If you or a loved one has recently suffered a traumatic brain injury due to the negligence of another party, then the situation can quickly feel overwhelming. On top of dealing with a serious injury and the treatment it entails, you want to receive the compensation you deserve. If you are located in the San Diego, CA area, consider contacting the traumatic brain injury attorneys of Kenneth M. Sigelman & Associates.

No matter the cause of a traumatic brain injury, it is always a devastating experience to face—whether you are the person who was injured or if you are a loved one of the injured individual. Injuries of this type are complex, and they come in a wide variety of forms. Not all traumatic brain injuries are the same, and they can vary quite a bit in severity, as well as in the symptoms they produce.

If you are looking to gain a more thorough understanding of traumatic brain injuries, then we’re here to help explain.

What Are the Different Types of Traumatic Brain Injury?

Traumatic brain injuries come in a variety of forms. However, there are two primary categories of traumatic brain injury, which are:

Closed Brain Injury

These traumatic brain injuries are non-penetrating. This means that when someone experiences a closed brain injury, their skull is not cracked or fractured in any way. However, that isn’t to say that closed brain injuries can’t be highly severe—because they certainly can. In fact, like many forms of traumatic brain injury, they can even be deadly.

This type of injury occurs when the brain is shaken and jostled around within the skull, as it experiences a rapid back and forth movement. When this shaking and movement occurs inside the skull, the brain tissue and blood vessels can suffer serious bruising and tearing.

Much of the time, closed brain injuries occur as a consequence of car accidents and falls. They can also result due to sports or physical exercise, and this is becoming an increasingly common cause. In infants, shaken baby syndrome is also a dangerous form of closed brain injury.

Penetrating Brain Injury

In contrast to closed brain injuries, penetrating brain injuries do involve breakage of the person’s skull. During this type of injury, an object will actually enter the skull, causing direct harm to the brain. Depending on the object and the situation, penetrating brain injuries can affect either small or large portions of an individual’s brain.

Penetrating brain injuries are always very severe and will require immediate medical care for there to be any chance of survival.

Sometimes, the object that damages the brain can actually be a piece of the skull itself. For instance, if someone is to experience a severe fall, the impact can be powerful enough for a piece of the skull to break off. Then, it is possible for this segment of the skull to enter the brain, causing an injury that is often fatal.

Additionally, a form of penetrating brain injury that many individuals are familiar with is due to bullets. If someone suffers a gunshot to the head, then they are going to end up with a penetrating brain injury.

What Are the Most Common Types of Traumatic Brain Injury?

Between closed brain injuries and penetrating brain injuries, there are numerous ways that someone’s brain can be traumatically injured. However, some of these injuries are more common than others. Here is a list of some of the most common types of traumatic brain injury.

