What happens when you suffer a brain injury in a car accident?

Concussions are among the most common injuries resulting from accidents. Just about anyone in British Columbia is at risk for such a brain injury, in particular victims of car accidents or those who suffer sports injuries. Understanding how a concussion occurs and what its initial warning signs are can help people better manage risks and respond to an incident.

Although concussions can occur in any number of circumstances, they are often discussed in relation to contact sports. For instance, a head-to-head collision between two football players running at top speed has the same impact as someone's head striking a windshield in a 40 km/h car crash. From a physics perspective, these 4,500 joules of energy is the same as being hit by a bowling ball dropped from a 28 story building.

During a violent collision, the skull -- which typically protects the brain -- is what causes the most damage. The thin cortex of the brain smashes into the bone, then suffers a second impact when the brain bounces back to the opposite side of the skull. This weakens or even kill nerve cells as they try to compensate, leading to short term and long term effects.

Distracted driving continues to increase the number of car accidents on British Columbia roads, putting people at risk for brain injury, other long-term medical issues, and even death. Victims often need support in connecting with their insurers about coverage and understanding personal injury law. A lawyer can help address any concerns about dealing with insurers and accessing care. When the negligence of another party is to blame, the attorney can pursue claims for monetary relief through the civil justice system.

Source: The Toronto Star, "What happens in a concussion?", Steve Buist, Aug. 30, 2017

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