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Types of Brain Injuries

People bump their heads all the time in car accidents, falls, and sports games. Sometimes they only suffer from bruises because the skull is hard and protects the brain. However, others could suffer from serious brain injuries that have debilitating effects. These individuals could be eligible for legal compensation that covers their existing and future treatment costs.

Open and Closed Brain Injuries

The two main types of head injuries are opened and closed. A closed injury occurs when the skull doesn't break or fracture from the impact. With an open injury, the skull breaks or fractures. Objects could even penetrate the skull, enter the brain, and cause serious damage. However, open injuries aren't necessarily more severe than closed ones.

Traumatic and Acquired Injuries

Brain injuries can also be categorized into traumatic and acquired injuries. A traumatic brain injury is the result of a blow, bump, or jolt to the head. Penetrating objects can also cause TBI. Whatever the cause, it prevents the brain from functioning as normal. Several head injuries are categorized as TBI:

  • Concussions – Most often, a concussion is caused by strong shaking or whiplash to the head. It can cause significant short- and long-term cognitive impairments.
  • Contusions – A bruise or bleeding in the brain is called a contusion, which can occur after a direct impact to the head.
  • Coup-Contrecoup – This injury involves contusions at the impact site and the opposite side of the head. It happens when the force of impact is so hard that the brain moves and slams into the opposite side of the skull.
  • Diffuse Axonal – Also the result of shaking or whiplash, a diffuse axonal injury causes extensive nerve tissue damage throughout the brain. The trauma might trigger chemical production in the brain, which causes further damage.
  • Penetration – These injuries occur from the impact of sharp objects such as knives and bullets. They force their way into the skull, taking bone, hair, and skin with them.

Acquired brain injuries, on the other hand, aren't the result of external forces. Instead, the causes are conditions such as anoxia, degenerative diseases, strokes, and tumors. Other examples include near-drowning, hypoxia, and toxins.

Levels of Severity

Among these many types of brain injury are varying levels of severity. Medical experts generally classify mild injuries as triggering loss of consciousness for a few seconds or minutes. Sufferers might experience post traumatic amnesia for less than one hour, but brain imaging produces normal results.

With moderate injuries, people could lose consciousness and have post traumatic amnesia for up to 24 hours. With severe injuries, these symptoms last longer. Both levels of severity produce abnormal brain imaging results.

In addition, those who suffer severe brain injuries might enter a minimally responsive, vegetative, or persistent vegetative state. A coma is also possible.

Brain Injury Treatment Overview

The treatment options that people have for brain injuries depend on the severity of their condition. Most of the time, mild injuries only require rest and pain relievers to ease headaches. However, they need close monitoring at home in case existing symptoms continue or worsen or new ones develop.

People with moderate to severe injuries need emergency medical care. Doctors and nurses must ensure that they receive enough blood and oxygen. Maintaining their blood pressure and preventing further neck or head injuries are also priorities. Injured persons could also receive medications immediately after their injuries to limit secondary brain damage.

In severe cases, they might need surgery to minimize damage and improve their condition. The surgery may remove blood clots, repair fractures, alleviate pressure from bleeding, or stop bleeding.

However, treating brain injuries can't stop there. Because of the cognitive impairment that these injuries cause, people need rehabilitation too. They may have to relearn fundamentals such as talking and walking. This stage of treatment usually involves occupational or vocational therapists, neuropsychologists, physical therapists, or other rehabilitation specialists. How long individuals need rehabilitation depends entirely on how quickly they can recover.

Legal Remedies for Brain Injuries

Since various types of incidents can lead to head injuries, the legal options available to people depend on their specific situations. Someone who suffers a brain injury from a car accident could be entitled to compensation because whoever caused the crash was malicious, negligent, and/or reckless. In such a case, the victim may file a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible individual.

A medical malpractice lawsuit could provide compensation to someone who suffers because of the negligence of a medical provider and healthcare facility. For instance, the victim may only have suffered a brain injury while hospitalized for a stroke because the medical team didn't provide proper treatment. Similarly, someone could file a medical negligence claim against a health professional for not providing a reasonable level of care. Perhaps the doctor didn't diagnose the brain injury or a nurse didn't correctly administer anesthesia.

Brain injury caused by football is common among players. Those who suffer might have strong personal injury cases if those in charge of overseeing headgear fail to deliver the proper protective equipment. The equipment manufacturer could also be held liable if the headgear is defective but not subject to a recall.

In addition, people who work in construction or jobs during which falls or falling objects could cause brain injury may receive reparation through workers' compensation. In California, for example, the program provides help for workers who are injured on the job. The benefits include medical care, temporary or permanent disability payments, and supplemental job displacement vouchers for those who qualify.

No matter what causes a brain injury, the laws regarding restitution are complex. Because of that, navigating the court system is often confusing for people. Many people may benefit significantly from seeking professional legal advice.

Speak with a Personal Injury Attorney

Injuries cost money, including time away from work, medical bills and other complications. You should have an attorney help you with your claim. Not sure if you have a good injury case? Speak to a local personal injury attorney about the merits of your case. This one step can help you protect your rights and take the proper next steps.

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