Motor vehicle accidents involving a tractor-trailer and a car are more likely to cause severe injuries than those involving two passenger vehicles. The delicate tissues of the brain make it extremely susceptible to the violent trauma that often occurs in a truck-car crash. Whether it is a rear-end accident, an underride accident or a side-swipe, occupants of cars are in danger of serious head injuries.
Here are some of the most common traumatic brain injuries that people suffer in accidents with semitrucks.
Flying objects and projectiles are common in vehicle collisions. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, if something pierces the skull and enters the brain, medical professionals refer to it as a penetrating or open TBI. Damage typically affects only that portion of the brain and is likely to be immediate.
Closed head injury
Blunt force trauma can cause the brain to move inside the skull. The impact of brain tissue against bone can cause a concussion, contusions, torn nerves and other damage. For example, while the impact may occur when the front of the head hits the steering wheel, the brain may sustain torn tissues, blood vessels and nerves throughout rather than just in the frontal lobe.
Bleeding, bruising, leaking brain fluid and swelling can also create pressure inside the skull, so a nonpenetrating injury in one location may cause damage to a different region of the brain.
Secondary brain injury
A person with a severe brain injury may develop secondary damage as a result of common complications:
- Oxygen deprivation
- Edema (swelling of the brain)
- Intracranial pressure
- Loss of blood supply to an area of the brain due to the death of brain tissue
Symptoms of a secondary injury may occur within hours or days of the initial injury, but they could show up weeks or even months later. A medical professional should schedule a follow-up exam after any TBI, regardless of the apparent severity.