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Traumatic Brain Injuries: Causes and Effects

pBrainCatScans_Dollarphotoclub_67515638-300x219.jpgTraumatic brain injuries can happen anytime and anywhere - from simple causes like falling to dangerous causes like an assault or gunshot wound - an unexpected blow to the head can cause major medical problems for the victim, changing their life forever. In many cases, traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are caused by accidental means like a fall or an unintentional car accident. But sometimes, the cause of a TBI could be intentional or due to negligence on behalf of another party. In cases like these, it is important to reach out to personal injury lawyers or malpractice lawyers to determine if there is a legal case present.

Common Causes of Traumatic Brain Injuries According to the Center for Disease Control, between 2006-2010 the main cause of TBI was falling (around 40%), followed by unknown causes (19%), then unintentional hits to the head (around 16%), car or motor vehicle accidents (over 14%) and lastly assaults (around 11%).

Types of Traumatic Brain Injuries TBIs cannot come from an internal problem (like a stroke or lack or oxygen) - to be classified a TBI, something needs to happen directly to the victim. When a TBI occurs, it is classified as a "closed" or "open" injury. Medical personnel will determine the "primary" injury and attempt to prevent any "secondary" injuries to brain. Primary injuries can include fractures, localized brain injuries or axonal injuries. The severity of the TBI will also be determined using the "Glasgow Coma Scale." Here's a little more information on these types of TBIs:

  • Closed Head Injury - the damage in a "closed" traumatic brain injury is caused by sudden impact or blunt force to the head. In this case, the skin and/or skull are not penetrated.
  • Open Head Injury - in an "open" head injury, the skin and/or skull are penetrated and the damage can be pinpointed to a specific area (such as a bullet wound).
  • Primary Injury - when a TBI occurs, the primary injury is determine - meaning the injury that happened immediately upon impact to the head (the initial blow). Medical personnel treat the primary injury immediately in order to prevent secondary injuries.
  • {Secondary injuries happen as an effect of the primary injury: loss of blood, oxygen or further brain damage that happens several days after initial injury}
    • Fractures are a type of primary injury, such as skull fractures.
    • Localized injuries occur in a specific area of the brain: bruising or bleeding.
    • Axonal injuries (diffuse axonal injury) affect the neurons in the brain and can cause loss of consciousness.
  • TBI Severity - Once the cause is determined as well as the type of injury, the severity can be measured using the Glasgow Coma Scale. This scale measures the depth of coma and/or functionality of the brain.

Effects of Traumatic Brain Injuries The effects of TBIs can be many, including swelling of the brain or a disruption of neuro-chemicals and functionality. A TBI can also affect the brain's ability to change and rehabilitate - or, the "plasticity" of the brain. The long-term effects of brain injuries can include seizures, memory loss, behavioral problems and more.

With proper medical treatment and rehabilitation, TBIs can yield a full recovery for many patients. But, there are still many cases that result in permanent, life changing damages. To learn more about the causes of TBIs and whether a TBI case has grounds for a legal suit, contact personal injury or medical malpractice lawyers in the Chicago, Illinois area.