Motor vehicle accidents can happen in the blink of an eye: another motorist glances down at a cellphone, gets behind the wheel after consuming alcohol or merely follows too closely behind another car. Unfortunately, those errors can instantaneously change the course of a person's life, if serious personal injuries result from the collision. One common but severe injury following auto accidents is traumatic brain injuries, or TBIs.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, around 1.7 million people are victims of a TBI every year. While some TBIs have mild symptoms from which people can fully recover, others result in life changing symptoms that can even lead to death.

What is a traumatic brain injury?

The Mayo Clinic reports that traumatic brain injuries occur "when an external mechanical force causes brain dysfunction." When someone sustains a TBI, the severity of the symptoms will depend on the force of the blow to the head.

TBIs can cause a wide range of symptoms, from momentary loss of consciousness to seizures. Some other common symptoms following a TBI are memory problems, headaches, nausea and problems with coordination.

Falling is the leading cause of traumatic brain injuries, accounting for over 35 percent of all such injuries. TBIs caused by falls are particularly common in young children under 14 years of age and adults over the age of 65.

According to the CDC, motor vehicle accidents are the second leading cause of traumatic brain injuries, causing slightly over 17 percent of all TBIs. Although auto accidents are only the second leading cause of injury, they account for the most fatalities caused by traumatic brain injuries. Approximately 32 percent of all deaths caused by a TBI are the result of a motor vehicle accident.

Apart from motor vehicle accidents, TBIs are also common among certain athletes and soldiers returning from deployment. The concern regarding TBIs in sports was recently highlighted by the large class action suit filed by former football players against the NFL.

Hold the negligent party accountable for TBIs sustained in car accidents

The amount of time necessary to recover from a TBI varies depending on the severity of the injury. Many times following a TBI sustained in a motor vehicle accident, the injured party may require surgery and a lengthy period for rehabilitation. In such situations, the motorist who caused the accident should be held accountable for the harm caused. Consulting with a skilled Kentucky personal injury attorney will ensure the injured party's rights are protected.