Type of Injury
A hit on the head is nothing to laugh about.
According to the CDC, 2.87 million emergency room visits, hospitalizations, and deaths occurred in 2014 as a result of traumatic brain injuries. While many brain injury cases turn out to be mild in nature, there are far too many cases where brain injuries have effects that last for the rest of a person’s life.
Causes of traumatic brain injuries
A traumatic brain injury can be caused in many different ways. Data from the CDC shows that falls and car accidents were the two leading causes of traumatic brain injuries that required hospitalization in 2014, with additional injuries causing a large amount of reported brain injury as well.
Common types of brain injuries
Concussions are one of the most common types of brain injuries, often occurring after a blow to the head or through violent shaking of the head and/or upper body. During a concussion, a sudden, violent force puts the brain into contact with the inside of the skull. Concussions result in a temporary loss of normal brain function, but don’t always cause a loss of consciousness. They can affect concentration, memory, reflexes, speech, balance, and coordination.
Intracranial hematomas occur when a blood vessel in the brain ruptures and leads to blood collecting in the brain tissue or near the skull. This is often caused by some kind of physical trauma, such as during a car accident or a fall. There are several types of intracranial hematomas, including epidural hematomas, intracerebral hematomas, and subdural hematomas. These injuries can be life-threatening and typically need surgery to remove the blood.
Diffuse axonal injuries
Diffuse axonal injuries occur when a strong force causes the brain’s axons to tear as the brain moves within the skull. These injuries very often result in unconsciousness, but not always. In more severe cases, diffuse axonal injuries can result in coma or death. There are no surgical treatments for diffuse axonal injuries, but measures can be taken to prevent further damage to the brain by reducing swelling within the brain. In mild or moderate cases, rehabilitation and therapy may be an option to help mitigate any long-lasting effects.
Penetrating & closed brain injuries
Traumatic brain injuries are classified as either being a penetrating brain injury or a closed brain injury. Penetrating brain injuries occur when the skull is broken and the outer layer of the brain is pierced by an object, such as a bullet, bone fragments, or fragments of other types of debris. Closed brain injuries are the more common type of brain injury and are brain injuries that occur without the skull being broken or the outer layer of the brain being penetrated.
Primary and secondary brain injuries
When brain injuries occur, there are primary brain injuries and secondary brain injuries and it’s very common for people to experience both types of injuries. Primary brain injuries refer the immediate effects of an injury, which would include things like concussions or diffuse axonal injuries. A secondary brain injury refers to the effects that come after the initial injury. Secondary brain injuries can include things like hypoxia, ischemia, hydrocephalus, seizures, anemia, and hemorrhages. If a second concussion occurs before the first one heals, it’s a secondary brain injury known as second impact syndrome.
Long-term effects of a traumatic brain injury
Brain injuries are very complex and their effects can vary largely depending on how severe the injury is. Moderate and severe injuries can have permanent effects that last for the rest of a person’s life, such as cognitive problems, impaired memory, loss of fine motor skills, paralysis, social difficulties, or loss of senses. Even mild brain injuries can result in cognitive, physical, and emotional effects that last longer than the main symptoms of the injury.
Hearing loss & other auditory problems
When people suffer a traumatic brain injury, the injury often results in a range of auditory problems. Depending on the location of the injury, it may impact parts of the brain that process sound. The force that results in a brain injury can also potentially harm bones inside the ear. Hearing loss and tinnitus are just two common auditory problems associated with brain injuries.
Even if a brain injury doesn’t result in hearing loss, it can result in hyperacusis, which is hypersensitivity to sound. For people with hyperacusis, spending time in places that are often noisy and crowded, like grocery stores and restaurants, can be very difficult. Even ambient noise created by things like heating/cooling systems can be overwhelming for a person with hyperacusis.
Memory loss is one of the most well-known effects of brain injuries, but it’s often very misunderstood. When people experience memory loss after a brain injury, they might not experience complete amnesia. Instead, they might be able to remember things about their past, but have impaired short-term memory, making it hard for them to remember peoples’ names, where they place things, how to get places, or details of conversations. In some cases, they may be unable to remember the accident that caused their injury.
In addition to memory loss, traumatic brain injuries can also significantly impact cognitive abilities in other ways. Brain injuries very often impair concentration, communication skills, problem solving skills, and a person’s ability to process new information. Rehabilitation may help improve cognitive abilities, but it may not be able to help fully restore them.
Blurred vision & other vision problems
If certain parts of the brain are injured, the injury may impact parts of the brain that control visual perception, resulting in problems like lost vision, blurred vision, reduced peripheral vision, double vision, and problems with depth perception. In addition to these problems, vision problems can result in other types of physical discomfort, such as increased headaches and pain in the eyes.
Vision problems of any kind can make it very difficult for people to go about their lives as they normally would. In some cases, people may feel overwhelmed while in spaces that have a lot of activity. Many people with vision problems can have a hard time looking at computer screens or reading things that are printed on paper. Since many vision problems create problems with spatial perception and balance, people may have a hard time playing sports or enjoying other types of recreational activities.
Who is most at risk for traumatic brain injuries?
The kinds of events that cause traumatic brain injuries can truly happen to anyone, but certain age groups tend to have higher rates of brain injuries. In 2014, rates of traumatic brain injury-related deaths and hospitalizations were highest among people age 75 and older. Children age 0-4 also had a high rate of emergency room visits for traumatic brain injuries. Out of the 2.87 million emergency room visits related to traumatic brain injuries in 2014, over 812,000 of them involved children.
Damages in a brain injury claim
Brain injuries can profoundly impact your life in many different ways. If you’re considering making a claim for damages caused by a brain injury, some types of damages you can collect include:
- Medical expenses, including future medical expenses
- Lost income
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional anguish
Contact a California brain injury attorney
Traumatic brain injuries are a very serious matter and the last thing you need is an insurance company trying to shortchange you on the damages you deserve compensation for. At The Wallace Firm, we’re ready to fight on your behalf. Our brain injury attorneys have the experience needed to handle these complex types of cases and get results for you. Don’t settle for less. Contact us today for help with your claim.