About 1.7 million traumatic brain injuries occur each year in the U.S., resulting in thousands of emergency room visits, hospitalizations, and deaths. Any injury to the head or neck can lead to a traumatic brain injury or concussion, usually caused by the bruising, bleeding, tearing, or swelling of the brain, and common causes of head trauma include car accidents, motorcycle or bike accidents, falls, high-risk sports, and accidents at work.
When you sustain a head injury through someone else’s negligence—such as in a car accident caused by someone else, or in a slip and fall accident on someone else’s property—you may be entitled to financial compensation for any related medical bills, pain and suffering damages, lost earning potential, and time taken off work. At Lehmbecker Law, our team of experienced and compassionate attorneys will work on your behalf to ensure that full compensation is received for your injury.
Open vs. Closed Brain Injuries
Brain injuries can be divided into two general categories: open and closed. If you fall and hit the floor, or if your head comes in contact with a blunt object, you may sustain what is known as an open brain injury if your skull is fractured in any way. Conversely, when there is no fracture, the injury is usually referred to as a closed brain injury.
Either type of injury poses serious risks. A closed injury may cause the brain to swell, or can cause blood clots to form inside of the skull; in extreme cases, both closed and open brain injuries can lead to loss of consciousness, paralysis, and death.
Symptoms of Brain Injury
Closed brain injuries can be difficult to identify. If you suspect that you or someone else has suffered a head injury, you should check for the following symptoms:
- Dizziness or confusion;
- Nausea or vomiting;
- Slurred speech;
- Loss of consciousness.
In addition to the above symptoms, signs of severe brain injury may also include:
- Feeling numb or weak on one side of the body;
- Severe headache, nausea, or dizziness;
- Extreme sluggishness;
- Experiencing severe confusion or short-term memory loss.
Because the severity of a head injury can be difficult to assess normally, you should see a doctor after experiencing any accident that could result in potential head trauma.
Common head injuries
Common head injuries result in the bruising, tearing, and swelling of the brain. Forceful collisions or sudden movements can cause the brain to jolt against the inside of the skull, resulting in bruising or bleeding, or it may cause the nerves to crack and tear, leading to possible neurological damage. When the brain swells up after an injury, it often creates intracranial pressure, possibly leading to paralysis, coma, or death. Injuries that result in head trauma may involve any one of these injuries, or even a combination of all three.
A common type of head injury is a concussion, most often caused by a blow to the head, but also sometimes caused by violent shaking of the head or upper body. Symptoms of a concussion usually include:
- Short-term memory loss;
- Ringing in the ears;
- Problems with balance, coordination, and concentrating.
Concussions are commonly caused by contact sports like football, but they can also be caused by car accidents, falls, or any other accident which results in something hard striking the head. In most cases, people with concussions recover completely after a certain period of time. A person may experience concussion symptoms for only a few hours or up to several months. In some instances, a serious head injury can affect a person’s speech, movement, and ability to learn far into the future.
Treatment of Brain/Head Injuries
Treatment for a brain/head injury usually involves rest, pain medication, and in extreme cases, surgery or anti-seizure drugs. After a serious head injury, some patients may require speech therapy or physical therapy. During the recovery period, the head and brain are especially sensitive, so it is critical to take extreme caution as to not to sustain any further head trauma during this time.
Those who sustain a concussion or other type of head injury should see a doctor as soon as possible, preferably within one or two days of injury. A person with a head injury should seek immediate medical care for symptoms that include repeated vomiting, an increasingly severe headache, impaired physical coordination and balance, slurred speech, irritability or other behavioral changes, a loss of consciousness for more than 30 seconds, and confusion/disorientation.
Brain/Head Injury Prevention
While some head injuries are difficult to prevent, there are certain steps you can take to minimize you and your children’s chances of sustaining head trauma. This includes wearing helmets while playing sports, biking, riding motorcycles, or snowboarding. It also includes wearing seatbelts in the car, and reducing the risk of falls in your home by keeping the floors clean and the rooms well lit. If you have small children in the house, you may want to block off the stairs and windows where necessary.
If you or a loved one has suffered a traumatic brain or head injury due to another person’s negligence or inattention, however, you may be entitled to compensation from the negligent party for the injury that they caused. Contact Lehmbecker Law for a free initial consultation to discuss the details of your case today.