Car Accidents: Leading Cause of Brain Injuries in Chicago

A woman with headache is seeing a doctor

In Chicago, many types of accidents can result in traumatic brain injuries, with car accidents among the most common. Drivers who practice irresponsible and unsafe driving could cause traumatic brain injuries or other serious injuries, making it necessary for drivers to be consistently alert and cautious on the road.

Car Accident Brain Injury Stats

According to a report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), motor vehicle crashes caused 25% of TBI-related hospitalizations in 2016 and 24.5% in 2017. Today, these accidents continue to cause brain injuries that are oftentimes fatal.

Other potential causes include falls or being struck by objects. However, motor vehicle accidents remain a leading cause across the U.S. 

Types of Brain Injuries

There are several types of traumatic brain injuries that car accident victims may experience, depending on the nature of the accident.

These injuries may include:

Diffuse Axonal Injuries

This is one of the most common brain injuries sustained in car accidents. It involves widespread damage that results from shaking, severe jolting, or sudden rotation of the head. The injury develops when the brain lags behind the head movement and hits the inside of the skull. 


A contusion is a bruise on the brain that normally develops when an individual is involved in a direct impact accident. Contusions lead to swelling of the brain that is often life-threatening. A contusion may require a surgical procedure to release pressure buildup and enable oxygen to travel to the brain.


Concussions are milder brain injuries that could cause the victim to be dazed or render them unconscious for a brief period. Some symptoms of concussions include dizziness, headaches, and difficulties with balance, along with potential personality changes, anxiety, depression, or other emotional symptoms. While a single concussion may not be serious, repeated concussions could cause dementia or a type of degenerative disease called chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).


Edemas also involve swelling of the brain, which could cause injury to the brain’s soft tissue.


Hemorrhages occur when there’s uncontrolled bleeding in the brain or the areas surrounding the brain.

These and other types of brain injuries can develop in a car accident, which is why practicing safe driving is critical in Chicago and other cities to prevent potentially devastating injuries.