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What is a traumatic brain injury?

The skull, layers of membranes, and extra padding keep the brain protected from trauma. Even having this natural shield, many incidents occur that cause traumatic brain injuries such as bumps, blows, jolts, accidents, and falls.

Such injuries can affect people in an unpredictable number of ways: from a simple bruise to emotional disturbances, depression, cognitive impairment, loss of memory, personality changes, and many other symptoms.

In these cases, it is important to contact a brain injury attorney.

Usually, people avoid lawsuits because they can be long and stressful, however, having the right personal injury lawyer by your side can provide relief for everything you go through while making sure you get the fullest justice and compensation. A brain injury attorney may be the first step to getting back on track.

General Anatomy of the Brain

The brain consists of three main parts: (1) the cerebrum, (2) the brainstem, and (3) the cerebellum.

Cerebrum: located in the front of the brain. The cerebrum is composed of the right and left hemispheres of the brain. The cerebrum is the largest part of the brain. This is responsible for movement, coordination, temperature, touch, sight, reasoning, logic, emotions, and learning.

Brainstem: The brain stem is made of the midbrain, pons, and medulla. The brainstem is responsible for eye and mouth movement, sensory messages (heat, pain, loudness), breathe, heart movement, consciousness, involuntary muscle movement, sneezes, coughs, vomits, and eating.

Cerebellum: The cerebellum is in the back of the head and tucked beneath the cerebrum. This functions to coordinate voluntary muscle movement and maintain posture, balance, coordination, and equilibrium.

Subparts of the brain include:

Pons: located near the cerebellum and above the spinal cord. The pons is responsible for eye and face movements.

Medulla Oblongata: makes the lower part of the brain stem. It is cone shaped and is arguably the most vital part of the brain, controlling the involuntary and automatic movement of the heart and lungs.

Spinal Cord: Starts from the base of the brain down to the lower back and is responsible for carrying messages to and from the brain and connects to the rest of the body. The spinal cord is the pathway for messages sent by the brain to the body and from the body to the brain.

Frontal Lobe: this the front area of the cerebrum and located near your forehead. It is responsible for important cognitive skills such as emotional expression, logic, memory, language, judgment, and sexual behavior. It also involves personality characteristics and movement. This is the largest of the major lobes. These are also the most common region of traumatic brain injuries.

Parietal Lobe: The middle area of the brain. One of the major lobes. This interprets pain and touch as well as helping a person identify spatial relationships with other objects through sight, touch, taste, temperature.

Occipital Lobe: located in the back of the brain and is primarily responsible for being the visual processing center of the brain.

Temporal Lobe: Located on the sides of your brain. Your “temples.” These are responsible for short and long-term memory, speech, rhythm, and smell.

Types of Brain Injuries that Occur from Accidents and Falls

Traumatic Brain Injury 

When a person receives trauma to the head and as a result receives damage to the brain, this would typically be categorized as a traumatic brain injury. It alters the brain functions or external force that may lead to brain pathology. Such injuries may be open (penetrating) or closed (non-penetrating). Common causes are assaults, motor vehicle crashes, and falls. The effects can be vast and long-lasting depending on several factors such as location, type, and severity of the injury. 

Non-Traumatic Brain Injury 

Non-traumatic brain injuries do not begin with an impact on the head but instead are impacted internally. When the causes behind brain injuries include internal factors such as exposure to toxins, lack of oxygen, tumor pressure, among other things, then it is a non-traumatic brain injury. These may include aneurysm, stroke, infections affecting the brain, near-drowning, tumors, and others.

Specific Types of Brain Injuries

There are many specific types of brain injuries that could be caused by an accident or fall. All types of brain injuries, even if they are classified as “mild,” can be catastrophic.  The truth is that there is no such thing as a “mild” brain injury.

Some of the most common types of brain injuries include the following:

Concussions

According to the CDC, a concussion is “caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth.”  The impact to the head causes a “shock” to the brain. This can result in chemical changes and swelling to the brain which can have a long-term impact to the brain.  Victims who suffer a concussion can have personality changes, effects to their five senses, and suffer seizure disorders.  Second impacts to the head while a concussion is healing could result in disabling injury or wrongful death.

Diffuse Axonal Injuries

One of the most catastrophic types of brain injuries is a diffuse axonal injury, or DAI.  This type of TBI occurs when a violent force to the head or body causes sheering or ripping of tissue inside the brain.  The tissue that is torn is typically the axons and nerve connections, including in the corpus callosum which is the part of the brain that connects the two hemispheres.  Severe DAIs can result in a coma that a person may not be able to come out of.

Coup-Contrecoup Brain Injuries

A coup-contrecoup TBI is brain damage caused by a violent whiplash motion.  The brain is suspended in cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) inside of the hardened skull.  When there is an impact to one side of the head, or if there is a powerful whiplash motion, the brain can slide back-and-forth inside of the skull.  If the force is strong enough, the brain can sustain injury from striking the inside of the skull.  This means that there could be a brain injury on multiple sides of the brain.  The risk to this is an increase in intracranial pressure which can damage the brain inside of the skull.

