How Often Do Traumatic Brain Injuries Occur in Truck Accidents?

Virginia motorists share the roadways with large commercial trucks every day. Weekend getaways and daily commutes routinely put drivers in close proximity to oversized tractor-trailers, usually without incident. Unfortunately, when accidents do occur, they are often devastating. The immense weight and size of a commercial truck can cause catastrophic injuries, like traumatic brain injury (TBI), sometimes medically called concussions or closed head injuries. The occupants of the smaller vehicle are often the victims of such concussions. A report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that traffic accidents account for 14% of all fatalities, hospitalizations, and emergency room visits related to traumatic brain injuries, concussions, and closed head injuries overall, including those in Virginia Beach, VA. If you or a loved one were involved in a commercial trucking accident that resulted in a traumatic brain injury, you may be eligible to collect financial compensation for your injuries. An experienced Virginia Beach truck accident lawyer from Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp can protect your rights, and help you recover your medical bills, lost wages, and more, as our law firm has successfully settled TBI cases, and we have taken traumatic brain injury cases before juries as well.

What is a Traumatic Brain Injury?

A traumatic brain injury is often the result of a violent jolt or strike to the body or head. If an object penetrates brain tissue, it can also cause a traumatic brain injury. Mild to moderate traumatic brain injuries can temporarily impact your brain function. A severe TBI can result in bleeding, torn tissue, bruising, and other physical damage, all of which can lead to death or permanent impairments such as an inability to concentrate or control emotions, reduced motor skills, vision problems, and numerous other health problems.  Medically, TBI’s are categorized as mild, moderate, or severe, but even a “mild” TBI can mean impaired brain function and there is nothing “mild” about facing such catastrophic injuries, much less just the medical expenses.

What Are the Symptoms of a Traumatic Brain Injury?

Traumatic brain injuries, concussions, and closed head injuries often have a wide range of lasting psychological and physical effects. Some TBI symptoms manifest right away, while others may take days or weeks to make themselves known. Signs of a traumatic brain injury can vary from minor discomfort to lifelong problems with speech, sleeping, balance, and emotional regulation. Common TBI symptoms that truck accident victims should be aware of include:

Physical symptoms

  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Persistent headaches
  • Drowsiness or fatigue
  • Difficulties with speech
  • Unable to maintain balance or vertigo
  • Sensory issues, including blurry vision, tinnitus, a bad taste at the back of the throat, and changes in the way things smell
  • Sound and light sensitivities

Mental, behavioral, or cognitive symptoms

  • Loss of consciousness 
  • Feeling disoriented, confused, or dazed
  • Memory problems or trouble concentrating
  • Changes in overall mood 
  • Unprovoked mood swings
  • Feeling anxious or depressed
  • Inability to fall asleep or stay asleep
  • Excessive sleeping

If you or a member of your family sustained a traumatic brain injury during a collision with a commercial truck or vehicle, reach out to our qualified Virginia Beach truck accident lawyers to discuss your potential truck accident claim. 

What Head Injuries Occur Most Often in Truck Accidents?

Brain injuries are classified into two types: open-head injuries and closed-head injuries. Open-head injuries occur when an object breaks or pierces the victim’s skull and injures their brain. In closed-head injuries, the skull is not penetrated but they can be equally dangerous.

The head injuries most commonly caused by truck accidents are:


A concussion is a brain injury that causes a momentary lapse in normal brain function. It is a clinical disorder characterized by a transient and immediate change in brain function, including alteration of consciousness or mental status caused by either trauma or mechanical force.

Skull Fractures

A skull fracture is a crack or break in the skull. There are several different types of skull fractures:

  • Linear skull fractures: These skull fractures are the most common. They occur when the bone is broken but does not move out of place.  Victims are typically kept under medical observation for a limited amount of time and are able to resume their daily activities in just a few days. Medical intervention is not usually necessary.  
  • Depressed skull fractures: With depressed fractures, a portion of the victim’s skull is caved in from the trauma. It may or may not be accompanied by scalp lacerations, and based on the severity of the fracture, could require surgical intervention. 
  • Basilar skull fractures: Basilar skull fractures are the most severe since the affected area is adjacent to the cranial nerves. Truck accident victims who sustain this kind of skull fracture often have bruises behind their ears and around their eyes. Clear fluid may also drain from their ears or nose caused by torn meninges (the protective covering of the brain). Victims with basilar skull fractures need to be monitored closely. Surgical intervention may be required if the leakage of cerebrospinal fluid is persistent.  

Intracranial Hematomas

An intracranial hematoma is a blood clot in or near the brain. The various types of ICHs are categorized based on their exact location and can vary from minor head injuries to injuries that are extremely severe and possibly life-threatening.

Diffuse Axonal Injuries

Diffuse axonal injuries are most often the result of being shaken violently back and forth. They occur when the brain’s axons (long connecting nerves) are torn due to the rotation of the brain inside the skull. DAI injuries usually result in comas and injuries to several parts of the brain.   

What Should I Do if I Suspect I Have a TBI Following a Truck Accident?

If you hit your head, lost consciousness, or experience any of the symptoms listed above, it is crucial that you seek immediate medical attention. Once the paramedics arrive on the scene, tell them what took place and inform them of any symptoms that could be caused by head trauma.

The emergency room staff will assess your condition using the Glasgow Coma Scale, a test used to determine the presence and severity of a brain injury. The higher the score, the less severe the injury. You should also receive diagnostic tests including an MRI and a CT scan.  

All We Do Is Injury Law

When a trucking accident leaves you or a loved one with a traumatic brain injury, it can have a serious impact on your ability to function socially, earn a living, carry on relationships, and conduct your day-to-day life. If you experience any symptoms of a TBI after a truck accident, it is imperative that you seek medical care and strong legal representation. At Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp, our experienced Virginia Beach truck accident lawyers have been litigating cases involving commercial trucks since 1985, such as the $3.5 million wrongful death settlement we secured for the family of a man who died after his vehicle was rear-ended by a flatbed truck.  One of our law firm’s most notable jury verdicts, a $60 million verdict, was granted to our client who suffered a TBI when a train smashed through his gas station in Manassa, Virginia.

If you sustained a traumatic brain injury, or any other type of serious injury, during a truck accident, schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys by calling (833) 997-1774 or filling out our easy contact form. We have Virginia offices in Virginia Beach, Portsmouth, Hampton, and Norfolk.