What Qualifies as a Traumatic Brain Injury?
Traumatic brain injuries, commonly referred to as TBIs, typically occur due to a sudden, sharp blow to the head or body. According to the Cleveland Clinic, the top two causes of TBIs are falls and motor vehicle accidents. Domestic violence, gunshot wounds, work-related accidents, medical malpractice, defective products, and explosions can also cause TBIs.
TBIs can range from mild to severe, depending on the force and location of the blow, the level of damage to the brain, and other factors. If you sustained head trauma and subsequently experienced a loss of consciousness, reduced awareness, short-term memory loss, muscle weakness, changes in speech, vision problems, disorientation, difficulty focusing, or other related symptoms. In that case, you could very well be dealing with a TBI. Let’s examine some of the most common types of TBIs below.
Types of TBIs
Some common types of injuries that qualify as TBIs include:
- Concussions – Concussions are the most common type of TBI. Concussions typically occur because of a blow to the head, which can knock the brain against the skull. They are often mild, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take them seriously. Some concussions can lead to long-term complications, including post-concussion syndrome.
- Contusions – Contusions often occur alongside concussions. A contusion is a bruise on the brain. The physical trauma inflicted by a blow to the head can damage brain tissue at the point of impact, and blood may pool outside of arteries, veins, and capillaries in the brain. Contusions can disappear on their own like any bruise, but if they don’t, they can turn into a hematoma and may have to be surgically removed.
- Brain hemorrhages – Brain hemorrhages are another common TBI. Uncontrolled bleeding within brain tissue is referred to as an intracerebral hemorrhage, while bleeding on the brain’s surface is known as a subarachnoid hemorrhage. Brain hemorrhages are categorized as focal traumatic brain injuries. Focal TBIs only affect a specific section of the brain.
- Intracranial hematomas – Intracranial hematomas occur when blood collects outside blood vessels in the brain. Epidural hematomas occur between the skull and the dura matter, the outermost layer of tissue that surrounds the brain and protects it from injury. Subdural hematomas occur underneath the dura mater, and intracerebral hematomas occur within the brain. Hematomas don’t always develop immediately after a head injury. It can take days or even weeks for a hematoma to show up. If you experience symptoms of a hematoma, such as a severe headache that worsens, vomiting, confusion, or slurred speech, you should seek medical care immediately.
- Coup-contrecoup injury – Coup-contrecoup brain injuries are made up of two distinct parts. “Coup” occurs in the region where the head was struck, and “contrecoup” refers to the rebound side of the brain. In a coup-contrecoup brain injury, a blow to the head causes the brain to smash into the skull on the opposite side of the brain from the point of injury. The brain then rocks backward and strikes the side of the head where the blow was initially delivered.
- Diffuse axonal injury – A diffuse axonal injury (DAI) is a serious type of TBI. When the head is struck, the brain can rock around rapidly inside the skull, causing axons (connective fibers) to tear. DAIs can occur virtually anywhere in the brain and many who suffer this type of injury end up in a coma.
- Penetrating injury – An outside blow to the head causes many TBIs, but the brain can also be injured if the skull is pierced by an object, such as a bullet.
- Recurrent brain injury – Also known as second-impact syndrome, a recurrent brain injury is a TBI that occurs shortly after another TBI. The consequences can be severe if the brain is struck a second time before it has had sufficient time to heal.
If you believe you’re suffering from a TBI after being involved in an accident, it’s important to seek prompt medical treatment. Some TBIs can lead to serious complications and even death if left untreated.
Contact a New York TBI Attorney
Was someone else at fault for your TBI? If so, you could be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses, rehabilitative care costs, and other losses. Call an experienced New York TBI lawyer at The Mandel Law Firm today to set up a consultation. You can reach our office by phone at (646) 770-3868. Our distinguished personal injury attorneys can help you seek reimbursement for your accident-related losses and hold the at-fault party accountable.