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The New Tool for Calculating the Likelihood of TBI in Car Crashes

It’s common knowledge that car accidents can be life-changing. Even a “minor” car accident can lead to a serious injury. Whiplash, broken bones, and deep tissue injuries can all occur from wrecks that happen at any rate of speed. Aside from death, one of the most serious injuries that a car accident victim can suffer is a traumatic brain injury (TBI).

The University of Arizona College of Engineering released a report in April 2019, finding that “Traumatic brain injury, or TBI, makes up about 30 percent of all injury deaths in the United States.” The researchers have been taking a new approach to studying TBI: instead of using animals and football players as test subjects, they have been using computer simulation data to view how crash test dummies move in collisions. Then, the team adds “motion data from the simulation to a computer model” to make its predictions about the probability of a victim sustaining a TBI.

The goal of this model is to gather enough data to see how the brain would move following impact in a wreck, and create a viable tool that could provide valuable information to others. For example, paramedics arriving on a scene of a crash could use the tool to input data and then determine the probability of the victim having a TBI. While testing will still need to be done to determine a final prognosis, knowing the probability of a brain injury could affect how first responders react in the moment. For example, if a car wreck victim appears to have a 90% probability of a TBI, then the paramedics may take special care to ensure his head is stabilized before transport or take other precautions when moving the victim that would not be necessary under different circumstances.

Car accidents that cause TBI

Almost any type of car accident can cause a victim to suffer a TBI. Common motor vehicle accidents that lead to a TBI include:

  • Rear-end collisions
  • Head-on collisions
  • Side-impact (“T-bone”) collisions
  • Overturn accidents

These four types of accidents can result in serious injuries to drivers and passengers (and damage to the vehicles involved, too).

In a rear-end collision, the occupants of the vehicle hit can suffer whiplash, caused by the head being thrown backward and then forward violently due to the impact. If the impact is strong enough, the head can strike the steering wheel or the dashboard.

In a head-on collision, the vehicle comes to an abrupt stop, but the driver and passengers continue to be thrown forward at the speed at which the vehicle was traveling. The victims can be crushed between the front of their own vehicle and the vehicle that collided with them. Though head-on crashes are rare, they are deadly: the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reported that “frontal impacts accounted for 56 percent of passenger vehicle occupant deaths in 2018.”

When a vehicle is hit from the side, the head of the driver is thrown in the direction of the hit to the vehicle. Per IIHS, side-impact collisions accounted for 23 percent of all fatal accidents in 2018.

In an overturn accident, the vehicle flips onto its side or its roof. Passengers can suffer whiplash as a best case scenario or a spinal injury or death in the worst cases.

In any type of car accident, the victims can experience shards of glass or other objects impaling their heads, leading to serious brain injuries. They also run the risk of being critically injured by their own airbags, which deploy with such speed and force that they can literally break your thumbs and your nose. This, too, can lead to a TBI.

At Barry & Barall, LLC, we understand that suffering a TBI due to a car accident can change your life forever. Our car accident attorneys in Hartford and Manchester will review your case and ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Please call 860-649-4400 or fill out our contact form to schedule a consultation today.