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Traumatic Brain Injury: Causes, Types & Treatments

Traumatic Brain Injury: Causes, Types & Treatments

Car crashes are one of the leading causes of traumatic brain injury as well as TBI-related hospitalizations and deaths. The types of TBI injuries include concussions, hemorrhages and coup-contrecoup injuries. Treatment can include neuropsychological care as well as speech and occupational therapy.

What is a traumatic brain injury?

A traumatic brain injury after a car accident occurs when the violent forces or impact of the car crash disrupt the normal functioning of the person’s brain due to bruising, bleeding, torn or damaged tissue, losing consciousness and/or losing memory of events both before and after the auto accident. 

How the Philadelphia Head Injury Questionnaire helps identify TBI victims

The Philadelphia Head Injury Questionnaire is an invaluable tool for medical professionals and attorneys to help them quickly identify people who have likely suffered a traumatic brain injury or a concussion. There are dozens of questionnaires and assessments out there, and many go into much greater depth and are more comprehensive, but the main value of the PHIQ is that it is a way to identify symptoms of a possible brain injury in 5-10 minutes.  

The reason that it is so important that doctors – and the attorneys who help auto accident victims – consider using the Philadelphia Head Injury Questionnaire is because the published medical literature shows that EMS and hospital emergency rooms can miss approximately 56 to 80 percent of brain injuries.

Click here to view the Philadelphia Head Injury Questionnaire.

Traumatic brain injury causes

The causes of a traumatic brain injury resulting from an auto accident are usually one of two things. Either the force from the sudden impact of the crash causes a person’s brain to slam against the inside of his or her skull or the person’s head strikes or is struck by a solid object.

The extreme force generated by a car crash can cause a TBI by causing a person’s head to whip frontwards and backwards, resulting in the person’s brain smashing first against the front interior of the skull and then against the back. This can cause brain bruising as well as bleeding.

During a crash, a person’s head may also suffer a blow or a strike from being hit by or hitting the steering wheel, the dashboard, the windshield or a side window or any other solid, immovable part of the vehicle. 

Suing for pain and suffering compensation

You can sue the at-fault, negligent driver who caused the car crash that resulted in your traumatic brain injury for compensation for pain and suffering damages – but you must be able to show that you suffered a “serious impairment of body.” 

In this lawsuit, you can also recover excess No-Fault medical and wage loss benefits which are the portions of your medical bills and lost wages that exceed what is covered by the auto insurance policy through which you are claiming No-Fault benefits and/or the maximum recoveries allowed by Michigan’s No-Fault auto insurance law. Neither require proof of a “serious impairment of body function.” 

A suit for pain and suffering compensation must be filed within 3 years of your crash. 

No-Fault benefits for medical bills and lost wages

After you have suffered a TBI in an auto accident, you can recover No-Fault benefits to pay for your medical bills and lost wages (if your TBI has disabled you from returning to work) as well as medical transportation costs, household replacement services and attendant care.

However, in order to be able to legally recover these benefits, you must first file an application for No-Fault benefits – which is also called a “written notice of injury” – within one (1) year after the auto accident that caused  your TBI. (MCL 500.3145(1) and (4)) 

If you do not file the application on time – within ONE YEAR of the crash – you will lose your right to claim and recover benefits and the insurance company can deny your claim without you being able to sue.

TBI Symptoms

If you were in an auto accident and you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, seek immediate medical attention so that you can be examined and evaluated for a TBI.

Symptoms to watch for include:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Loss of memory of events before and after the crash
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty thinking and speaking
  • Headaches
  • Depression
  • Feeling dazed and/or disoriented
  • Feeling drowsy and/or difficult to arouse
  • Difficulty making decisions and solving problems
  • Difficulty concentrating and paying attention
  • Difficulty communicating
  • Difficulty with planning and organization
  • Word-finding difficulty 
  • Problem-solving difficulty
  • Poor judgment and lack of insight
  • Slurred speech
  • Blurred vision
  • Sensitivity to noise and light
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Balance problems
  • Ringing in ears
  • Loss of sense of taste and/or smell
  • Change in mood
  • Decrease in energy levels
  • Change in sex drive
  • Change in sleep patterns and development of sleep disorders
  • Increased aggression
  • Movement disorders
  • Seizures

Types of traumatic brain injury

There are 8 major types of traumatic brain injury that a person may suffer as a result of a car crash. They are: (1) concussions; (2) hematomas and hemorrhages; (3) diffuse axonal injury; (4) coup-contrecoup injury; (5) brain contusions; (6) skull fracture; (7) edema; and (8) second impact syndrome.

Traumatic brain injury treatment

Traumatic brain injury treatment may include: (1) neuropsychological and neurological care; (2) cognitive-behavioral rehabilitation; (3) speech therapy; (4) occupational therapy; (5) in-patient and/or outpatient rehabilitation; (6) medication; (7) residential care; and (8) independent living services.


When it comes to recovery for TBI survivors, research shows that within the first two years: (1) 90% live in private residences; (2) 70% resumed functional independence; (3) 50% resume driving (with some modifications and restrictions); and (4) 30% resumed full-time work. 

Get help from a Michigan traumatic brain injury attorney now

If you have questions about the cause, types and treatments of the TBI injury you suffered in a car crash and you want to know about your legal rights to pain and suffering compensation, economic damages and No-Fault benefits to cover medical expenses and lost wages, you can speak to an experienced Michigan brain injury attorney at (800) 968-1001 for a free consultation. You can also get help from an experienced TBI attorney by visiting our contact page or you can use the chat feature on our website.

For more than 50 years, our closed head injury lawyers have been helping people like you who have suffered a concussion or a TBI injury in an automobile crash. We understand the physical, emotional and psychological hardships you are experiencing from your auto accident. We can help.

Michigan Auto Law traumatic brain injury attorney Steven Gursten has an extensive record of success in recovering the highest reported jury verdicts and settlements for Michigan closed head injury and TBI cases over multiple years, according to year-end compilations of settlements and trial verdicts by Michigan Lawyers Weekly. These include a $5.65 million verdict on a $1 million dollar settlement offer, a $4.2 million verdict on a $100,000 settlement offer, a $2.5 million trial verdict on a $250,000 settlement offer and a $2.5 million trial verdict on a $0 offer. 

The law firm also has over 30 separate trial verdicts or judgments of $1 million dollars or more on defense and insurance company offers of $30,000 or less. Specialization and subject matter expertise with these types of closed head injuries pays off for the people we are honored to represent and help. Our trial record allows our closed head injury attorneys to settle cases faster and for significantly more money than other personal injury lawyers and law firms who do not have this proven record of success protecting accident victims with a mild TBI injury.  

Steve is also past-President of the American Association for Justice’s Traumatic Brain Injury Group and an in-demand speaker at legal lectures and TBI legal and medical seminars across the country where he teaches personal injury attorneys how to successfully litigate closed head injury cases.

The attorneys at Michigan Auto Law consistently win record-breaking verdicts and settlements in the state on behalf of crash victims who are TBI survivors like you.  

Even more important than our record settlements in the state is how our attorneys treat the people we help. To see what our own clients have to say about the caring, compassion, and communication they received from us, you can read in their own words about their experience here on our testimonials page from the crash victims we have helped. You can also read about our 100% client satisfaction guarantee.

Traumatic Brain Injury