Head Injury

The brain carries on developing until we are in our twenties. If part of the brain is injured during the earlier stages of development, in childhood, we may not pick up some of the skills we otherwise would. Alternatively, a fully developed brain in an adult may be damaged preventing it functioning fully. Either can have significant life changing consequences.

If you suffered a blow to the head in an accident, you may have suffered a brain injury.

Some brain injuries will cause an immediate compromise of function and are very evident. However, the impact required to cause a traumatic head injury can be relatively mild and the resulting brain injury may be subtle and can be easily overlooked, especially if the accident results in more pressing physical injuries requiring immediate treatment.

It may also be sometime before the full extent of brain injury becomes apparent. It might be only sometime, days or weeks, after that personality changes in mood, temper or emotions, or tiredness and fatigue indicate the brain has been injured.

Over 100,000 people every year are admitted to hospital with a suspected brain injury following an accident.

The mechanism by which the brain can be injured is very varied, it can be a direct impact, a slight impact or a twisting motion. Immediate devastating damage may be caused or slight brain damage can cause a restriction of blood and oxygen to the brain and this can cause secondary, equally damaging injury.

Types of Brain Injury

There are two types of brain injury.

This is an injury to the brain caused by some form of external trauma to the head.

There are many possible causes of a TBI, including a road traffic accident, an accident at work, a fall or being the victim of an act of violence. How a person will be affected will depend upon the severity of the injury but the impact upon a person’s physical and mental health can be serious and life changing.

Types of Traumatic Brain Injury

Closed head injuries are the most common type of brain injury and occur when there is no visible break to the skin or open wound.

When the head has been forced to rock back and forth or is rotated, the brain can be injured due to impact with the skull at the time of the trauma or if it is twisted, stretched and/or torn in the process.

An Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) is a term used to describe any type of brain injury (including a Traumatic Brain Injury) that occurs after birth.

The most common cause of ABI is from a build-up of pressure on the brain, such as a brain tumour, or a neurological illness such as a stroke. Alternatively, a TBI can lead to complications such as lack of oxygen, rising pressure and/or swelling in the brain. All can lead to long term and potentially catastrophic brain damage.

 

Severity of Brain Injuries

There are different levels of severity of brain injury:

A head injury is usually classified as a minor if it only results in a brief temporary period of concussion. It is estimated that 75-80% of all head injuries fall into this category.

The symptoms can include, loss of consciousness, lack of balance, blurred vision, disorientation and dizziness, sleep disturbance, nausea or vomiting, headaches, intolerance to light and sound, fatigue, concentration problems, memory loss, and changes to social behaviour.

Fortunately, most post-concussion symptoms will resolve within a few weeks and a complete recovery can be expected within 3-4 months of the accident. However, in some cases they may persist much longer.

A moderate head injury is generally defined as loss of consciousness for between 15 minutes and 6 hours, or a period of post-traumatic amnesia of up to 24 hours.
A person suffering a moderate brain injury will commonly experience symptoms of fatigue, severe headaches and dizziness, difficulties with memory loss and concentration problems, organisational and planning problems, word-finding problems and irritability and emotional difficulties. The person may also experience more behavioural difficulties, including aggression, than those suffering a minor brain injuries.

The symptoms will last a  longer period and will be more significant than from a minor head injury. For the majority of people these residual symptoms gradually improve, although this can sometimes take between 6 to 9 months.

A severe head injury is usually defined as being a condition where the injured person has been in an unconscious state for 6 hours or more, or a post-traumatic amnesia of 24 hours or more. A person is likely to be hospitalised and receive rehabilitation.

The head injury is classed as very severe where the injured person has been in unconsciousness for 48 hours or more, or a post-traumatic amnesia of 7 days or more. The longer the length of coma and post-traumatic amnesia, the poorer will be the outcome.

Visible recovery usually occurs in the first six months or so and the injured person can usually continue to make improvement for two years, and sometimes even longer.

In cases of severe and very severe head injuries, the symptoms can be catastrophic and include, loss of consciousness, seizures and convulsions, persistent headaches, persistent nausea, poor or loss of coordination, profound confusion, paralysis, numbness, agitation and aggressive social behaviour, and coma.

Extensive treatment and rehabilitation is often required to try and maximise the injured person’s quality of life after the severe brain injury. Independent living may no longer be possible and long-term care and support might be necessary.

Free No Obligation Advice

If you’ve been involved in an accident or suffered an injury, you probably have many more questions than answers.  Contact Hayward Baker on 01329 227 986 or complete our On-Line Form today to discuss the potential for a Personal Injury Claim.

Suffered a head injury?

You may be entitled to claim compensation.

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