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Traumatic Brain Injuries After a Trucking Accident in Pennsylvania

Common TBIs After a Tractor Trailer Accident: Explained by Our Trucking Accident Lawyers in Pennsylvania

Motor vehicle accidents involving large trucks are different than any other type of motor vehicle crash. This is because trucking accidents involving large commercial vehicles such as semi-tractor trailers, big rigs, 18 wheelers, flatbeds, and other box trucks generate significant momentum and force upon impact due to their heavy weight, even at a low speed. But it is the high-speed collisions that often result in the most catastrophic personal injuries like traumatic brain injuries, or TBIs. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that there are approximately 2.5 million TBI-related emergency department visits each year in the United States, with motor vehicle crashes being the second leading cause. Here at Ostroff Injury Law, our experienced trucking accident lawyers in Pennsylvania know just how debilitating and dangerous these types of injuries are after a big rig crash.

We also know how common 18 wheeler wrecks really are in the United States and in Pennsylvania. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), each year there are roughly 110,000 injuries and nearly 5,000 wrongful deaths in trucking accidents throughout the United States. Pennsylvania Department of Transportation statistics reveal our state alone has over 7,000 injury-causing crashes each year involving heavy trucks. Further, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) ranks Pennsylvania as the fifth highest in fatal trucking accidents.

If you or a loved one have suffered serious personal injuries after a box truck wreck, or if a loved one was wrongfully killed, call our experienced trucking accident lawyers at Ostroff Injury Law to learn how we can help you during a FREE consultation. Victims of any motor vehicle crashes, especially involving traumatic brain injuries after a trucking accident, cannot hire just any personal injury lawyer but need skilled representation like us. With over 25 years of experience and over 25,000 accident victims helped, Ostroff Injury Law is the skilled and experienced choice that victims and their families need—especially after a TBI. Call (800) 818-8148 to schedule a FREE consultation to learn how we can help you.

What is a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)?

The CDC defines a TBI “as a disruption in the normal function of the brain that can be caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head, or penetrating head injury.” Everyone is at risk for a TBI. This type of injury could be caused by a fall, motor vehicle accident, hit in the head with an object, sports, or other mechanisms causing a contact to the head. Generally, the more violent the impact the more likely that there could be a brain injury. This is why collisions with big tractor-trailers are more likely to result in TBIs than smaller, passenger vehicles.

While TBIs are classified in severity as mild, moderate, or severe, there is no such thing as a “mild” traumatic brain injury. Recent government research has confirmed that even a mild traumatic brain injury can cause prolonged disability including post-concussion syndrome and personality changes, which must be aggressively treated on a case-by-case basis to prevent future deterioration.

Therefore, whenever you have been diagnosed with any type of TBI, brain injury, or related head injury, ask Ostroff Injury law to review your case and advise you of your legal rights to compensation.

Types of Traumatic Brain Injuries After a Trucking Accident

There are many different types of TBIs that could be caused by an 18 wheeler wreck. Each type of TBI causes different symptoms and disabilities. Some of the most common types of traumatic brain injuries after a trucking accident in Pennsylvania include the following:


Popularized by media attention in sports like the NFL, concussions are the most well-known type of TBI.  But that does not mean it is not dangerous.  The CDC defines a concussion as a TBI “caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth.”  Even a mild concussion can have a long-lasting effect on a person.  Some of the most important points about concussions are the following:

  • Concussions can happen in a trucking accident even if your head does not strike anything
  • The symptoms of a concussion can take days or weeks to manifest
  • Even a mild concussion can increase a person’s future risk of worse brain injury from other blows to the head
  • Concussions can affect all five of your senses, most predominantly vision and hearing
  • Moderate or severe concussions can be caused without a loss of consciousness 
  • Even mild concussions can result in seizure disorders now or in the future

Anyone who has been diagnosed with a concussion, even if it a “mild” concussion, should contact one of our trucking accident lawyers in Pennsylvania at Ostroff Injury Law.

Diffuse Axonal Injury (DAI)

One of the lesser-known types of TBIs is a diffuse axonal injury or DAI.  This occurs when the brain rapidly shifts inside the skull when force is acted upon the head or body.  As a result, the long connecting fibers in the brain (called axons) can be sheared, ripped, torn, or otherwise separated from each other.  Mild DAIs can result in permanent disability, whereas severe DAIs could leave a victim in a coma. 

According to research, the most common cause of DAIs is high-speed motor vehicle crashes.  This is because of the increased acceleration and declaration that results in “shearing forces.”  The damage from DAIs can be microscopic and not visible on imaging studies, also though symptoms and disability to an individual can be prolific.

Generally, the severity of a DAI is measured by the damage to the corpus callosum.  This is an important structure in the brain which is a fibrous band of nerve tissue connecting the left and right hemispheres.  It is the largest collection of white matter tissue found in the brain.

