The term “brain injury” can refer to many types of injuries relating to the brain, skull, and scalp. Possible complications and required treatments will greatly depend on how the injury is acquired, the location of the injury, and the severity of the brain damage. The following information covers the different types of brain injuries, as well as the different levels of severity of brain injuries, which is crucial to understanding a personal injury case involving a brain injury. These terms will be used extensively by both doctors and insurance adjusters when handling your case.
If you suffered a brain injury in an accident, you need a lawyer on your side who can help you pursue maximum compensation. These injuries are life-changing and you need someone in your corner who can help you obtain the money you need to put your life back together again after a serious TBI. Contact the brain injury attorneys at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, at 866-426-1037 or fill out our confidential contact form for more information!
Types of TBIs
There are four main types of TBIs. They are:
- Penetrating injuries
- Anoxic brain injuries
A concussion is a minor brain injury that is caused by shaking, an impact to the head, or a sudden change in movement, like whiplash. Oftentimes, concussions cannot be seen through an imaging test, but they should still be considered serious and should be treated as so.
Concussions can cause headaches, problems with concentration, memory loss, and disorientation. Concussions are especially dangerous if more than one is sustained over time, or if a second one occurs before the first one heals (“second impact syndrome”).
2. Brain Contusions
A brain contusion is a bruise of the brain tissue, just like one might have a bruise on their skin. And like any other bruise, they are caused by the breaking and leaking of small blood vessels. On the skin level, this leaking blood under the skin is what causes the blue coloring; on the brain, the leaking causes a plethora of issues that mostly relate to a building of pressure.
Brain contusions can be caused by any impact to the head. For example, a contusion may occur in a car accident when the head hits the steering wheel, a slip, and fall when the head hits the ground, or in a sports-related accident in which the brain takes a significant impact.
During the impact that causes a brain contusion, it’s possible for the brain to be damaged directly under the site of impact, on the opposite side from the point of impact as the brain is slammed into the opposing side of the skull or both. These differences in the site of injury are classified under coup and contrecoup injuries.
Contusions, like concussions, can range dramatically from minor to extremely severe. Severe contusions may cause a loss of consciousness, confusion, tiredness, emotional distress, or agitation. More severe contusions may cause the brain to swell, could prevent proper oxygenation, and other serious consequences.
3. Penetrating Brain Injuries
Penetrating brain injuries occur when some type of object pierces through the skull. This may cause the object, or hair, skin, or fragments of the skull, to make contact with the brain. This contact with and force on the brain can cause serious injury to a concentrated, or large, part of the brain.
Penetrating brain injuries may be caused by any external force or object that is strong enough to break through the skull, such as:
- A slip-and-fall that causes the skull to crack
- A motor vehicle accident in which something penetrates or breaks the skull
- A gunshot wound to the head, which is the leading cause of death by TBI
- A sports-related injury due to excessive force
4. Anoxic Brain Injuries
An anoxic brain injury occurs when the brain does not receive enough oxygen to operate properly. After just four to five minutes without a proper amount of oxygen, brain cells will begin to die and brain injury will occur. Since oxygen is carried to the brain by blood, anoxic brain damage most often occurs because of a blockage of this blood flow.
Blockage can occur as a result of a blood clot, stroke, heart attack, or serious trauma, among others. It may also be possible the blood flow to the brain, in quantity, is normal, but that the blood itself is not carrying enough oxygen. This can occur as a result of poisoning, drowning, carbon monoxide poisoning, choking, suffocation, or anything that prevents the lungs from taking in a normal amount of oxygen molecules.
Additional Types of TBIs
Other kinds of TBIs include:
Diffuse Axonal Injury
A diffuse axonal injury (DAI) is similar to a concussion in that it results from the brain moving, but it is often much more serious. With a DAI, the head so violently moves that the brain stem cannot keep up with the rate of movement, causing tears in the connections of the brain to the spinal cord. These tears can be microscopic, producing varying degrees of brain damage, or they can be quite large.
Tears that are sufficient may cause extremely serious, life-long effects or they can even be fatal. The severity of symptoms with this type of injury is largely dependent on the brain areas affected, the severity of the tears, and whether any other injuries—such as a contusion or concussion—were also sustained.
