Traumatic brain injuries affect an estimated 1.5 million people in the United States each year and brain injuries are the leading cause of death and disability among children and young adults. As a result of these brain injuries:
230,000 people are hospitalized and survive.
50,000 people die.
80,000 to 90,000 people experience the onset of long-term disability.
As a consequence of these injuries, an estimated 5.3 million individuals are living with a permanent brain injury disability in the United States.
Brain injuries vary in severity, and a wide range of symptoms can appear immediately or be delayed, such that it is worth taking the time to become aware of and understand what a brain injury is and the symptoms to look for to signal the need for treatment.
Understanding the types of injuries and how we can be proactive to prevent injuries can be the difference between temporary and permanent disability, and the difference between life and death. Failure to seek medical attention can be devastating – immediately contact a medical professional if you suspect you or a loved one has suffered a brain injury.
Traumatic brain injuries are often referred to as TBIs. The term means that an injury or action occurred in which the brain was suddenly jolted or harmed and potentially damaged.
One common and well-known traumatic brain injury is a concussion, but there are many other types of brain injuries one should be aware of. Some brain injuries can be severe and lead to major injury, disability, or even death in severe cases.
Common Brain Injuries
Brain injuries can occur from a variety of accidents such as impacts during physical sports, military activities, car accidents, slip and falls, workplace injuries, and more. Let’s review some of the most common types of brain injuries.
A concussion is perhaps the most common traumatic brain injury and can vary in severity. Concussions happen in any situation in which you suffer a sudden change in momentum and the brain strikes the interior of the skull. This could be from extreme acceleration, a rapid change in direction, or a blow to the head.
A contusion refers to a bruise, and in the case of a brain injury, it is caused when the brain is bruised from a sudden impact. It is typically more severe than a concussion. If both sides of the brain are bruised, it is called a coup contrecoup injury. Many times a contusion could lead to slurred speech, troubles concentrating, cognitive disabilities, difficulty balancing, numbness and tingling, and more.
This type of traumatic brain injury is often caused by severe rotation or shaking rather than a simple sudden impact. An impact may occur and appear to be the leading cause, but there is generally more movement involved with a diffuse axonal injury. Diffuse axonal differs from a contusion or concussion in that the rotation causes tearing of the nerve fibers in the brain. These are hard to capture on imaging scans and in severe circumstances may lead to a coma.
A penetration, or penetrating brain injury occurs when something passes through the skull and reaches the brain. Sports equipment, loose items in a car during a car accident, mismanaged tools in a workplace can all cause penetrating brain injuries. Such injuries are always severe and can cause permanent disability or death.
Primary Vs. Secondary Brain Injury
There are both primary and secondary brain injuries that can occur. A primary TBI is from a sudden injury to the brain that occurs at the time of the incident. A car accident, a fall, and other types of injuries will cause the sudden injury. You can often identify the injury and assess it right away.
A secondary injury can take time to show symptoms. A brain injury may present itself right away or take time to show symptoms, and those symptoms can change over time and worsen. These are identified as a secondary brain injury to the primary incident.
Brain Injury Symptoms
In addition to knowing something about the types of injuries, it is important to be familiar with brain injury symptoms so that you can seek immediate medical attention if a brain injury is suspected.
Dizziness or loss of balance
Fatigue or drowsiness
Problems with speech, slurring
Any period of unconsciousness
Seizures or convulsions
Sensitivity to light and sounds
Ringing in ears
Change in taste or smell
Dilation of one or both pupils
Weakness or numbness of fingers or toes
If you or someone you know is experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to seek immediate medical attention.
If you or a loved one have suffered a brain injury in an accident, you can count on the experienced personal injury lawyers at Mezrano Law Firm to fight for your right to fair compensation for your injuries.
Mezrano Law Firm wants to be your first call. Our experienced Alabama personal injury lawyers protect the rights of the injured throughout the state. We have offices in Birmingham, Florence, Gadsden, Mobile, Montgomery, and Tuscaloosa to serve you. Call us to schedule your free initial consultation to discuss your case or fill out our contact form and we can call you.
If you have a case, you have a lawyer. Call us now to learn more about what we can do for you.