The degree of damage to the brain will vary upon the age of the victim, the force of the impact, and the location of the blow or trauma, as well as whether the injury involved penetration. A heavy jolt to the head, such as a car accident or other vehicle accident, a fall, blast or assault can lead to permanent, catastrophic injuries and long term disabilities or death.
Falls that take place on commercial, government, or private property that involve a heavy impact to the skull can cause permanent brain damage. Falls on worksites due to ladder falls, scaffolding falls, and other incidents can result in permanent impairments or death.
Mild, Moderate and Severe Brain Injuries
Brain injuries are measured as mild, moderate and severe. Each level has the potential for long term impairments and physical, mental and emotional difficulties. Severe brain injuries are commonly the result of heavy, crushing blows or penetrating injuries. Whether an open or closed head injury, there is the potential for receiving a severe brain injury and suffering permanent disabilities, a vegetative state or death.
A concussion can be a very serious injury, even in cases in which the victim does not lose consciousness. There can be impairments that continue throughout the life of the victim. Severe whiplash, falls, construction accidents, sports accidents, or assaults can all lead to a serious concussion with long-term consequences. The injured person may suffer from mental, emotional, and physical problems. A concussion may be evident in a CAT scan, but not in all cases. The most tragic cases of concussion involve an impact that results in a blood clot and loss of life.
A direct impact to the head can lead to a bruise and bleeding on the brain. Depending upon the severity of the blow, surgery may be necessary in an attempt to save the life of the injured, and both the impact and the surgical treatment can result in permanent brain damage and impairments. Some contusions are on both sides of the brain on opposite sides due to a high level of force in which the brain is jolted so severely that it is bruised on both sides, called a coup-contrecoup brain injury.
Diffuse Axonal Brain Injury
Shaken baby syndrome is an example of a diffuse axonal brain injury, caused by a powerful rotation of the head and the subsequent damage to the brain. Other common causes are car accidents in which the skull is heavily jolted. The brain moves separately and the structures and nerve tissue within the skull are damaged or torn in the impact. The location of the torn nerve tissue will determine the degree of impairments suffered by the victim. Torn nerve tissue creates other dangers to the victim as various chemical compounds are released into the brain from the torn tissues. The outcome of a diffuse axonal brain injury is often severe and irreversible brain damage, coma, or loss of life.
Penetrating Brain Injuries
Any penetration into the skull from any item, whether a weapon or any other object that breaks the skull and forces skin, hair, and bone fragmentsinto the brain,can lead to permanent disability or death. The stretching and rupture of brain tissue, and the location of the injury on the skull can make a significant difference in the level of impairment that the victim suffers, or whether the wound is fatal.
Acquired Brain Injuries
There are two types of acquired brain injuries, anoxic and hypoxic. Anoxic brain injuries take place when the brain is not receiving any oxygen. A common anoxic brain injury can result from a near-drowning. These types of brain injuries can also be come about through exposure to toxins, at birth and other situations in which the brain is not receiving oxygen.
A hypoxic brain injury is when the brain is receiving some level of oxygen, but it is inadequate. A restricted blood flow or drastic reduction in the blood pressure, whether in an accident or in surgery or due to another type of incident can lead to permanent disability or loss of life.
At Avrek Law, our Orange County personal injury lawyers represent victims of brain injury. Call us today for professional counsel.
Resources: Mayo Clinic, Brain Injury Association of America