What Goes On With The Brain During And After A TBI Accident?

TBI Accident

Written by Jeremy D. Earle, JD

February 1, 2023

Every year, an estimated 1.7 million individuals in the United States suffer a traumatic brain injury,  according to the CDC (TBI). Approximately 52,000 people die, 275,000 people are hospitalized, and 1.4  million people—nearly 80% of all cases—are treated in an emergency department.

It’s estimated that millions more go unnoticed and untreated. In addition, TBIs account for around a third of all injury- related fatalities. Concussions or other mild traumatic brain injuries account for around 75% of these  TBIs. There is no precise figure, but TBIs are expected to cost $60 billion in direct expenses, such as  medical bills, and indirect costs, such as lost productivity, lost earnings, and so on.


An external physical force, such as a car accident, sliding and striking your head, or the handlebars of  a bicycle entering the skull, may cause brain injury. The occurrence must have happened due to an  injury to be categorized as a TBI, as the term suggests. A stroke or tumor, for example, is not categorized  as TBI since they have an internal or genetic etiology.

TBIs are often mistaken for the symptom of loss of consciousness. A TBI does not need a person to lose  consciousness. Every year, a large number of TBI instances, such as concussions, occur without the  patient ever being “knocked out.” Similarly, some individuals endure deep head wounds and remain completely conscious throughout.

The TBI Model Systems are used to develop universally agreed criteria for determining whether or not a TBI has occurred. Damage to brain tissue as a result of an external force, as well as at least one of the following:

There has been a recorded loss of consciousness.

Amnesia refers to a person’s inability to recollect a distressing accident.

The trauma has caused a skull fracture, a post-traumatic seizure, or an abnormal brain scan.


The following are the most common causes of TBI: Collisions (40%)

Being struck by an item (16 percent ) Car accidents (14%);

Assaults (11 percent ) Various (19 percent )

These figures represent all types of TBIs, even mild ones. On the other hand, car wrecks are the most  common cause of moderate to severe TBI, which is defined as injuries that need admission to a neuro- intensive care unit.

Even though there are 1.7 million TBIs in the United States each year, the number increases. More  precisely, the frequency of ER visits due to fall-related TBIs is rising in both the younger and older demographic groups.


The brain, as one would expect, is an enormously essential organ. Without it, other vital organs, such as  the lungs, heart, and kidneys, would be dead lumps of tissue. The brain weighs roughly 3.4 pounds, while  the human head weighs 8 pounds (actually, more like 10 pounds, thanks, Jerry Mcguire). The brain   is made up of incredibly fragile soft tissue held in place by cerebrospinal fluid inside the skull.

A TBI is caused by the forceful movement of the brain within the skull. The brain may be squashed,  squeezed, stretched, and pushed since it is soft, malleable tissue. This happens most commonly when the cranium accelerates or decelerates suddenly.

The brain may move about because it is suspended in  a liquid (similar to how a yolk is suspended in an egg and does not contact the sides). The brain  continues in the direction when the skull abruptly speeds up or slows down, slamming against the skull  wall. This may happen due to a car accident, a fall, or any other kind of trauma.

Unless acted upon by another force, an item in motion continues to move at the same speed and in the same direction. It’s important to comprehend Isaac Newton’s First Law of Motion to grasp this notion.  We simply need to concentrate on the second portion of the statute, which reads as follows:…

Consider an car collision for the sake of demonstration. Assume a person is driving ahead at 60  miles per hour in a car. This indicates that their brain is likewise moving at 60 mph. When an car  collides with another car, it slows down considerably in a fraction of a second, let’s say to 0 mph.

This implies that the brain continues to move forward at 60 mph for a fraction of a second until it is acted with by another force, in this instance, the solid skull. The brain has nowhere else to go when it collides with the skull and bangs into it. It’s evident from this image how destructive an car accident can be to the brain.


As previously stated, a TBI may occur due to the brain colliding with the skull or as a result of a foreign  object colliding with the brain.

The skull and the brain have not been breached in a closed head injury. The skull and other protective  layers of the head are pierced and exposed to the outside air in an open head injury. A closed injury, for example, happens when one hits one’s head on something hard, such as a steering wheel.

The brain isn’t  exposed since the skull isn’t broken. A piece of steel piercing the skull and entering the brain tissue is an  example of an open head injury.

Closed head traumas may result in brain tissue bruising, swelling and pressure, axon and nerve damage,  and blood vessel tears. Damage to the axons may be limited to a particular brain location or, more widespread, affect the whole brain (diffuse axonal injury).

