Published on May 20, 2022

What Part of the Brain is Damaged in a Car Accident?

As if being in a car accident was not devastating enough, suffering an injury to the brain makes it even worse. Damage to the brain can leave victims with permanent and painful disabilities. Brain injuries may originate because of the driver or passenger hitting their heads against the windshield, dashboard, steering wheel, window, or airbag deployment. You can learn more about brain injury after a car accident to understand why they happen; after all, the brain is protected by the hard skull. But the skull is no match for the immense force with which the brain can be impacted during a car accident.

Open and Closed Head Injuries

When the victim has an obvious injury to the head, like a broken skull or bleeding, it is likely they will be transported to the nearest emergency room from the scene of the accident.

However, when there is a closed head injury, it may not be noticed right away and the victim runs the grave danger of not being examined properly and being released from the medical facility without being properly treated.

A workers comp neurologist can assess open and closed head injuries. They often provide expert testimony in legal proceedings related to workplace injuries. They can offer insights into the potential impact of the damage on the individual’s ability to work and the appropriate medical treatment and rehabilitation needed for recovery.

What part of the brain suffers the most frequent trauma in a car accident?

The frontal lobe, which is the largest and most important part of the brain, is the area that is most frequently affected by a car crash. Some of the functions that the frontal lobe is responsible for include:

  • Problem-solving abilities
  • Memory
  • Judgment 
  • Decision-making abilities
  • Personality
  • Emotions
  • Organizational skills
  • Ability to express thoughts and feelings


When the frontal lobe is damaged, a person can feel they have lost control over their thought processes. They might be unable to choose between two options in any situation, and the senses of smell and hearing could be affected. Depending on how badly the brain is affected at the time of the accident, other areas of the brain may also suffer damage, impacting vision and motor control.

Common Side Effects of Brain Damage After a Car Accident

When a person suffers brain damage during a car crash, this can become apparent because they will present symptoms like concussions, loss of consciousness, or amnesia. These symptoms may be present for a couple of minutes to days or weeks. Victims may also end up in a coma. When this happens, it can be expected that the injuries are quite extensive.

Concussions may be accompanied by headaches and nausea, vary in intensity, and present symptoms like vomiting, headaches, erratic eye movements and loss of consciousness. Amnesia may also become permanent or take a long time to disappear, causing the victim immense stress, confusion, anger, sadness and despair.

Other side effects of receiving a blow to the head may include whiplash, which can also cause a brain injury. Whiplash can last from a few hours to days or weeks. An intracranial hematoma may also be present after a car accident, and it causes swelling, which can lead to increased pressure on nerves and tissues, causing pain and other complications. When a hematoma is left untreated, permanent brain damage may be the result.

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