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Signs of Traumatic Brain Injury After a Car Accident

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Call Accident Help Zone at (888) 412-8488 to find a reliable doctor.

Car accidents can cause many injuries, but few can affect your life as severely as a traumatic brain injury. 218,936 drivers and passengers suffer this type of injury annually, according to the CDC. Knowing the signs of traumatic brain injury can tell you when to get help, so learn about TBI symptoms and when to seek a neurologist in New York, New Jersey, or Connecticut.

How a Car Accident Can Cause Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

During a car accident, the force of hitting your head on a steering wheel, windshield, or dashboard causes damage inside your skull. Brain damage can range from swelling to bleeding, with some symptoms waiting days to appear. Your family doctor may diagnose certain symptoms, but looking for a “neurologist near me” can help pinpoint potential brain damage a primary care doctor may not realize.

Mild brain damage may temporarily shake up your brain cells, but if you’ve injured your brain tissue, you’ll usually show more severe symptoms. Children and adults present differently with traumatic brain injury, so understanding the difference can help you recognize TBI symptoms in anyone of any age.

TBI Symptoms in Adults

Adults exhibiting symptoms of a TBI often have headaches, nausea, or fatigue. They may have trouble speaking clearly or keeping their balance, experience blurry vision, or become sensitive to noise and light. Sometimes they may have issues with concentrating or remembering what happened or may develop anxiety, depression, or sleeping issues.

If an adult suffers a loss of consciousness for longer than a few minutes, they may have a severe traumatic brain injury. These injuries can cause similar symptoms like headaches and nausea, but victims may also suffer seizures, extreme confusion, or slurred speech. 

TBI Symptoms in Children

Young children, toddlers, and infants may have difficulty communicating their symptoms with you, but you can still recognize traumatic brain injury with basic observation. Many children suffer changes in their appetite and sleep patterns, exhibiting unusual drowsiness. Others may cry incessantly and refuse to calm down.

Personality changes can also indicate traumatic brain injury. If a child suddenly stops playing with their favorite toys or develops depression after hitting their head, they may have a TBI.

Treatments for Traumatic Brain Injury

If you suspect that you or a loved one has suffered a traumatic brain injury after a car accident, visiting a health care professional can help prevent further brain damage. Traumatic brain injury treatment usually starts with a visual inspection and discussions with the doctor regarding what happened in the accident. After speaking with the patient and testing for signs of traumatic brain injury, the doctor may order a CT scan or MRI to gauge the extent of the damage.

EMTs often catch severe brain injuries at the accident site. Depending on the severity of the injury, patients may need surgery, medication, or for the most severe cases, a medically induced coma to let the brain recuperate as best it can. Neurologists will carefully administer treatments and tests to see how the patient responds.

After a traumatic brain injury, many patients will need rehabilitation services. These services range from teaching the patient to walk or talk to helping the patient regain social and daily life skills.

Life After a Traumatic Brain Injury

TBIs following a car accident can severely impact a person’s life, changing the way they think, speak, and act. Adult patients have difficulty returning to their normal life, while a 2012 study found that children suffering from a severe TBI were 5.8 times more likely to have poor quality of life. Children can also experience a 15% jump in the risk of behavioral or emotional issues, according to the University of Rochester Medical Center. 

Neurologists, psychologists, and other specialists can help TBI patients recover, though family members and friends should also know how a patient’s life can change after a traumatic brain injury.


After a TBI, some patients will engage in risky behavior or lack self-control or self-awareness, making it difficult for them to gauge and handle social situations.


Some TBI patients suffer from depression, anxiety, or insomnia and often need help understanding their emotions and how to communicate about them.


Traumatic brain injuries can leave some patients with tinnitus, poor hand-eye coordination, double vision, or balance problems.

Cognitive Skills

Many TBI patients may have problems with their memory or learning capabilities, while others will have difficulties with organization, decision-making, and reasoning skills.


Suffering a TBI can cause some patients to have poor communication skills, making it difficult for them to speak, write, or understand others well.

Find a Neurologist to Treat Car Accident TBIs with Accident Help Zone

Find a Neurologist to Treat Car Accident TBIs

Suffering a traumatic brain injury after a car accident can leave many patients wondering what to do and how to get medical help. Finding a neurologist through Accident Help Zone’s online directory can put you directly in contact with a doctor who can help TBI patients. Doctors in our directory accept most insurance plans, including workers’ compensation, no-fault, and PIP (personal injury protection).

Same-day appointments may be available. Find a doctor near you!

FAQs About TBIs Following a Car Accident

How Do I know If I’ve Had a Traumatic Brain Injury?

Signs of traumatic brain injury often appear shortly after a car accident, with symptoms including headaches, nausea, difficulty speaking or thinking clearly, and seizures.

Can Traumatic Brain Injury Heal on Its Own?

A mild traumatic brain injury can often heal itself with enough rest. However, anyone suffering from a TBI should have a family member or close friend monitor them for worsening symptoms.

How Long Does a Traumatic Brain Injury Last?

Depending on the severity, a traumatic brain injury may last anywhere from a few weeks to the rest of your life. Getting medical attention as soon as you notice the signs of traumatic brain injury can help mitigate lasting brain damage from a TBI.

If you’ve suffered a TBI in a car accident, you may also want to know the long-term effects of skull fractures.