Although open head traumas may sound or seem more dramatic, the damage is usually limited to one region of the brain. This usually indicates that just one area of the brain has been impacted. However,  depending on the locale, these injuries may be quite severe and even fatal.


The initial trauma of the event or occurrence that caused the injury causes primary injuries. In the hours,  days, and weeks after the main injury, secondary injuries arise due to damage or complications from the  primary injury. Doctors aim to stabilize, correct, and treat the main damage while avoiding a subsequent  injury while treating a TBI.


A concussion is a condition in which the brain is forcefully thrown about, shredding nerves, blood  vessels, and releasing chemicals.

Although not all skull fractures result in brain injury, if the skulls are depressed into the brain, or a portion of the skull breaks off and enters the brain, a fracture may result in a TBI.


Diffuse axonal injury causes the neurons (brain nerve cells) and axons to stretch and perhaps rip (fibers  that transfer information). The disruption of the brain’s usual communication and chemical processes  caused by nerve tissue ripping may result in temporary or permanent brain injury, unconsciousness, or  death.

A foreign item penetrates the skull and makes contact with the brain, causing a penetration injury. This  may be localized when a sharp piece of metal enters and stays in one spot or when a bullet enters and bounces about the skull.


Intracranial hemorrhage is a kind of bleeding that occurs within the skull due to damaged blood vessels.

Swelling of the brain is your body’s reaction to injury, but it may be more dangerous in the brain since  the skull restricts where excess swelling can travel. Swelling in the brain may prevent vital fluids, blood,  and oxygen from reaching the brain.

Increased intracranial pressure refers to the pressure that rises within the skull due to the enlargement of the brain. Damage to other regions becomes more probable as the pressure increases.

Hypoxia in the brain refers to a shortage of oxygen in the brain cells. The severity of a TBI may be measured in a variety of ways.

Because brain injuries are not precise, diagnosing the severity of a brain injury is difficult. Mild, moderate, and severe TBI are the most prevalent classifications. However, a few factors are often considered, such as the length of a person’s coma, their coma rating, the severity of their memory loss  (amnesia), and brain imaging findings.

Mild TBI -Brief loss of consciousness, generally a few seconds or minutes after the TBI – Amnesia lasting  less than an hour after the TBI

-Results of a normal brain scan

Moderate TBI -Amnesia for 1–24 hours after the TBI -Loss of consciousness for 1–24 hours after the TBI

-An abnormal brain might have negative consequences.

Severe TBI -Amnesia for more than 24 hours after the TBI -Loss of consciousness or coma for more than  24 hours after the TBI

-Results of a brain scan that are abnormal


A coma is a condition of unconsciousness from which a person cannot be roused.

Vegetative Condition — a state in which a person is not in a coma but is unaware of his or her surroundings.

Persistent A vegetative condition that has endured for more than a month is known as a vegetative  state.

A person with a severe TBI is no longer in a coma or vegetative state but interacts and reacts inconsistently with and to their surroundings in a minimally responsive condition.

As previously stated, the Glasgow Coma Scale is used to determine the severity of a coma. This is  accomplished via the employment of three methods: eye-opening, movement, and vocal response. It is  determined if the patient can open their eyes, move their body parts, and answer vocally to inquiries on their own.

Post-traumatic amnesia is another element that influences severity. After a traumatic brain injury,  individuals often forget the accident, as well as some of the events before and following it. The length of

the memory loss might be used to determine the severity. The severity of memory loss increases with  the length of time the memory is lost.

Finally, imaging technologies are employed to aid in the assessment of a TBI’s severity. CT scans and MRIs are the two most frequent forms of imaging used to scan the brain. Many different types of brain injuries may be identified using these precise scans of the brain anatomy. However, not all symptoms can be discovered in this manner, which is why additional symptoms are considered.


A traumatic brain injury may range from a minor concussion that resolves within a few days to a life- threatening or life-altering accident. When a person has a moderate or severe TBI, the consequences  may be devastating to both the patient and their family. They can need a lot of medical attention, rehabilitation, or in-home care. This will be difficult enough without adding the financial burden of a TBI caused by carelessness; there is no need for the sufferer and their family to bear the financial burden of  a TBI caused by negligence.

If you or a loved one is in this circumstance, you may be able to seek compensation. Warrior Car Accident Lawyers, will research your case completely to guarantee you get any damages to which you are legally entitled. For a free consultation and case review, call 719-300-1100 now. We are  eager to assist you in your emotional, physical, and financial recovery.

Warrior Car Accident Lawyers is a law firm that  specializes in personal injury cases.

Free Consultation


You May Also Like…