Mechanisms of a Traumatic Brain Injury after an Accident

When someone is involved in a serious car, truck, or motorcycle accident, the chance of a traumatic brain injury is, unfortunately, a very real possibility. There are a number of forces involved in generating brain injuries. How serious your brain injury becomes depends on the type of force, direction, intensity, and duration of all the forces involved during your auto accident.

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) includes coup-countercoup, rotational, angular, and/or translational forces. TBI includes brain damage due to impact and/or damage due to changes in acceleration. In general, forces that involve the head being impacted with something cause focal injuries whereas movement of the brain inside the skull due to changes in acceleration (inertial movements) causes diffuse brain injuries. The physics of TBI mechanisms are listed below in terms of the direction of impact and head rotations.


Mechanisms of Traumatic Brain Injuries

The physics of TBI mechanisms are listed below in terms of the direction of impact and head rotations.

Direct Impact

Brain damage, hematomas, and/or contusions can occur directly under the position of impact and/or it can occur on the opposite side of impact. The brain actually ricochets inside the skull. Remember that the brain is floating in fluid and can move around inside somewhat. Medically this is called coup-countercoup mechanism. Coup means the brain crashed against the same side of the impact and countercoup means the brain crashed on the opposite side of the impact. If your head is hit by a moving object, then you will experience a coup injury or the same side injury. If your head is moving and you are hit by a stationary object you will experience countercoup or opposite side injury. In-vehicle accidents it is common for your head to crash forward and then go backward in your skull creating coup-countercoup. So, you can get both at the same time. This motion has an arch to it such that your head will bend forward, backward, or from side to side.

No Direct Contact

With sudden acceleration/deceleration, you can produce rotational or shear forces that affect the brain without impact. In this case, the brain stem (your neck) is damaged no matter the direction of change. This causes the brain stem to press against the spinal column. This causes concussions and hematomas in the brain.

Angular Impact

Angular changes in head movement or an angular impact causes an interaction between the head and neck. The head and neck will twist. If this occurs with a high-velocity acceleration and short duration, blood vessels at the surface of the brain will become injured. If angular changes occur with high-velocity acceleration and long duration, you end up with fiber tract damage (axon bundles)

Translational Acceleration

Pure translational acceleration occurs when the head moves in a straight line due to changes in acceleration. Recall the brain is floating in a fluid so the brain keeps moving in a straight line and crashes into the skull which causes focal injuries at the site of the brain crash as well as internal hematomas.

Rotational Accelerations

Rotational accelerations (moving the head left and right) cause concussions (brain stem damage) and diffuse axonal injury on the surface of the brain and deep within.

Combinations of all the above impacts and changes in direction of acceleration produce every type of head injury. Many serious motorcycle accidents include all the physical mechanisms producing serious brain injury.


Why You May Need A Brain Injury Lawyer

Traumatic brain injuries are very common within a serious car, truck, or motorcycle accident. TBI often involves damage to different areas of the brain that generate long-term disabilities and in some cases death. The complexity of brain anatomy makes it difficult to diagnose and repair. If you are in a serious vehicle accident make sure you have a brain scan done immediately and continue to follow through with more scans as TBI tends to be progressive. You may also be entitled to financial compensation for pain and suffering, medical bills, and lost wages. These types of accidents often involve long-term medical care and severe pain, so you need to consider the cost of continued medical care and the loss of your ability to earn wages in the future.

Contact a brain injury or auto accident lawyer near you as soon as possible to see if you qualify for a personal injury settlement. Speak with an experienced accident lawyer at the Ohio-based Chester Law Group today and get assistance on what you need to do to protect your rights. Call us at 800-218-4243.