Incased within 6.5 mm of hard skull bone is your most precious organ, and arguable your most delicate: your brain. It’s an organ that is still largely misunderstood and yet so valued. We all understand how important our brain is to our everyday function because even a little brain damage can be devastating.
And those of us who have experienced brain injuries, concussions or similar understand this. And those of us who have loved ones who have brain injuries also understand just how important and delicate the brain is.
Legally Understanding Brain Injuries
A brain injury refers to any injury to the brain caused by blows or bumps from fall, vehicular accidents or collisions, tragedy, violence, sports, or combat injuries. A violent blow or jolt to the head that penetrates the brain tissue such as a bullet can cause brain injury. A fractured part of a skull can also cause brain injury.
Most traumatic brain injuries are the results of car accidents, slip, and fall accidents, and work-related accidents, which is why personal injury lawyers have entire teams dedicated to traumatic brain injury law. Tragically, the second most common cause of brain injuries is violence which is categorized as a tort known as assault and battery (both civil and criminal).
Types of brain injuries
Concussion. Though probably one of the most common types of brain injuries, concussions used to be thought of as much less serious. In recent years, neuroscience has discovered that consistent concussions could lead to a disorder called Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). If not treat, a concussion can be fatal.
Contusion. Brain contusions are like body bruises that commonly occur at the front part of the base of the brain which can cause swelling and bleeding. Much like a bruise, a brain contusion occurs on the part of the brain that was struck during the car accident.
Hematoma. Hematomas are blood clots that occur on any part of the brain mostly caused by a rupture of a blood vessel within the brain or trauma caused by vehicular collisions, fall, or violence. As blood begins to pool on the wall of the skull, the hematoma forms.
Skull fractures. Skull cracks may cause injury to the nerves, arteries, and brain. Any skull fracture must be treated seriously and severity can only be determined through various imaging tests like X-ray, CT scan, or MRI.
Subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). This type of brain injury commonly occurs after Traumatic Brain Injury. It is the condition caused by bleeding in the subarachnoid space where major blood vessels and cerebrospinal fluid are located.
Ischemia. This type of diffuse injury refers to the insufficient blood supply to tissues and some parts of the brain which can lead to stroke.
Intracerebral Hemorrhage (ICH). This refers to the bleeding within the brain tissue. This is life-threatening and requires immediate surgery. If not treated this can lead to a stroke as the brain is slowly deprived of oxygen.
Symptoms of brain injury
Brain injuries can have different symptoms and indications which may be experienced for days or weeks.
- Headache; persistent headaches are common symptoms of moderate to severe brain injuries
- Vomiting; repeated vomiting can also be a symptom for moderate to severe brain injuries
- Loss of balance
- Ringing in the ears
- Sensitivity to light
- Blurred vision
- Mood swings
- Changes in sleeping habits; difficulty sleeping or sleeping more than usual
- State of confusion or disorientation
- Memory problems
- Depression or anxiety
- Slurred speech (moderate to severe brain injuries)
- Seizures (moderate to severe brain injuries)
- Loss of coordination (moderate to severe brain injuries)
- Dilation of pupil/s (moderate to severe brain injuries)
- Clear fluids coming from nose or ears (moderate to severe brain injuries)
- Coma (moderate to severe brain injuries)
Babies, toddler, and children may demonstrate the following signs:
- Change in sleeping habits
- Change in eating habits
- Irritability, persistent crying
- Convulsion or seizure
- Loss of interest in usual activities
In any event that you or a family member has bumped his/her head or received a blow to the head, seek immediate medical attention.
TBI Treatment Options
Treatment and management depend on what caused the injury and how severe the injury is. A mild brain injury can temporarily affect the brain cells while severe damage to the brain like torn tissues, swelling, or bleeding can lead to life-changing complications like mental disability, physical disability, communication problems, or even death.
Head injuries are risks when doing extreme sports, outdoor activities, or even when driving. Any form of brain injury can be dangerous and seeing a doctor is a must to have the injury assessed, managed, and treated.