Brain Injury Overview

Doctor Pointing at a Set of Brain Scan ImagesA brain injury is a classification of injuries caused by a violent impact to the head or body or the penetration of an object through the skull. Depending on the individual and the severity of the injury, the mental and physical consequences can vary drastically.

Some specific types of brain injuries include:

  • Concussions. A concussion is typically the result of sudden trauma to the head. Symptoms related to concussions may last for months, or even years, following an incident.
  • Contusions. A contusion is bruising of the brain. Mild contusions are likely to go away on their own, however severe cases may cause comas.
  • Penetration injuries. Penetration injuries occur when an object (such as a bullet) pierces the skull or causes bone fragments to come in contact with the brain. The effects of these injuries can vary depending on the location and severity of the injury.
  • Anoxic and hypoxic brain injuries. Anoxia occurs when no oxygen is able to reach the brain. Similarly, hypoxic injuries occur when some oxygen is able to reach the brain, however the amount remains inadequate. Untreated anoxic and hypoxic brain injuries can lead to comas and seizures.
  • Diffuse axonal injuries. Extreme rotations of the head, which are common occurrences in car accidents, or violent shaking can cause a diffuse axonal injury. Due to the excessive tearing of nerve tissue that occurs, the brain can experience radical changes in its chemical processes. Damage to the brain from a diffuse axonal injury can be temporary or permanent, and can lead to comas and even death.
  • Closed head injuries. When the brain swells, creating an excess of pressure within the skull, cerebral tissues can become damaged and the brain can quickly run out of space in which to expand, causing pain and discomfort. In extreme cases, the brain may swell into the eye sockets, extending damage to the eyes.
  • Coup-contrecoup injuries. Both sides of the brain are damaged in a coup-contrecoup injury due to the severity of the impact.
  • Recurrent Injuries. In a recurrent brain injury, increasingly excessive damage is caused due to multiple brain injuries.

The Dangers of Brain Injuries

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), traumatic brain injuries cause 30 percent of all injury deaths. Moreover, brain injuries that do not lead to fatalities can also be extremely serious and often have life-altering effects. Complications that can develop as a result of a brain injury range from speech impairments to a persistent vegetative state.

Common Causes of Brain Injuries

Although there are numerous of ways to obtain a brain injury, here are some of the most common causes:

  • Sports-related injuries. High-impact sports such as football, rugby and certain schools of martial arts can put athletes more at risk for developing symptoms of a brain injury.
  • Car accidents. In the high-traffic streets of Washington, D.C., car accidents can be especially prevalent. While many vehicle crashes result in only property damage, these accidents can also cause severe injuries for those involved—and, in some cases, death.
  • Pedestrian- and bicycle-related accidents. As a pedestrian or cyclist, your body is particularly vulnerable to dramatic injuries in the event of a car accident.
  • Violence. According to Mayo Clinic, approximately 20 percent of brain injuries are caused by violent encounters, such as gunshots and domestic violence.
  • Falls. Falling is among the most common causes of brain injuries for older adults.
  • Combat-related injuries. Soldiers are often exposed to dangerous conditions that increase the risk of suffering head injuries.

Head Injuries and Your Rights

Head injuries that have been acquired due to the negligence of a third party may entitle the injured individual to compensation for medical bills, damages, and more. To have your case evaluated by a brain injury attorney, contact our firm today.