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Acceleration and Deceleration Brain Injuries

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The human brain is the central processing unit of the body. The brain’s neural networks are similar to the circuit boards of a computer. Though humans have large brains compared to other animals, a brain that is even slightly damaged won’t function as intended.

The processing unit inside every person’s cranium is capable of incredible things yet it is vulnerable. Brains are highly complex yet fragile information processors. The physics of a car crash, sports collision, or even a slight hit to the head can cause significant injury.

The bottom line is human brains have not evolved to withstand impact, meaning the skull and surrounding tissue provide limited protection. The movement of the brain in response to force causes damage that has the potential to affect one’s cognition, memory, and verbal and motor skills.

Plenty of car crashes and other incidents lead to brain damage including traumatic brain injuries or TBI for short. This is your guide to acceleration-deceleration brain injuries.

Acceleration and Deceleration Brain Injuries

When the term “accelerated” or “decelerated brain injury” is used, it is a reference to a variation of TBI caused by the human body’s failure to endure force. The most common source of the force is a blunt hit or other trauma.

Simply put, when the body, including the head, is in motion, a sudden stop will cause brain damage. The brain is forced to absorb the impact’s force, leading to oscillation in which the applied force is reciprocally expended until returning to its natural state of equilibrium. It is the absorption of energy that causes brain damage.

The first trauma typically compromises the brain’s soft tissue. Initial trauma also has the potential to spur secondary injuries stemming from blood vessel shearing, tears, hemorrhages, or axon damage.

A Look at Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs)

All sorts of activities have the potential to result in a life-altering TBI. From biking to skating, playing football, playing hockey, and getting into an auto accident, there are seemingly countless ways to suffer an acceleration or deceleration brain injury.

Even a slight push in a conflict that leads to a fall to the ground can cause a potentially fatal TBI. However, TBIs are especially common in contact sports, violent physical attacks, and auto accidents. The laws of physics are at play regardless of the activity or cause of force, so there are many different ways to sustain an injury from an acceleration and deceleration brain injury.

It is up to the victim’s attorney to prove the impact of the car crash is causally related to the TBI. The quality of the victim’s attorney ultimately determines if a convincing argument is made to demonstrate how the accident caused an acceleration-deceleration brain injury.

However, even moving at a moderate rate of speed and suddenly stopping causes force to move to the brain of every individual in the vehicle. As a result, TBIs can occur in relatively minor auto accidents. Choose a brain injury attorney with a track record of success linking TBIs to auto accidents, and you’ll rest easy knowing you have an experienced legal practitioner on your side.

Let’s shift our attention to how TBIs occur. Aside from auto accidents, TBIs are also commonly caused by slips and falls in which one lands on his or her head or neck and suffers the impact of considerable force moving into the brain. Additional causes of TBI injuries include force applied to infants, such as shaken baby syndrome, military activities, including combat, and workplace activities.

A TBI begins with force, causing localized trauma. Such trauma can lead to a fracturing of the skull or even a breaking of the skull bone. The broken skull bone has the potential to move into the brain if it is powerful enough to pass through the dura mater protective tissue layer. Such a barrier guards against traumatic impact, infections, pathogens, and additional threats. Moreover, there is also the potential for the scalp to become lacerated in an auto accident. A laceration of the scalp can cause excessive bleeding that might compromise brain functionality.

Especially forceful car accidents sometimes cause TBIs at a deeper level, potentially permanently damaging the brain. If spinal fluid or blood leaks from the nose or ears, it is an indication that the dural layer has been breached.

Above all, the most common type of TBI is the concussion. Auto accidents, contact sports, and falls have the potential to cause an acceleration-deceleration of the brain and a subsequent concussion. If you notice fluid moving out of your ears or nose or bruising on your ears or eyes, it is a clear sign that you have suffered a TBI. Seizures and the loss of consciousness are also signs of a TBI.

TBI Types in Relation To Accelerated and Decelerated Brain Injuries

You don’t have to be a doctor to understand the different types of TBIs and how they relate to accelerated and decelerated brain injuries. Regardless of the type of TBI you or your loved one suffer, you should be aware that the ensuing recovery will not be easy or quick. The damage of a TBI has the potential to last a lifetime.

As an example, an intracerebral hemorrhage occurs when brain tissue bleeds. Also referred to as intra-axial, this injury progresses from the loss of consciousness to headaches and eventual intracranial pressure. In plain terms, this means that blood is moving into the brain, leading to the buildup of pressure and a breakdown of tissue that is necessary for brain functionality.

An epidural hematoma is related to arterial damage on the outermost layer of the aforementioned dura mater protective layer. This injury beneath the skull often causes swelling and the accumulation of blood between the dural layer and the brain. Epidural hematomas have the potential to cause loss of consciousness, pupil dilation, bleeding, and headaches.