  1. Subdural Hematoma
    When an individual experiences a hematoma, blood is beginning to clot outside their blood vessels, at some location throughout their body. Whenever a hematoma occurs within the brain, it will be especially serious—more specifically, this is known as a subdural hematoma.During a subdural hematoma, blood will collect on the surface of a person’s brain, within their skull. Whenever this occurs, it can be life-threatening.Most instances of subdural hematoma are a result of injury to the head. At their most severe, they are known as acute subdural hematomas. This will usually result from a serious head injury and will require swift medical attention to increase a person’s chances of survival. Sadly, only around 20 to 30 percent of individuals who experience acute subdural hematoma will regain partial or complete function of their brain.Chronic subdural hematomas, however, can occur as a result of a minor head injury. Although these can still lead to life-threatening complications, they are considerably easier to treat compared to acute subdural hematomas.
  2. Hemorrhage
    When an individual experiences uncontrolled bleeding around or within their brain, this is known as a hemorrhage.Whenever bleeding occurs in the space around the brain, this is called a subarachnoid hemorrhage. This name is in reference to the subarachnoid space, which is what we call the region between the brain and the tissues covering it. Hemorrhages in this area can result in paralysis, coma, even death. As such, quick medical care is necessary to avoid the worst consequences. In terms of symptoms, subarachnoid hemorrhages often lead to headaches and vomiting.It is also possible to develop an intracerebral hemorrhage, which occurs within the actual tissues of your brain. The severity of these hemorrhages can vary and depends on how much bleeding is occurring. Still, even minor bleeding can lead to pressure building up in the brain over time. So, again, emergency medical care is vital.
  3. Concussion
    As many people know, concussions are a common form of traumatic brain injury. In addition, the severity of concussions can vary quite a bit, from minor to extremely severe. Simply put, the word “concussion” refers to what occurs when an impact to the head is severe enough to lead to brain injury. Again, this doesn’t necessarily specify the severity of that injury.When your brain hits the rigid walls of the skull, this can lead to injury. The sudden acceleration and deceleration that your brain experiences in these instances can also be dangerous and only adds to the severity of the matter. Although concussions lead to some loss of function within the brain, this can typically clear up over time. However, the more concussions an individual receives over their lifetime, the more serious the consequences. Repeated concussions can lead to permanent issues related to brain function due to the damage they have caused, from concussion to concussion.
  4. Edema
    “Edema” is essentially just another word to mean swelling of the brain. While swelling of tissues is a typical response to injuries of almost any kind, it is far more severe in the case of brain injury. Unlike other locations on your body, your brain doesn’t have the same amount of space to swell safely. Your skull is unable to stretch to accommodate the swelling, which can lead to serious complications.Eventually, this will result in pressure build-up within the brain, and your brain will begin to press up against your skull. This can lead to dangerous complications if the swelling isn’t brought down.
  5. Skull Fracture
    This may not sound like a traumatic “brain” injury, but in reality, your brain can suffer some severe consequences due to a skull fracture.Most bones within the human body have bone marrow. However, this is not the case for the skull, which is a unique feature. Generally, this works out to the skull’s advantage, as the lack of marrow makes it extremely strong and difficult to break. Thus, it is more suited to protect your brain, which doesn’t have the same strong defenses.Nonetheless, this doesn’t mean it is impossible for a skull to break. This can happen, and when it does, it is a serious situation. Once a skull has been broken, it is no longer capable of absorbing the impact of a blow to your head. Since it is no longer able to properly absorb this impact, your brain will be far more susceptible to damage following any additional impact to the head.
  6. Diffuse Axonal Injury
    A diffuse axonal injury doesn’t actually lead to bleeding, either in or around the brain. However, what it does cause is damage to your brain cells. Even without the obvious effects of bleeding in the brain, diffuse axonal injuries are still entirely capable of doing damage of their own.Whenever someone’s brain cells are damaged, those cells will begin to lose the ability to function as they should. In some instances, these injuries can even lead to swelling, which will only add to the overall damage being done.Diffuse axonal injuries are complicated—they aren’t nearly as apparent as many other common forms of traumatic brain injury. However, despite being more discreet, they are easily one of the most dangerous forms of brain injury. If left unnoticed and untreated, these injuries can result in permanent, severe brain damage. They can even lead to death.

How Long After a Head Injury Can Symptoms Occur?

Sometimes, symptoms relating to head injury won’t show up immediately, causing delays in treatment. In particular, this is a common issue when it comes to concussions.

When someone receives a concussion, the symptoms may not be immediately obvious. This can make it easy for that person not to realize that they even have a concussion in the first place. Symptoms of concussion can also be relatively subtle, leading to them being overlooked entirely. For instance, the injured person could experience headaches, confusion, and loss of memory. For many people, it’s easy to overlook symptoms such as these unless they are especially severe.

On another hand, how long can symptoms last once they’ve begun? Will any symptoms of a traumatic brain injury be permanent, or at least long-lasting?

Well, that’s difficult to answer. As we’ve covered so far, brain injuries come in a variety of forms and levels of severity.

Continuing on with the example of concussions, some people will develop a condition known as post-concussive syndrome. Even once someone has passed the expected recovery period, it is possible for concussion symptoms to continue. They can even last for months, in some instances. The likelihood of developing this condition is seemingly unrelated to the severity of the concussion.

Other severe instances of traumatic brain injury can lead to long-term (or even lifelong) symptoms, depending on the level of damage done to the brain.

Can the Brain Heal Itself After Trauma?

Amazingly enough, the brain does have methods of healing itself following a traumatic brain injury. Nonetheless, in most cases, these methods of healing will need to be kick-started by outside intervention.

An important example of this is in the case of neuroplasticity. Following a traumatic brain injury, neural connections in the brain can be damaged or destroyed. To make up for this damage, your brain will attempt to reroute specific neural pathways becauseit is unable to generate new neurons. If any brain functions were lost due to the damage, it is possible for these functions to be moved to other areas of the brain. Still, this isn’t an automatic process.

You will have to begin utilizing repetition to reinforce and strengthen your brain’s new neural pathways. This is why rehabilitation can be so valuable when recovering from a traumatic brain injury. This is how your brain relearns what was lost due to the injury.

What Is the Difference Between a TBI and a Concussion?

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a broad category of different injuries, all of which result in trauma to the brain. A concussion is a specific type of TBI, which occurs when an impact to the head causes the brain to hit the inside of your skull. Like TBIs in general, concussions can vary widely in severity.

Hire a San Diego Brain Injury Attorney

If you’ve suffered a traumatic brain injury due to medical malpractice or the negligence of another party, don’t go through the situation alone. You deserve to be compensated for what you’ve gone through—this is something that the brain injury attorneys at Kenneth M. Sigelman & Associates wholeheartedly believe. We have both the legal experience and the medical expertise to get you the settlement you deserve. If you’re a resident of the San Diego, California area, then get in touch with us through our website to schedule a consultation.