Head injuries can be the most life changing injuries because they affect almost all aspects of the victim’s life. There are a variety of head injuries ranging from those that have physical manifestations (such as cuts or wounds) to those that cannot be seen, including behavioral changes, memory loss, and emotional or mental impairments. Head injuries can be mild (like a short loss of consciousness) or severe (such as a longer period of consciousness or memory loss) depending on the severity of outside impact. Head injuries typically fall into two categories: traumatic brain injuries and acquired brain injuries.
Traumatic brain injuries are usually caused by an outside force, such as your head hitting an object or an object penetrating your skull. The leading causes of brain injuries are falls and car accidents.
Traumatic brain injuries can be in the form of penetration, concussions, contusions and diffuse axonal injuries.
Penetration injuries are caused by an object entering the skull and piercing the brain. These types of traumatic brain injuries are usually the most severe because as the object penetrates the brain, tissue is lost when the object exits the skull. Additionally, the tissue that remains in the brain is disturbed. Penetration injuries can be fatal at worst and if the victim survives, these injuries cause a long-term impact to cognitive function.
Concussions are caused by a direct impact to the head, such as falling and hitting your head or whiplash in a car accident. Those who suffer concussions usually lose consciousness at the point of impact. Sometime a concussion can occur and the victim remains fully conscious, but suffers from dizziness or confusion.
Contusions are also caused by a direct impact to the head. Contusions, unlike concussions, create bleeding in the brain, which can be removed through surgery. Sometimes, if the impact is severe, the brain can hit the other side of the skull and cause a second contusion.
Diffuse Axonal Injuries are caused by force that shake or cause your head to spin, which in turn tears the brain. The tearing disrupts the brain and results in brain damage, comas and even death.
Acquired brain injuries have an internal (rather than external) cause, such as injuries resulting from a lack of oxygen due to near-drowning incidents, toxic substances, strokes or negative reactions to medication. Acquired brain injuries may also be caused by a medical provider who did not diagnose a condition accurately or who worsened a condition and caused further injury, such as allowing a patient to suffer from a lack of oxygen (or not oxygen at all), which in turn created permanent brain damage.
In addition to medical attention, anyone suffering from a head injury should consult a lawyer to determine whether they are entitled to recover for the damages they’ve suffered. The majority of victims with head injuries are diagnosed with a mild to moderate injury. However, it is not uncommon for those suffering from head injuries to experience loss of muscle function, movement or memory. Suffering can impact your mental abilities, cause physical pain and/or embarrassment or loss of consortium/friendship. Depending on the seriousness of your condition, you may be entitled to damages for medical expenses or lost wages. Call the attorneys at Armstrong & Lee LLP for a free, no-obligation consultation regarding your injuries.