If you live in Southern California, the risk of a car crash is relatively high. In fact, Los Angeles County tops the list for car crashes per year. The state as a whole accounted for 12% of all motor vehicle accidents in 2016.

As these numbers continue to rise, so does the rate of injury, and brain injuries are some of the most serious. A traumatic brain injury (TBI) can range from minor to severe.

Concussion

The most common type of brain injury is a concussion. It occurs when either by direct trauma, a hit to the head or a quick change in momentum. Whiplash can cause a concussion. The blood vessels in the brain become stretched and damaged during the shift in movement. The most common sign of a concussion is a headache that intensifies even with medication. Other symptoms include the following:

  • Vomiting
  • Light sensitivity
  • Confusion
  • Ringing in the ears

A concussion may not show up on imaging studies.

Contusion

When the brain gets rattled, it may bruise. This is known as a contusion. The bruising that occurs is typically temporary, but it is a good idea to seek medical attention as a contusion involves bleeding and swelling. A doctor may perform surgery to reduce swelling before further damage occurs.

Diffuse axonal

Aside from a direct penetration injury, a diffuse axonal is the most severe TBI one may experience as the result of a motor vehicle accident. It happens when a strong rotation of the head occurs, and the brain shakes inside the skull from the force. Brain tissue tears and may result in coma or death.

Suffering from a brain injury after an accident may result in short-term effects, such as painful headaches or, depending on the severity, it may take a person’s life. While the symptoms of a brain injury do not always seem evident, it is essential for people to pay attention to the signals from their bodies. Individuals who think they may have a TBI after an accident should go to the hospital at once.