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Side-impact car collisions linked to brain injury

According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, side-impact car accidents may put occupants at greater risk of traumatic brain injuries. In a study the university published, victims of side-impact collisions are about three times more likely to experience serious brain trauma. The study, authored by Jeffrey Bazarian, M.D., MPH and other personnel, also found additional evidence that suggests head injuries in side-impact crashes are typically more severe.

The team in charge of the study analyzed samples of crash data reports submitted to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in an effort to determine brain injury risk. The NHTSA study revealed a number of key factors such as:

-- Brain injury led to death in 41 to 64 percent of side-impact crashes involving multiple vehicles.

-- Improving head protection could result in an estimated 2,230 fewer critical injuries or deaths.

-- Better head protection could also result in an up to 61 percent reduction in crash-related brain injuries as well as an up to 23.5 percent reduction in critical or fatal brain injuries.

-- Seat belts rather than frontal air bags help reduce the risk of a brain injury during a motor vehicle accident.

-- Due to their height, weight and neck strength, men might be at less risk than women to suffer crash-related brain injuries.

In the study summary, Dr. Bazarian said, "If the sides of cars can be made as safe as the front, many fatal and non-fatal brain injuries could be prevented." He added that a good step in the right direction would be increasing the use of side air bags that protect the head.

Armed with this information and support from a legal representative, those who have suffered brain injury due to an automobile accident might help change the way car manufacturers address head safety going forward. The first step is seeking legal advice following a side, front or rear impact collision.

Source: University of Rochester Medical Center, "Highway Data Ties Side-Impact Crashes to Brain Injury" Aug. 03, 2014

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