What type of head injuries can you get from a car accident?

Head injuries are common during car accidents. A person may forcefully hit their head on a part of the car, or they may experience a severe jolt that causes an injury. A car accident head injury can be mild and short-term, such as a mild concussion, or one may require long-term treatment and care, altering a person’s quality of life. 

car accident head injury exam

Head injuries should always be taken seriously, and all victims should consider taking legal action to recover damages related to the head injury. Legal action can help victims recover compensation in full. 

Whether you’re not sure about the road ahead or you’re ready to file a legal claim to collect damages now, Mike Rafi can help. Mike Rafi is an established car accident lawyer with a history of success helping victims claim compensation for damages and losses after severe car accidents. 

Common Car Accident Injury Types

Car accidents can result in mild to severe head injuries, such as a coup-contrecoup injury, concussion, hematoma, and more.


A coup-contrecoup injury is a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI) that results in a cerebral contusion or bruise. A coup-contrecoup injury happens in two separate places: the area where the brain forcefully hits the skull, also known as a coup injury, and at the opposite end of the brain, also known as contrecoup. 

This dual-area injury happens after the forceful, sudden impact from the car accident causes the brain to strike both sides of the skull, causing painful damage. It can result in serious symptoms, including bleeding or swelling within the brain, headaches, blurred vision, and more.


A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI), and it is one of the most common head injuries to happen during a car accident. Concussions happen when the force of an abrupt, sudden deceleration and acceleration causes the brain to hit the wall of the skull hard. 

The loss of function that is associated with a concussion is usually temporary. Most times, they are mild and clear up easily, but sometimes, concussions can result in long-term consequences and permanent damage


A hematoma is blood outside of the blood vessels, and when it happens in or around the brain, it can be life-threatening. Most hematomas in the head are medical emergencies. Car accidents can result in intracranial hematomas, where blood will pool or collect within the brain’s tissues or underneath a person’s skull after a blood vessel ruptures. 

A subdural hematoma can also happen as a result of a severe head injury, where blood pools up between the brain and the skull in the dura mater. This type is often fatal. A hematoma can cause heavy pressure to build up in a person’s skull and can result in headaches, coma, loss of consciousness, permanent brain damage, and even death.

Brain Contusion

A brain contusion is a bruise in the brain that typically results from a hard impact to the skull and is also a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI). Bleeding occurs in small areas on the brain, rather than the pooling seen in a hematoma. During a car accident, a contusion can occur when the driver’s head forcefully strikes or collides with a part of the car, such as a window or windshield.

A brain contusion may damage the brain’s structure and can be very serious. It can result in loss of consciousness, swelling, cognitive changes, and more.

Diffuse Axonal Injury

A diffuse axonal injury in the head occurs due to extreme shaking or rotating that often happens in car accidents, such as when a vehicle makes an immediate stop and causes the brain and skull to move at different speeds. The brain essentially shakes within the skull. 

A diffuse axonal injury may even cause the brain to slightly disconnect from the body, and brain stem fibers may be torn. A person with a diffuse axonal injury may end up in a coma. Symptoms of a diffuse axonal injury can include headaches, dizziness, vomiting, and loss of consciousness.

Head Wounds

When an object or part of the car comes into contact with a person’s skull and penetrates through the skin due to extreme force that often accompanies severe car accidents, head wounds can happen. Head wounds can result in severe circumstances, such as extreme bleeding, paralysis, coma, difficulty breathing, and more.

Cracked or Fractured Skull

A cracked or fractured skull can happen when an object or part of the car penetrates a passenger or driver’s head, into the skull and brain. Surgery may be required to allow the person to heal properly and remove the object. 

It is a serious injury that can cause a wide range of complications and brain damage. When a cracked or fractured skull happens during a high-speed accident, it can be fatal.

Common Symptoms of Head Injuries

If you have been in a car accident and you’re not sure whether or not you have a head injury, you may look for one or more of these common symptoms.

  • Bleeding in the brain
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Headache
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Lightheadedness
  • Tinnitus
  • Leaking fluid from the nose or ear(s)
  • Seizures
  • Mood disturbances
  • Abnormal eye movements
  • Coordination or balance issues
  • Slurred speech
  • Sensitivity to sound and light

Lots of head injuries feature similar symptoms and side effects. Whether you have one symptom or many symptoms, visit your primary care physician or an urgent care center. You may need to visit a specialist and receive additional testing.

Get Help from a Leading Car Accident Lawyer

If you’ve sustained a car accident head injury and have questions about a potential lawsuit, Mike can help you get the compensation you deserve for your damages. We want to help you win justice for your suffering. 

Get a free consultation to discuss your case with seasoned car accident lawyer Mike Rafi – call 404-948-3311, chat with us online, or send us a message now!

If you have been injured by another party and need representation by a legal team that will fight hard for you, call Rafi Law Firm today for a free consultation at 404-800-9933.