Though there are not always obvious indications of a closed head injury, it is important that victims of suspected traumatic brain injury receive medical care. Anyone involved in a motor vehicle collision, fall, or similar incident may sustain a traumatic brain injury that only qualified medical personnel can diagnose. Closed head injuries can include concussions and traumatic brain injuries in which there is no puncture or visible wound. Many traumatic brain injuries are the fault of someone other than the victim, and the victim or his or her family may be able to receive compensation under the law.
There are over 1,000,000 people in the United States that suffer from head injuries. The leading causes of head and brain injuries are auto and trucking collisions. Brain injuries can result from twisting of brain tissue, tearing of brain tissue, being hit or struck by an object, or internal bleeding.
There are several examples of categories of brain injuries:
Traumatic brain injuries (TBI): The Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) defines TBI as a jolt or blow to the head that disrupts the function of the brain. However, not all blows or jolts will result in TBI.
About 1.4 million people in the United States have TBI each year. 50,000 of those people die and 235,000 are hospitalized. A breakdown of the leading causes of TBI are that about 28% of the cases result from falls; about 11% of the cases result from assaults; about 20% of the cases result from motor vehicle-traffic crashes; and about 19 % of the cases result from being struck by/against.
Anoxic brain injuries: This type of brain injury occurs when oxygen is not going into the brain for a significant amount of time. This happens when there is choking, drowning, or other difficulties with the respiratory system. A lack of oxygen will cause brain cells to die if it is for a significant amount of time.
Other examples of brain and head injuries
Concussions: A concussion occurs when the brain is bruised from a hit to the cranium. This leads to headaches, dizziness, vomiting, and can lead to problems with memory.
Skull fracture: A skull fracture occurs when there is a break in the bone surrounding the brain. In most cases, it will heal by itself.
Subdural hematoma: A subdural hematoma results when blood builds up between the brain tissues and the dura. It may require surgery.
Diffuse axonal injury: A diffuse axonal injury results when the disruption of the brain inside the skull severs the brain’s long connecting nerve fibers or axons. This can result in a coma or permanent disability.
Epidural hematoma: An epidural hematoma can occur when blood builds up between the skull and top lining of the brain (dura). This also may require surgery.
According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, about half of the severely injured patients with head injuries will need surgery to remove or repair hematomas or contusions. Hematomas are ruptured blood vessels. Contusions are bruised brain tissues. The most common problems associated with head injuries, based upon the severity and location, are problems with thinking, memory, reasoning, sight, hearing, taste, smell, touch, depression, anxiety, and personality changes.
Because brain and head injuries may not be readily apparent, if you are in an accident, including a motor vehicle, fall, or similar incident where your head is affected, you want to seek immediate medical attention.
If you or a loved one has experienced serious head or brain injury as a result of someone’s intentional act or negligent act, you may want to contact Childers, Schlueter & Smith, LLC to see how they can help protect your legal interests.