Although falls are responsible for a large number of traumatic brain injuries, vehicle crashes rank second overall as a major cause of TBI.

The impact of a collision can literally rattle the brain, and, in some cases, the victim may face lifelong treatment.

What happens

There are two forms of traumatic brain injury: open and closed. The former is much more severe since it occurs when a foreign object penetrates the skull and becomes lodged in the brain.

A bump to the head causes the more common closed form of TBI. For example, if the victim’s head strikes the steering wheel or dashboard during impact, the blow could either result in a concussion, which is a mild form of TBI, or more serious brain damage. The severe jolt of a vehicle crash can cause the brain to move and push against the inside of the skull, which can result in bruising or in the stretching or tearing of nerve tissue.

How rehabilitation helps

Although damaged brain cells begin to rewire themselves following an injury, the effort is not wholly successful, and some level of permanent impairment often remains. Rehabilitation for TBI has two goals: to help the patient relearn forgotten skills and to compensate for any ongoing impairment. A combination of training and dedicated practice helps to unlock information that is still present in the brain and allows the patient to work around the TBI issues and return to a fulfilling life.

Some impairment, such as damage to cognitive processes like memory and language, will likely remain for a lifetime. However, an accident victim dealing with TBI has the right to expect financial compensation to cover current and future medical expenses and more.