vessels in the brain, leading to traumatic brain injury (TBI). Delayed brain injury may be apparent 72 hours after the crash or even longer. This is because the brain first tries to come to terms with the injury itself. But only after this fails and the brain is overwhelmed do the symptoms of traumatic brain injury become more apparent. What many people may not realize is that symptoms of brain injury may not immediately manifest, creating a silent threat that can reveal itself days or even weeks after the incident.

Understanding Delayed Brain Injury

The intricate nature of the human brain adds complexity to the aftermath of a car accident. In its attempt to cope with the trauma, the brain may not immediately exhibit symptoms of injury. The tearing of tissues and blood vessels within the brain may take time to manifest, and brain injury symptoms may become apparent 72 hours or longer after the car accident. During this period, the brain struggles to comprehend and respond to the injury, and only when overwhelmed does it finally reveal the signs of traumatic brain injury.

How Common Are Brain Injuries From A Car Accident?

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), car accidents are the second leading cause of traumatic brain injury (TBI) in the United States. Car accidents account for around 25% of hospitalizations related to traumatic brain injuries every year. However, this statistic does not include the brain injuries treated in emergency departments and urgent care centers in the country. Therefore the actual percentage of people who suffer traumatic brain injuries may be significantly higher than reported. The underreporting underscores the impact of car accidents on brain health, emphasizing the urgent need for awareness, prevention, and comprehensive medical attention following any car accident.

Common Symptoms Of Brain Injury

Identifying the symptoms of brain injury is crucial for a timely diagnosis and treatment. A mild traumatic brain injury may result in headaches, dizziness, memory lapses, loss of balance, tinnitus, depression or anxiety, difficulty concentrating, mood changes, light or sound sensitivity, vomiting, nausea, drowsiness, fatigue, sleep issues, and changes in speech, vision, smell or taste.

If you have a moderate to severe traumatic brain injury, you may experience a loss of consciousness for minutes to hours after the car accident. More serious brain injuries may result in worsening headaches, seizures, extreme confusion, challenges in coordination, slurring of speech, or feeling of numbness in toes and fingers. Victims may exhibit unusual changes in behavior and become aggressive or agitated. In extreme cases they may even slip into a coma.  

How Are Brain Injuries Treated After A Car Accident?

The timely and accurate diagnosis of traumatic brain injuries is crucial for effective treatment. Symptoms may become evident immediately or weeks after the accident, emphasizing the importance of seeking medical attention after any car crash, particularly if head trauma is involved. Doctors will use a 15 point test called the Glasgow Coma Scale, to see if a brain injury has occurred and judge its severity.  A CT scan or MRI may be conducted at the hospital to assess the damage to the brain. Seeking medical attention after a car crash not only ensures proper documentation of injuries but also facilitates the initiation of appropriate treatment. 

The extent of rehabilitation required for a traumatic brain injury depends on its severity. For mild TBIs, individuals may need rest and time to recover, coupled with cognitive therapy to address memory and concentration issues. Moderate to severe TBIs often necessitate intensive rehabilitation, involving physical, occupational, and speech therapy. These rehabilitation efforts aim to restore lost skills, improve cognitive function, and enhance overall quality of life.

What To Expect If You Suffer A Brain Injury After A Car Accident?

The aftermath of a traumatic brain injury can significantly impact one’s quality of life. Depending on the severity of the injury, individuals may face challenges in speaking clearly, walking, or performing routine activities. More severe cases may require hospital monitoring to ensure an adequate supply of oxygen and blood to the brain, preventing further complications.

More severe TBIs need to be monitored at the hospital to see that you have sufficient oxygen and blood supply to the brain so that further complications are avoided. Brain bleeding, inflammation or reduced oxygen supply to the brain could require emergency surgery or management through medication that will control the damage. The road to recovery can be long and challenging, with medical expenses and potential loss of wages adding additional burdens.

Along with a physical injury, those who experience brain injury from a car crash experience a psychological impact as well as financial strain. Individuals may grapple with changes in mood, personality, and behavior, leading to increased anxiety, depression, or even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Coping with these mental health challenges requires a holistic approach that includes counseling, support groups, and, in some cases, medication. 

A brain injury can impose a significant financial burden on the affected individual and their family. Medical expenses, including hospital stays, rehabilitation, and ongoing therapy, can accumulate rapidly. Moreover, the injured party may experience a loss of income if they are unable to work during their recovery. Seeking compensation through legal channels, such as a Seattle brain injury case, becomes crucial to alleviate the financial strain and secure the necessary resources for rehabilitation and ongoing care.


A traumatic brain injury is a life-altering event that demands immediate attention and proper care. If you’ve suffered a brain injury due to a car accident, seeking medical help is paramount. Beyond that, obtaining legal assistance to navigate the complexities of a car accident claim can be crucial. Recognizing the delayed onset of symptoms, understanding the common indicators, and seeking prompt medical attention are crucial steps in mitigating the impact. Additionally, the importance of legal support cannot be overstated, as it plays a pivotal role in securing the compensation necessary for rehabilitation, recovery, and rebuilding a fulfilling life.