The severity of a DAI is measured in grades, and there are three grades of DAI which are the following:

  • Grade 1: Mild DAI with microscopic damage
  • Grade 2: Moderate DAI with gross focal lesions in the corpus callosum
  • Grade 3: Severe DAI with gross focal lesions in the corpus callosum and the brainstem (the part of the brain that regulates involuntary actions of the body, including breathing and heartbeats)

If you have been diagnosed with a diffuse axonal injury after a trucking accident in Pennsylvania, call Ostroff Injury Law for help.  Because the damage caused in the brain is not always observable on imaging studies, you will need an experienced attorney with technological resources and a database of competent experts to prove your case.

Coup-Contrecoup Brain Injuries

A coup-contrecoup TBI is similar to a whiplash injury due to a back-and-forth motion.  This is because the brain is suspended in cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) inside of the hardened skull.  The CSF acts to cushion the brain from impacts.  But if the impact is very powerful, like in a trucking accident, the CSF will actually cause the brain to slide inside of the skull.  That means the brain will slide and strike the inside of the skull on the side opposite of the impact, and then whip backward and strike the inside of the full on the side of impact.

This is a very dangerous type of TBI because it can result in trauma to two sides of the brain.  This can result in brain bleeds or swelling, both of which can increase intracranial pressure.  An increase in intracranial pressure is dangerous and can be deadly because the brain and spinal cord are in a “closed system.”  If the increase in swelling or bleeding is faster than the body can regulate the intracranial pressure, it can compress brain tissue and damage it—even forcing it out the bottom of the skull.  This is likely to result in catastrophic disability or wrongful death.

A coup-contrecoup TBI can be caused in collisions where the head does not strike anything inside of the vehicle.  This is because of the violent force of an impact that results in the whiplash motion of the head.  Even a mild coup-contrecoup TBI can result in disability because the damage is to both sides of the brain.  Therefore, whenever you have been diagnosed with coup-contrecoup traumatic brain injuries after a trucking accident in Pennsylvania, ask Ostroff Injury Law for help

Brain Hemorrhaging (Brain Bleeds)

Anytime the brain sustains an impact that results in bleeding inside of the skull, it is a medical emergency. There are two general types of hemorrhages that you should be concerned about after a trucking accident.

The first is an intracerebral hemorrhage. This is bleeding inside of the brain tissue which can increase intracranial pressure, such as after a coup-countercoup TBI.

The second is a subarachnoid hemorrhage. This type of bleeding is inside the skull but on/between the membranes which cover the brain. Again, this can also increase intracranial pressure. However, this type of bleeding injury is usually able to be surgically repaired or treated.

Any type of bleeding could result in a hematoma, or blood clot. This blood clot could cause impairments if it is large enough and may need to be surgically removed.

Other Types of TBIs

There are many other types of traumatic brain injuries after a trucking accident in Pennsylvania that our experienced trucking accident lawyers at Ostroff Injury Law could handle for you. This includes some of the following:

  • Contusions – bruises to the brain that can cause impairments
  • Ischemic injuries – damages that affect the blood flow and could cause either a complete lack of oxygen (anoxia) or decrease in oxygen (hypoxia)
  • Skull fractures – including piercing injuries or foreign debris
  • Cerebral edema – swelling
  • Post-concussive syndrome – which is common after any type of impact to the head
  • Second impact syndrome – when someone experiences a second concussion before the first one has time to fully heal, often resulting in severe and permanent injuries, and
  • Any other diagnosed head or TBI that our lawyers can help you recover compensation for under Pennsylvania law.

Injured in an 18 Wheeler Wreck? We Can Help

For over 25 years, the compassionate and experienced trucking accident lawyers at Ostroff Injury Law have been protecting the rights of victims and families who have been injured due to the negligence of another motorist, business, or government entity. Some of the largest cases we have handled have been traumatic brain injuries after a trucking accident in Pennsylvania. These types of cases require not just an understanding of state law, but also the complex matrix of FMCSA regulations and a thorough knowledge of head and brain anatomy.

If you or a loved one were seriously injured or if a loved one was wrongfully killed in a Pennsylvania trucking accident, call (800) 818-8148 to schedule your FREE consultation to learn how we can help you. You may also contact us using our contact us box at the bottom of our website. Together, we can get you the compensation you deserve.

Attorney Bios

Christine Clarke is an accomplished personal injury attorney who has successfully represented injured clients in state and federal jury trials. She has represented clients against some of the largest pharmaceutical companies and hospital systems in the country, and has won. Her record of verdicts exceeds $100 million. Christine earned her Bachelor of Science degree from James Madison University, and her law degree from Temple University Beasley School of Law.


Ryan Michaleski is an experienced trial attorney who focuses his practice solely on personal injury cases, ranging from motor vehicle accidents, premises liability and nursing home abuse/neglect where his clients have suffered serious and permanent injuries. He spent over a decade as a defense attorney and was most recently a partner at a national insurance defense firm, where he handled nursing home abuse and neglect matters, as well as automobile, premises, products and general liability matters. Ryan received his law degree from the Widener University School of Law-Wilmington and his undergraduate degree from Ursinus College.

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