Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are some of the most serious injuries of all because they can affect everything about you — even your personality! Yet, most people aren’t entirely sure what causes a TBI.

Here’s what you need to know about what could happen to your brain in a car wreck:

You could have a closed head injury and not realize it is serious.

Traumatic brain injuries can be obvious, as in cases when there are evident skull wounds and bleeding. However, many TBIs are “closed” head injuries. This is particularly true of car accidents.

At the point of impact, the victim’s head gets snapped forward and back (or side-to-side). That causes the brain to be propelled against the skull at a high rate of speed, tearing through blood vessels and damaging the sensitive tissues of the brain itself. You may not have any visible wounds outside of the skull. Some people don’t even realize they’re hurt until they suddenly feel sick, faint or develop other symptoms hours or days later.

Doctors may not even be able to tell how bad your injuries are right away.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and other hospital tests can often detect bleeding in the brain and frontal or temporal lobe damage, but there are other types of brain damage that can’t be seen with current technology.

Injuries inside the brain’s neuronal axons, the thready nerve cells that link the parts of the brain to the rest of your body, can’t be detected through tests. Instead, doctors have to look for body-wide symptoms that indicate that your brain isn’t communicating commands correctly.

Traumatic brain injuries bring a host of additional complications.

Because of the damage to the brain itself, TBI victims often suffer from a host of satellite symptoms that complicate their lives. It isn’t uncommon for a TBI victim to develop post-traumatic amnesia that affects their long-term or short-term memory. Depression, anxiety and irritability are also common.

Those with severe TBIs may even lose the ability to think, communicate and function the way that they did before the wreck.

If you or your loved one suffered a TBI in a car wreck, the recovery may be slow and difficult. Find out more about your right to compensation today.