When you get hit in the head, no matter how serious it may seem, there is always a chance for unexpected damages. The brain is one of the most delicate parts of the body, but it is also the most important. Without proper brain function, other parts of the body will be affected, and oftentimes these affected parts are vital to proper body function. If there is an injury to the brain that affects organs like the heart, liver, bowels, or stomach, this brain injury could be fatal.
The problem with many brain injuries is that they are not diagnosed as early as they should be. Oftentimes, at the onset of the injury, there are no signs or symptoms of anything more than just a bump on the head. But with the nature of brain injuries, the symptoms develop over time, especially if they have not been correctly treated as early as possible. To better understand the seriousness of these types of injuries, it is best to first understand the different categories.
Concussions are the most common form of traumatic brain injury, or TBI, and they are generally the least severe. When a person hits their head hard enough, the blood vessels in their brain stretch, also causing damage to cranial nerves. There are many different degrees of concussion with many different recovery treatments. No matter how minor the concussion, it should always be assessed by a doctor because if it is not treated correctly, it could lead to much more severe problems. Recovery times for concussions can range anywhere from a few months to a few years, depending on the severity and the treatment.
Contusions are the next step up in severity from concussions. While concussions cause the blood vessels to stretch and swell, contusions occur when the brain actually begins to bleed. This means that the head has been hit with enough force that there is a section of brain that is damaged in some way. If the contusion is big enough, or if it lies in a very high functioning area of the brain, surgery may be the best option for recovery. During these surgeries, doctors will go into the skull and actually remove the area in which the contusion occurred.
This type of traumatic brain injury occurs next in the line of severity, following contusions. While a contusion, on its own, occurs in the area of the brain where the head has made impact, coup-contrecoup occurs when the impact is so forceful that the brain is affected in the impacted area, but then injury also occurs on the other side of the skull, causing contusions on opposite sides of the head. Any time that this type of injury occurs, it should be treated with immediate medical attention. Contusions are severe enough on their own, but having multiple on completely opposite areas of the brain can prove to have a highly negative affect on brain function.
When the head has been shaken or rotated very quickly, diffuse axonal brain injuries occur. Our brains are not meant to move within our skull, so when the head is moved very quickly, the brain lags behind in this movement. This lag creates tears in areas of the brain and skull, resulting in this type of injury. As with any type of tear, chemicals are released, and the presence of unwanted chemicals in the brain can cause a variety of problems and ailments with the rest of the body. This chemical presence paired with the physical complications of tears in the brain can prove to be very serious.
Penetration is the only type of traumatic brain injury that includes an outside object within the brain or the skull. This type of TBI occurs when something has actually penetrated, or entered, the brain. The most common form of penetration happens when a person has been shot in the head, meaning that the bullet has penetrated the brain. However, parts of the body can also be considered an object for penetration. For example, if a person hits their head with enough force to break their skull, there is a chance of a skull fragment entering the brain, causing penetration. Other common body parts that may penetrate the brain include skin and hair.
Traumatic brain injuries, even within these categories, come in many different shapes and forms. Many people think that a blow to the head is the only way to cause this kind of injury. And while that is the most common cause, it is not the only one. Shaking baby syndrome, for example, often leads to a diffuse axonal brain injury without any impact. These types of injuries are too common and too dangerous to be taken lightly.
Traumatic Brain Injuries are All Too Common
According to the Center for Disease Control, an estimated 1.7 million people suffer from a traumatic brain injury each year. This means that TBIs account for 30.5 percent of all injury-related deaths in the United States. Of this number, an average 1.365 million people are admitted to an emergency department and released, 275,000 are hospitalized, and—even more surprising—52,000 people die due to their traumatic brain injury. With numbers this high, these types of injuries should not be overlooked, and proper precautions should take place when partaking in activities that could lead to this type of injury.
According to the same study, over a four-year period of time, 35.2 percent of TBIs were a result of falls, 17.3 percent occurred in motor-vehicle accidents, 16.5 percent occurred when the person had been struck by an outside object, 10 percent occurred by assault, and 21 percent occurred in a variety of other ways.
With these numbers in mind, it is easy to see that a lot of these injuries may have occurred due to the negligence of another individual, whether it be in a car accident, slip and fall, or an assault. If you or a loved one has suffered a traumatic brain injury or head injury of any sort due to the fault of another person, you deserve compensation. Call Finney Law Office, LLC, today to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney.