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Car Accidents

Signs of a Car Accident Brain Injury are Not Always Obvious

Posted Dec 31, 2023 by Matt Boulton

Car accident brain injuries are sometimes referred to as invisible injuries. The reason for this is because car accident victims often don’t see any physical signs of an injury, despite the fact that trauma to the brain has occurred.

And while car accidents can be responsible for several types of invisible injuries, such as soft tissue damage, brain injuries continue to be one of the most evasive and misunderstood of all invisible car accident injuries.

Unfortunately, because it’s not always apparent to car accident victims that they’ve sustained a serious brain injury, they may simply claim, “I had my bell rung,” and brush off a seemingly minor headache, daze, or dizzy spell.

That said, any evidence or suspicion of head trauma requires immediate medical treatment and observation to ensure the brain did not suffer an injury.

Additionally, an experienced Indiana car accident lawyer can develop a strong case on your behalf to increase the chances of securing maximum compensation for a brain injury.

Attorney Matt Boulton cites head trauma as one of the most commonly seen injuries among his car accident clients. His clients’ brain injuries range in severity, leaving some with short-term confusion and vertigo, while others sustain life-altering damage to the brain.

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As such, attorney Boulton has put together a list of common car accident brain injuries that may be invisible to the eye, as well as some of their potential symptoms:


The most well-known and often discussed head injury, a concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI) that occurs when the brain makes contact with the side of the skull due to a sudden change in momentum or movement.

When you consider the abrupt stop and/or sudden deceleration involved in a vehicle collision, the vulnerability of a person’s head leaves the brain prime for a potential concussion.

However, car accident victims can also sustain a concussion without their head making any contact with the interior of a vehicle. An example of a non-contact concussion would be from the back-and-forth motion car accident victim’s experience that often results in whiplash.

The severity of car accident concussions can vary greatly, and victims may experience any number of symptoms, including:

  • Minor or severe headache(s)
  • Dizziness/Vertigo
  • Temporary loss of consciousness
  • Lost memory or accident amnesia
  • Nauseousness and/or vomiting
  • Lightheadedness and dazed states
  • Trouble with speech or slurring of words
  • Concentration problems
  • Changes in mood or personality

Brain Contusion

Commonly referred to as a “bruise,” contusions are not always given proper respect in terms of their ability to cause pain and/or suffering. With this in mind, if the brain sustains a contusion, it should always be considered a medical priority.

Car accident brain contusions are often the result of a person’s head making direct contact with the interior of the vehicle. Some common culprits of brain contusions include striking the steering wheel, dashboard, windshield, and believe it or not, other passengers.

The severity of a car accident brain contusion will vary largely depending on whether or not the victim was wearing a seatbelt. Car accident victims wearing seatbelts are likely to sustain a minor brain contusion, whereas those who are unbuckled may incur a serious contusion.

Below is a list of potential symptoms caused by car accident brain contusions:

  • Trouble with or lapses in memory
  • Changes in personality or mood
  • Problems with coordination
  • Sensations of tingling or numbness
  • Inability to fully remember or explain the accident

Ultimately, car accident brain contusions can include any number of additional symptoms dependent on the individual and collision. A doctor’s findings can better identify and tailor treatment related to the person’s specific condition.

Coup-Contrecoup Brain Injury

One of the more serious car accident brain injuries, a coup-contrecoup injury occurs when a person’s brain experiences a sudden jerk, causing it to make contact with both sides of the skull.

Due to the serious nature of coup-contrecoup brain injuries, they require immediate, emergency medical care. Delay in seeking evaluation and treatment can result in long-term or permanent disability as a result of damage to the brain.

Coup-contrecoup brain injuries can exhibit a wide range of symptoms, including:

  • Swelling of the brain
  • Minor or major skull fractures
  • Bleeding that occurs in the brain
  • Dizziness and/or vertigo
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Short or long-term states of confusion
  • Headache(s)

Diffuse Axonal Brain Injury

A diffuse axonal injury is a result of tearing that occurs inside the structure of the brain, typically caused by violent shaking and/or rotation.

The types of forces required to cause a diffuse axonal brain injury are often seen in high-speed car accidents. High-speed impacts and sudden stops can cause a person’s skull to move at a faster rate than the brain, resulting in the aforementioned tears to the brain.

Diffuse axonal brain injuries cannot be diagnosed without appropriate medical review and examination, however, as with other types of brain injuries, the following symptoms may occur:

  • Minor or severe headache
  • Vomiting or nausea
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Tiredness or fatigue
  • Dizziness and/or vertigo

No matter the type or severity, car accident brain injuries are often invisible and can share symptoms with a number of other cognitive conditions. This is why it is so important for car accident victims to seek immediate medical attention.

Don’t Ignore a Car Accident Brain Injury

As we’ve learned, car accident brain injuries will not always be obvious. They may also largely differ in their severity despite having a number of shared symptoms. For this reason, it is important to seek medical attention following a car accident, even if you think your injury is minor.

Additionally, after you’ve sought medical treatment, it may prove beneficial to ask an experienced Indiana car accident attorney to review your accident and any potential claim you may have against the liable party’s insurance company.

Free Car Accident Case Review

For a free evaluation of your potential car accident brain injury case, you can consult with attorney Matt Boulton at absolutely no cost. For a free online review, simply send the details of your incident to us by using our firm’s confidential, free contact form.

Boulton Law Group’s Zero Fee Guarantee is extended to anyone who believes they may have suffered a brain injury as a result of an auto accident. Our Guarantee means you owe absolutely nothing until a financial recovery is made on your behalf.

Matt Boulton

Author Matt Boulton

Attorney Matt Boulton is an award-winning personal injury attorney with more than 25 years of experience helping seriously injured people throughout Indiana. He designed his firm for the client who expects exceptional service and passionate, successful legal representation.

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