Brain Bleeds

Like coup-contrecoup TBIs, brain bleeds can increase the intracranial pressure to a dangerous level.  In addition to this, the blood itself can become toxic to brain tissue and cause chemical damage to it.  This means that a brain bleed could damage brain tissue in multiple ways.

Penetrating Brain Injuries

Victims could suffer a penetrating brain injury when foreign debris piercing their head.  While the skull is very strong, it is not impenetrable.  Damage can be disabling and catastrophic, many times fatal.  Penetrating brain injuries could be caused by debris being launched into a victim’s head during like during a collision, or they could be caused when a victim’s head hits an object in a collision or fall.

Other Types of Brain Injuries

While these are the most common and devastating types of brain injuries, there are many other possible types of TBIs that could be caused including the following:

  • Contusions (bruise on the brain)
  • Skull fractures
  • Post-concussive syndrome
  • Second concussion syndrome (second head injury while one is already healing)
  • Swelling or cerebral edema
  • Whiplash injuries
  • Ischemic injuries (lack of blood flow)
  • Crushing injuries
  • Optic nerve injuries, and
  • Other types of very serious brain injuries.

Most Common Cause of Brain Injuries 

Vehicle accidents

Oftentimes, people traveling in vehicles such as bicycles, motorcycles, cars, involved in an accident receive traumatic brain injuries.

Slip and fall accidents

Slip or fall accidents may cause traumatic brain injuries. This may occur going downstairs, out of bed, off a ladder, in the bathtub, at a grocery store, on a business, at a hotel, and many other falls may cause traumatic brain injury. Older adults are more susceptible to traumatic brain injuries from a fall.

Assaults

Some violent acts lead to brain injuries such as assault, domestic violence, gunshot wounds, child abuse, etc. Even violent shaking of a baby may lead to traumatic brain injury.

Cases Brain Injury Attorneys Handle

About 56,000 and more people die each year because of traumatic brain injuries. Oftentimes these cases are involved in a motor vehicle crash, fall, or assault. Michael Hua Injury Law is experienced in each of these fields and may obtain full justice and compensation to victims of rulebreakers. Contact us for a free evaluation.

Compensation in Brain Injury Cases

A brain injury attorney will help secure financial compensation for the harms and losses related to your brain injury. Compensatory damages for harms and losses from an accident are usually economic, non-economic damages, or punitive damages in some cases. A person may file a lawsuit for the negligent actions of others causing damage to the brain. Some damages that may be recovered include:

  • Past and future lost wages and work capacity;
  • Disfigurement;
  • Past and future medical treatment;
  • Past and Future Loss of enjoyment to life;
  • Past and Future pain and suffering; and,
  • Vehicle repairs.

What should I do after a traumatic brain injury?

Traumatic brain injuries may require emergency care. The severity and type of problem can explain what sort of treatment you require at a moment’s notice. Once you get a traumatic brain injury then your work relies on rushing to a doctor who can diagnose your symptoms and help you obtain relief.

Treatment and rehabilitation may relieve or reduce symptoms from a traumatic brain injury. Listen to your doctors. If your traumatic brain injury was caused by the negligence of another then immediately contact a brain injury attorney.

Does a brain injury affect your IQ? What are the after-effects of a traumatic Brain Injury?

When a brain is injured, the ability of a person to perform varied tasks may be affected. Folks with traumatic brain injuries may complain about the inability to memorize things or people. A concussion may become a reason for long-term memory loss too. As per the studies, the IQ level of people who suffered from brain injuries may be affected considerably. Symptoms vary and may include:  

  • Cognitive difficulties;
  • Speech difficulties (slurred speech, inability to understand and/or articulate words);
  • Personality Disorders;
  • Depression;
  • Memory loss;
  • Reduced problem solving and reasoning capabilities.

Can a Brain Injury Change a person’s behavior?

Unfortunately, yes. Brain injuries cause emotional as well as behavioral changes that lead to a worse situation. You may even notice instant changes in behavior following the brain injury of another. The brain controls all our activities and directs the way we feel and act. Once the brain gets injured then changes in behavior and emotions eventually affect the working and actions of a person. It becomes a distressing situation for not just the person himself but also for the family. Some behavioral changes are:

  • Dependence on others
  • Restlessness
  • Irritable behavior
  • Mood swings
  • Aggression
  • Lack of self-motivation
  • Lack of self-awareness
  • Inappropriate actions
  • Lethargy

However, these symptoms may be dealt with through early diagnosis and resorting to brain therapies, rehabilitation training, and other treatment.

Is it dangerous to sleep with a concussion?

Usually, in a suspected concussion, patients are warned to avoid sleep and to stay awake. Always listen to your doctor and follow concussion protocol.

If you are noticing some symptoms then you may want to avoid sleeping until you meet a healthcare provider and have a discussion with a doctor.

Contact a Brain Injury Attorney

Every case is different and needs to be tackled skillfully. If you were a victim of someone else’s negligence or a victim of a rulebreaker and you suffered a brain injury, you may want to consider the help of a brain injury attorney.

Contact Michael Hua Injury Law for a free evaluation and we will conduct a deep dive and guide you through every aspect of the facts and circumstances to obtain the full justice and compensation that you deserve. 

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