Regardless of what caused the injury, a traumatic brain injury can have devastating consequences years following the accident or event. If you’ve sustained an injury to the head, it’s important you understand the different types of brain injury to better recognize the symptoms and determine the treatment you need.
It’s important to note two things:
- Any injury to the head can lead to a traumatic brain injury
- Often times, symptoms from a brain injury can take months or even years to fully show themselves
As we discussed in a post from last year, a traumatic brain injury can be caused by a variety of things, including falls, car accidents or being struck by/striking an object. Regardless of the cause, the effects can be equally devastating.
In general, there are two types of traumatic brain injury – penetrating injuries and closed-head injuries.
Penetrating brain injuries can be defined as those where a foreign object like a bullet enters the brain and damages specific parts. Damage occurs along the “route” the object traveled. The symptoms you have depend on which part of the brain is damaged.
Closed-head brain injuries are those that result from a blow to the head. For example, if you’re in a car accident and your head hits the dash or windshield, you’ve sustained a closed-head injury. This type of injury can cause two types of damage to the brain, primary and secondary.
Primary damage occurs, and is complete, at the time of impact. Examples include:
- Skull fracture
- Hematomas/blood clots
- Nerve damage
Secondary brain damage involves symptoms that evolve over time, sometimes not appearing for months or even years following the event. Examples include:
- Brain swelling
- Increased pressure in the skull
- Abnormal blood coagulation
- …and more
As we discussed in our prior post on the effects of brain injury, these symptoms can lead to a variety of noticeable effects in your life, but in general include physical, communication and cognitive problems.
Examples of physical problems can include dizziness, loss of hearing, headaches, seizures, vomiting, blurred vision, ringing in the ears and/or reduced strength and coordination in your body, arms and legs.
Communication problems can include a variety of symptoms that can affect your ability to live independently. For example, you may find difficulty in finding the right words to say simple things. And it may take extra effort for you to understand written and verbal communication, similar to how it might seem when trying to understand a foreign language.
Other effects can include: trouble maintaining a topic of conversation, trouble using the appropriate tone of voice, trouble interpreting whether someone is serious or being sarcastic, or trouble with keeping up in a fast-paced conversation.
The final problems can be cognitive in nature and are the most common. These issues vary depending on the location and severity of your brain injury and can include: trouble concentrating with distractions, slower processing of new information, short-term memory problems and trouble with executive functions (i.e. starting tasks and setting goals).
Understanding the types of brain injury and the associated symptoms can help you in determining exactly how an accident has impacted you.
Of course, you absolutely must consult with a qualified doctor or neurologist to determine the exact impacts your brain injury is having and how to treat them. For example, you may need to work with a speech pathologist to help you regain your ability to communicate effectively.
If you were in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence and sustained a traumatic brain injury, it’s important you evaluate your legal options. Often times, a TBI can lead to prohibitively expensive treatments, not to mention the time from work as well as the day-to-day effects on both you and your family.
If you’ve been in an accident and sustained a TBI, contact brain injury lawyers at Gilreath & Associates in Nashville or Knoxville today for a free consultation.