Do you have to hit your head to suffer a brain injury in a crash?

You were driving on the highway when a large truck suddenly started to merge into your lane. You looked over to see if you could move over, but you had no room on the shoulder to do so. There was nothing you could do to avoid the crash, and you ended up being pushed off the road and into a ditch.

You were able to exit your vehicle, but you were feeling a little dizzy and unwell. You gave yourself a once over and didn’t see many injuries other than some minor bruising that was developing. You didn’t hit your head, so you assumed you couldn’t be badly hurt, but is that really true?

Can a brain injury only happen when you hit your head?

The short answer is, “no.” You can suffer a brain injury any time your brain is impacted, whether that’s from an external impact or because of hitting the inside of the skull. For example, if your head was whipped to the side quickly, you could have what is called a coupe-contracoupe injury.

With a coupe-contracoupe injury, your head suddenly whips back and forth, which results in the brain hitting both sides of the skull. In some cases, it may twist, which may cause a diffuse axonal injury as well.

Even if you haven’t hit your head, it’s always a good idea to go to the hospital and have an exam if you’re feeling the symptoms of a brain injury. Symptoms of a brain injury may include:

  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Trouble seeing or hearing
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Headaches/pain in the head

Many people feel that if they didn’t suffer a direct hit, then they don’t have to worry about a brain injury. Unfortunately, that thinking can lead to waiting too long before seeking help, and damage may worsen before medical intervention is possible. To prevent that from happening, it’s always suggested that you go to the hospital following a car crash. Seek help right away. You need to be sure you’re healthy, and you can always file a claim for compensation for the medical care you needed.