Hypoxic Brain Injuries
One type of traumatic brain injury is a hypoxic brain injury, which occurs when the brain receives some but not enough oxygen and suffers damage as a result. This is usually achieved by incomplete reduction of oxygen to the lungs or blood to the brain via some form of inefficient suffocation like:
- Cardiac arrest
- Carbon monoxide
- Exposure to poisonous gasses
One version of hypoxic brain injury is a hypoxic-ischemic brain injury, also called stagnant hypoxia or ischemic insult.
Second Impact Syndrome
Just as a scab that is reopened takes longer to heal, a second brain injury when you’ve already sustained a first can cause even more catastrophic damage. Sometimes called a recurrent traumatic brain injury, the effect of second impact syndrome depends on the location of the injury, the severity of the first injury, and the degree of trauma sustained.
A second impact is more likely to cause severe brain damage than a first, even if the victim does not lose consciousness. If you suffer a blow to the head in the months following a brain injury, seek prompt medical care, even if you feel fine. Oftentimes, second concussions are a silent killer, since both impacts can appear to be minor at the time.
Levels of Severity in Various Types of TBIs
There are three basic levels of TBI injury: mild, moderate, and severe.
A mild TBI is characterized by loss of consciousness for a few seconds or minutes, if at all. Loss of consciousness doesn’t need to occur and a victim may only appear to be confused or disoriented.
With mild TBIs, medical tests may show that the brain was not injured, although this can be untrue. This is why doctors look closely at the victim’s mental functioning in diagnosing mild TBIs and concussions.
A moderate TBI is characterized by loss of consciousness that may last up to a few hours and confusion that can last up to weeks. With a moderate TBI, complications can last for months and could be permanent. These complications can be physical, cognitive, or behavioral.
Many treatment programs will be needed to address these complications.
Severe Brain Injury
The most severe TBIs come from crushing blows or penetration to the skull and brain. This level of injury is life-threatening and the victim is not likely to return to the life that they once had. While closed head injuries can result in severe brain injury, typically severe head trauma is from an open head injury where the skull has been seriously damaged.
Even if you believe your brain injury is mild, you may still suffer serious and long-lasting effects. You deserve help after a brain injury of any type and the brain injury lawyers at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA are here for you. We know the tricks insurance companies use to try and reduce their liabilities and we work tirelessly to fight them.
Our law firm has experience handling all types of brain injury cases and we have helped injured accident victims obtain millions after suffering a brain injury. We offer FREE initial consultations for all injured accident victims.
The Consequences of a Traumatic Brain Injury
After suffering a traumatic brain injury a person can suffer from a number of debilitating symptoms or even be at risk of losing their life in more severe cases. These injuries are to be taken seriously and have a reputation for destroying lives. Since traumatic brain injuries involve direct physical damage to the brain there are terrible consequences both physical and mental.
In addition to the serious health risk physical damage to the brain can put someone in, cognitive function, personality, and mental state, in general, can suffer from serious impairment. This can take the form of memory loss, emotional issues, speech problems, sensory impairment, psychological disorders, and much more. What is worse is that the damage caused by traumatic brain injuries can often be permanent.
There is not much that can be done to repair the damaged tissue of the brain. People often struggle with the effects of a brain injury for the rest of their lives. That is not to say that there is no hope. There are many things that can be done to manage symptoms and help people live with the effects of a severe traumatic brain injury.
Contact a New Port Richey Traumatic Brain Injury Attorney to Determine Your Options
No two TBIs are the same, and many require specialized care and rehabilitation services. People who believe they may have sustained a minor TBI like a concussion should be aware that often new symptoms develop in the weeks following the accident. These new symptoms should not be disregarded and should be addressed by a healthcare professional.
Contacting a skilled New Port Richey brain injury lawyer can help you get the treatment you need while also helping you to litigate your TBI case. An attorney who focuses on TBI law will be able to look out for your best interests. Contact the Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA today for a free initial consultation. You can reach us in one of these 3 ways: