| Read Time: 5 minutes | Car Accident
Common Types of Brain Injuries After an Auto Accident

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 69,000 deaths in the United States were associated with a traumatic brain injury (TBI) in 2021.

Motor vehicle collisions were one of the most common causes of traumatic brain injuries that year.

Brain injuries after an auto accident are, unfortunately, far too common. 

Our experienced Conyers, Georgia brain injury lawyers explain the 10 most common types of brain injuries after an auto accident.

These include:

  • Coup injuries, 
  • Contrecoup injuries, 
  • Coup-contrecoup injuries, 
  • Skull fractures, 
  • Concussions, 
  • Contusions, 
  • Hematomas, 
  • Hemorrhages,
  • Diffuse axonal injuries (DAIs), and 
  • Edema. 

At MG Law, we know that sustaining a brain injury in a car crash can be catastrophic. You shouldn’t have to battle with insurance companies and the at-fault driver while trying to heal. Fortunately, you can turn to one of our seasoned lawyers for help pursuing your car accident claim.

Contact us online or call (770) 988-5252 today for a free consultation.

10 Most Common Types of Brain Injuries From Car Accidents

Read on for details about these injuries and the distinctions between them. You should get medical treatment immediately if you believe that you have any of the following brain injuries.

Coup Injury

A coup injury is one of the most common types of brain injuries after an auto accident. It refers to damage to the area of the brain where there was a direct impact, typically with the skull.

For example, if a car hits you from the side, your head may be knocked to the side and hit your window. Your brain will also move towards the window and collide with your skull. The damage on the brain from it hitting the inside of your skull is a coup injury.

Coup injuries are known as closed-head injuries because the skull remains intact. In contrast, in an open head injury, something pierces or cracks the skull. 

Contrecoup Injury

A contrecoup injury refers to damage to the part of the brain opposite to the site of trauma. It often takes place due to a rear-end collision. When a car hits a driver from behind, it can cause a person’s brain to hit the inside of the front of their skull. 

Coup-Contrecoup Injury

In the case of a coup-contrecoup injury, there is damage to two different parts of the brain. The brain sustains damage in the location where the head directly impacts an object and on the opposite side. Essentially, the brain moves back and forth inside the skull, causing damage to both sides.

Frequently, this happens when a person’s head collides with the steering wheel. This double-sided injury can also take place due to a high-speed car crash.

Symptoms of a coup-contrecoup brain injury include:

  • Ringing in the ears, 
  • Light sensitivity, and 
  • Vision problems. 

Such an injury can cause a person to need significant medical care

Skull Fractures

Another common brain injury from a Georgia car accident is a skull fracture. You have eight cranial bones, any of which can break if your head collides with an object in a serious collision. This might occur if something enters the vehicle during the accident, hitting or piercing your skull. It can also occur if your head slams into a window or the dashboard with enough force.

There are various potential skull fractures that a person might sustain.

Some of these include:  

  • Open skull fractures, 
  • Closed skull fractures, and 
  • Linear skull fractures. 

The circumstances of your accident will affect the type of skull fracture you may experience.


A concussion is often the result of the person’s head colliding with the steering wheel, window, or dashboard. Due to the intense force of a crash, the person’s brain pushes against the front and back of their skull.

Some potential symptoms include:

  • The loss of consciousness, 
  • Headaches or migraines, and 
  • Changes in mood. 

A concussion can affect your motor skills and brain function. Thus, a person with a concussion may experience symptoms like loss of balance or slurred speech. 


A contusion is a bruise on the brain. It can cause swelling in the brain and bleeding at the site of injury. A direct blow to the head in a car accident can cause a contusion.

Signs of a contusion might include:

  • Trouble concentrating, 
  • Difficulty speaking, or 
  • Dilated pupils. 

Your physician can help you diagnose a contusion and determine the necessary treatment. For instance, patients sometimes need to undergo surgery to repair the contusion. 


A hematoma takes place when there is a pooling of blood outside of a blood vessel. In a traumatic brain injury (TBI), this typically means there’s a collection of blood inside the skull. There are three different kinds of brain-related hematomas that a person might experience from an accident.

These are:

  • Epidural hematomas,
  • Subdural hematomas, and
  • Intracerebral hematomas.

Decompression surgery may be necessary for a severe hematoma. However, some patients only need medicine and rest. Depending on the severity, this injury can result in a coma or death if not treated. 


A hemorrhage refers to bleeding in the brain. Individuals can experience numerous types of brain hemorrhages.

Several brain hemorrhage types a person may sustain include the following:

  • Intracerebral hemorrhages,
  • Intraventricular hemorrhages, and
  • Subarachnoid hemorrhages.

You will likely undergo a computerized tomography (CT) scan or other procedure to determine the extent of your injuries. Understanding what kind of hemorrhage you may have is important for determining the appropriate medical treatment. 

Diffuse Axonal Injury (DAI)

A DAI occurs when the brain’s nerve fibers, or axons, suffer damage. This injury frequently takes place in acceleration-deceleration accidents and can cause tremendous complications. A DAI could result in a coma or permanent brain damage. 

There are multiple possible signs of a DAI after a car crash. Symptoms may include: 

  •  A loss of consciousness,
  • Diminished balance,
  • Headaches, or 
  • Confusion.

Symptoms vary depending on the category of DAI you have experienced. 

Many other symptoms are possible based on the level of axonal shearing. The area of the brain that has sustained damage will also impact your symptoms. 

Treatment plans can also vary. They might involve speech therapy, physical therapy, and cognitive-behavioral therapy.


Another type of brain injury after a car accident is cerebral edema. Cerebral edema refers to swelling in the brain. It can be life-threatening. 

Some symptoms of cerebral edema include the following:

  • Nausea,
  • Headaches,
  • Memory loss, and
  • Incontinence.

Immediate treatment is necessary to avoid long-term brain damage or death. Seek help from a qualified healthcare professional if you believe you may have cerebral edema.   

Contact Our Georgia Brain Injury Attorneys for Help

After an automobile accident, particularly one involving a severe injury, you need a compassionate lawyer who will fight for you. If you have sustained a traumatic brain injury after a car crash, MG Law can help you. Our attorneys understand medical terminology and can help you bring a successful claim. We can assist you with recovering compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost wages. 

At MG Law, our practice areas include car wreck claims, truck accident claims, bicycle collision claims, and other personal injury claims. Contact our office online or call (770) 988-5252 today for a free consultation.

Author Photo

Michael Geoffroy’s law practice focuses on auto collisions, premises liability, wrongful death, and catastrophic injury. He stands up for the cause of justice throughout Georgia and on behalf of his clients every day. He is a leader in both the courtroom and the community, having been recognized numerous times for his involvement in each.