How to Tell if a Brain Injury from a Car Crash is Mild or Severe

Oct 03, 2023
How to Tell if a Brain Injury from a Car Crash is Mild or Severe
A car accident can leave you confused, afraid, and shaken. If you or someone you love shows signs of a brain injury, refer to this guide to assess its severity. 

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) can happen for many reasons, causing initial symptoms like headache, dizziness, trouble walking, and mental fog. If you recently got in an accident, symptoms like these are your indication to get medical assistance immediately. 

Concussions are TBIs that can cause potential long-term effects like anxiety, sleep issues, ear ringing, and memory problems. Taking a potential concussion seriously is important so the recipient can get the immediate care they need. It’s estimated that car accidents cause roughly 17% of TBIs

Our expert providers at Delaware NeuroRehab in Dover and Wilmington, Delaware, specialize in managing brain injuries and can evaluate potential concussions after accidents of any kind. They will treat it at the earliest with evidence based protocol to assure a full recovery. If you notice signs of a brain injury in yourself or a loved one following an accident, visit us for an evaluation as soon as possible. 

No matter the severity, accident-related concussions require medical attention. To ensure you’re prepared in the event of a possible concussion, read up on ways to tell the difference between signs of mild and severe concussions. 

Mild brain injuries: Recognizing a concussion

Concussion symptoms vary, but there are several common symptoms you can watch out for and take action accordingly. After a car crash, watch out for: 


One of the most common symptoms of a mild brain injury is a persistent headache that may worsen over time.


A mild brain injury can leave you feeling confused and disoriented beyond the initial shock of a car crash. 

Nausea and Vomiting

These symptoms can occur shortly after the accident or even days later. You might also feel dizzy, especially when you stand up. 

Light and sound sensitivity

Sensitivity to bright lights and loud noises is common with concussions.

Changes in thoughts, moods, and behaviors

Irritability, mood swings, behavior changes, and memory problems can happen following a car accident. 


Do you feel sleepy or have difficulty sleeping at night after a car accident? Fatigue and other sleep problems are common signs of concussion. 

Recognizing signs of a moderate to severe brain injury

Severe brain injuries call for immediate medical care. If you’re in a car accident or witness someone showing these signs, get professional medical help immediately:

Loss of consciousness or Post traumatic amnesia

If the individual loses consciousness after a car crash for more than an hour or they have loss of memory/difficulty forming new memory after a car accident for more than a day, strongly indicates a moderate or severe brain injury.


A seizure after an accident can signify a traumatic brain injury.

Intensifying symptoms

Some significant brain injury symptoms, like severe headaches, confusion, or nausea, continue to persist for more than a month without decrease in intensity. 

Neurological symptoms

Any weakness or numbness, especially on one side of the body, is concerning.

Pupil changes

Unequal or dilated pupils can indicate a serious brain injury.

What to do

Whether an injury appears mild or moderate or severe, any head injury due to a car crash needs a professional evaluation. Brain injury symptoms may not always show up right away, so it's essential to seek immediate medical attention after an accident. Fast diagnosis and treatment can significantly improve your chances of having a full recovery with no long-term complications. Call the office or request an appointment online at Delaware NeuroRehab.