Brain Injury - Accident Lawyers Compensation Claims
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A brain injury or intracranial injury usually comes from trauma, when an external force acts to a significant degree on the brain, which becomes injured. It can be classified in several ways—based on severity, based on mechanism of injury or other features. Some people call a brain injury a “head injury” but a head injury encompasses more than just a brain injury.
A brain injury or TBI, which stands for “traumatic brain injury” is a big cause of disability and death worldwide, especially in young adults and children. Males are victims more often than females. Major causes include motor vehicle accidents, falls, and violent acts. Much money has been put into prevention of head injuries, such as seat belt technology and sports and motorcycle helmets. Safety education is popular, too, as are the enforcement of traffic laws.
Brain injuries can occur due to a focal impact located upon the head, by a sudden acceleration/deceleration injury or by a combination of the two. There is the initial injury followed by the secondary injury, which takes place in the minutes to days following the injury. What occurs is an alteration in cerebral blood flow and with the pressure inside the skull, which can really add to the damage inside the brain.
A traumatic brain injury can result in a host of physical, social, cognitive, emotional and behavioral effects with outcomes ranging from having a complete recovery to becoming permanently disabled. New imaging modalities, CT scanning and MRI scanning, have helped doctors determine where the injury is and how much pressure is likely to be on the brain. Depending on the type of injury, the treatment may simply be watchful waiting, medications, emergency surgery or surgery that takes place many years later. Some patients will need to have speech therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, recreational therapy and vision therapy.
Traumatic brain injury can be caused by different forces, such as rapid acceleration/deceleration, blast waves, solid impact or from penetration by a projectile, such as a bullet. These forces can temporarily or permanently impair or structurally damage the brain. This may or may not be detectable with the current technology available.
Traumatic brain injuries are based and classified by the severity of the injury, the anatomic features of the injury and the causative forces. The causative forces are divided into closed head injury and penetrating injury. In a closed head injury, the brain is not exposed but in penetrating injuries, something pierces the skull and breaches the dura mater, which covers the brain.
Severity can be defined as to how long the person suffered a loss of consciousness, less than thirty minutes in a mild injury, greater than thirty minutes but less than 24 hours in moderate injuries or more than 24 hours in severe injuries. The Glasgow coma scale is often utilized to define mild, moderate and severe brain injuries. It is based on the verbal, motor, and eye opening reactions to stimuli.
Symptoms of a TBI depend upon the type of TBI (focal or diffuse) and the part of the brain affected. It turns out that unconsciousness lasts longer for those who have injuries on the left side of the brain when compared to those who have injuries on the right side of the brain. Even with a mild TBI, the patient may remain conscious after the injury or may lose consciousness for a few seconds to a few minutes. These people get headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, lack of motor control, bad taste in the mouth, ringing in the ears, fatigue, lethargy and changes in sleep. There can be behavioral and mood changes, memory problems, problems with concentration, attention and thinking. These symptoms can be found in mild, moderate or severe TBI.
If the pressure within the skull rises too high, the result can be deadly. The increased intracranial pressure can force the base of the brain down through the foramen magnum of the brain, impinging on the respiratory centers of the brain, resulting in cardiopulmonary arrest and death. It is extremely difficult to recover from this sort of phenomenon.
Causes of traumatic brain injury in the US include motor vehicle accidents, violence, sports injuries and construction accidents. Moto r bikes are major causes of trauma, especially in developing countries. It is estimated that between 1.6 and 3.8 million TBIs occur each year as a result of recreational and sports-related injuries. Among kids aged two to four, falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injury. In older children, traffic accidents come into play more often than falls. Child abuse is a major cause of brain injury, accounting for 19 percent of pediatric brain trauma. The death rate is higher in these types of patients. Domestic violence is a cause of TBI as are work related accidents and industrial accidents. Fire arms and blast injuries are common causes of TBI in war time.
Forces contributing to a TBI include rotational forces, shear forces, angular forces and translational forces. Even without an actual impact, there can be significant acceleration or deceleration of the brain and head so that the brain strikes the inside of the skull in a coup injury. It also bounces off the brain on the opposite side of the initial force. This is called the contracoup injury. Both the coup and the contracoup injuries can cause serious injury. These are the types of injuries seen in shaken baby syndrome.
Many people who are ultimately killed by brain trauma don’t die right away but die days to weeks after the event. Rather than improving right after being hospitalized, about forty percent deteriorate. What this means is that a secondary brain injury has occurred. It involves a biochemical cascade that occurs between the cells of the brain. This kind of injury causes the greatest number of deaths due to brain injury among hospitalized patients.
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