A subdural hematoma occurs when the veins below the dural layer are shared. Blood accumulation represents the brain’s bruising. However, the symptoms of this brain injury and others tend to manifest quite slowly. It might take upwards of two full days for the symptoms of trauma to manifest. If you suffer a seizure, have a headache, struggle to maintain consciousness, or feel dizzy, meet with a doctor for a medical analysis as soon as possible.

The doctor might determine you have an axonal injury. The axon is the component of the nerve cell body in which lengthy nerve fibers link areas of the brain to one another. Such fibers are referred to as white matter. However, there is the potential for the accelerating and decelerating forces of the car accident to cause the brain’s long never fibers (axons) to tear. Such tearing is the result of the brain moving and rotating within the skull with considerable force. An axonal injury has the potential to be focal to a single area or diffuse, meaning applicable to several segments of the brain.

If you are in a car accident or another incident that causes physical harm, be aware that secondary brain injuries have the potential to cause ongoing brain damage. Such continuous damage is caused by the loss of blood, pressure, and chemical alterations within the brain.

Examples of secondary brain injuries include:

  • Cell injury
  • Cell death known as necrosis
  • The loss of oxygen within the blood
  • Anemia

Moreover, increased brain pressure and alterations to body chemistry that reduce brain functionality can also result from what might seem like a minor auto accident.

Recognize the Importance of an Accurate Medical Diagnosis

If you know or suspect you have a head injury of any type, ask for prompt medical assistance. A medical professional will analyze your head to determine if you suffered a legitimate TBI. The diagnosis will also include the type of TBI. It is possible that the sudden and powerful acceleration and deceleration of the incident led to several different TBIs.

Moreover, imaging tests might also determine that there is bleeding in the brain, paving a path toward timely treatment. If the diagnosis and imaging tests reveal you have suffered a brain injury, don’t panic. Our experienced brain injury attorney is here to guide you through the legal obstacles of obtaining financial compensation for your TBI or other brain injury.

Recovering After an Acceleration-Deceleration Brain Injury

Your TBI has the potential to lead to lifelong problems. In general, acceleration-deceleration brain injuries tend to range from moderate to severe. Examples of potential problems in the aftermath of such an injury include loss of memory, chronic pain, cognitive response loss, and sensory alteration.

Brain injury victims often experience disorientation, irritability, headaches, speech challenges, and even changes in personality. Loss of fine motor skills is also possible. The worst-case scenario is permanent disability.

Tap Into the Expertise of a Brain Injury Attorney

The more the medical community learns about the brain, the more it becomes crystal clear that this organ is vitally important to quality of life. A healthy brain is necessary for learning new things, memory, healthy relationships, and maintaining personal autonomy.

Timely medical treatment is necessary for recovery, yet you also deserve financial compensation in the aftermath of this unfortunate incident. Recognize that there is the potential for your brain injury to significantly diminish your quality of life today, tomorrow, and even years or decades into the future. Even if you feel halfway decent in the immediate aftermath of your injury or a day or two later, there is still the chance that you suffered a brain injury. Symptoms of the injury might not manifest for another day or two, a week, or potentially longer.

You are not powerless in your battle for justice after an auto accident or other incident. Our brain injury attorney will fiercely advocate on your behalf to obtain financial compensation that offsets the costs of your brain injury. Let us overcome the legal hurdles on your behalf while you focus on recovery.

We have successfully litigated personal injury cases and negotiated settlements for car crash accident victims just like you. If you are involved in an auto accident or another incident that causes even a slight acceleration-deceleration injury, retain a brain injury attorney for legal assistance.


What’s the difference between a primary and secondary brain injury?

Primary brain injuries occur after the initial force, resulting from structural displacement within the brain. Alternatively, secondary brain injuries develop more gradually and often involve diverse cell processes.

What can cause secondary brain injury?

Secondary injuries often form after the primary injury occurs. Factors that play a role in secondary brain injuries include hypertension within the cranium, hypotension, and hypoxia.

What is a catastrophic brain injury?

This type of brain injury occurs when a rapid and unexpected outside force damages the brain.

What is a DAI brain injury?

DAI is short for diffuse axonal injury. This is a TBI variation resulting from blunt force impact on the brain.

What are the long-term effects of brain shearing?

Shearing tears the long nerve fibers of the brain. Shearing has the potential to be fatal or cause one to enter a vegetative state. If you avoid such outcomes, you still might suffer a permanent disability.

What’s the difference between focal and diffuse brain injury?

Brain injuries that are focal are limited to one area. Diffuse brain injuries extend to several parts of the brain.

Schedule an Appointment With Gomez Law

Have you suffered a head injury or other injury as a result of an auto accident or other incident? If so, ask for help right away. Choose an experienced auto accident and brain injury attorney to maximize your chances of a favorable court award or settlement. Our attorney, John Gomez, takes pride in serving personal injury victims like you.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation with an attorney. If you are in the San Diego area, you can reach us at (619) 237-3490. We also have offices in Riverside, El Centro, Temecula, and Solana Beach. If you are involved in an accident in the greater Tampa Bay or St. Petersburg area, give us a call at (727) 500-1076.

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