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Traumatic Brain Injuries: Severity and Types
Virginia, Washington, DC, & Maryland
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is an injury to the brain caused by outside forces. Brain injuries often go unnoticed and untreated when no visible head injury is involved, leading to more serious damage and a higher risk of sustaining further injuries. Severity ratings can be misleading with the incongruous long-term results causing frustration and confusion for victims.
Understanding severity and the Glasgow Coma Scale
Severity of brain injury is rated by a system called the Glasgow Coma Scale. The severity of a brain injury does not always determine the amount of long-term damage or the outcome for the victim. Severity refers only to the initial damage, not the long-term damage. The area of the brain which is injured typically determines the outcome of the injury, rather than initial severity rating. A mild brain injury, requiring little or no medical treatment, can cause long-term disability if it damages a crucial part of the brain.
Mild brain injury
A mild brain injury can occur with no loss of consciousness or very brief loss of consciousness, and leaves the victim feeling dazed or confused.
Moderate brain injury
A moderate brain injury causes a loss of consciousness for several minutes or several hours, and confusion which may last for weeks or months.
Severe brain injury
A severe brain injury causes a loss of consciousness that lasts for days, weeks, or months, and can in a coma, vegetative state, or "locked-in" syndrome.
Types of brain injury
Any type of brain injury can have serious long-term consequences. Some brain injuries do not involve visible head injuries, and often go undetected and untreated, leaving the victim vulnerable to further damage and additional injuries. An impact to the head is not necessary for TBI to occur.
Concussions are the most common form of TBI. They can be caused by an impact to the head or sudden and violent movement. Whiplash is a common cause of concussion. People tend to believe that a concussion is a fairly minor injury, and that any danger or damage from a concussion goes away within 24 hours or a few days. This could not be farther from the truth. A concussion can cause damage to the cranial nerves, and can take months or years to heal. Even though a concussion does not always cause a loss of consciousness, the damage can leave victims vulnerable to very serious TBI should a second injury occur before the concussion has fully healed.
Brain contusions are typically caused by an impact to the head. A contusion is simply a bruise, and any part of the body can become bruised, usually with little or no permanent damage. Bruising of the brain is very serious because it means that the brain is bleeding, one of the primary causes of serious and long term damage.
The brain can become bruised both on the side of impact and on the opposite side if an impact to the head is forceful enough to jar the brain, causing it to strike the other side of the skull.
A penetration brain injury is just what it sounds like - an injury caused by an object penetrating the skull and entering the brain.
If a violent or rapid movement causes the skull to move faster than the brain, nerves and other brain tissue can be torn. This is called diffuse axonal TBI. Whiplash can cause this type of injury.
In addition to these primary types of TBI, second impact syndrome can occur after any type of brain injury. Second impact syndrome simply means sustaining a second brain injury before the first brain injury has healed. This is typically far more damaging than the original injury and often results in permanent disability or death.
Recent Brain Injury Settlements
- In excess of $5 million lump sum payment obtained on behalf of a 14 year old client as a result of a failed embolization of an arterial-venous malformation in her brain, causing profound permanent brain damage.
- $2.4 million obtained on behalf of a woman who suffered a brain injury as a result of being struck in a crosswalk.
- $1.8 million obtained on behalf of an already paralyzed stroke victim, against a wheelchair transport company which dropped him on his head from the van onto the sidewalk when transporting him from physical therapy to his home.
- $950,000.00 obtained on behalf of a man who was struck on the head by a hotel security guard causing permanent brain damage.
- $450,000.00 on behalf of minor child provided ten times the prescribed amount of anti-seizure medication by a local pharmacy resulting in permanent brain injury.
- $250,000.00 on behalf of a woman who suffered a brain injury when she was struck by a car while crossing the street.
- $250,000.00 obtained on behalf of a man who was struck on the head four times with a steel baton, by a security guard, causing a brain injury.
- $220,000.00 on behalf of a woman who suffered a brain injury when a wooden "FOR LEASE" sign fell off a building from two stories above, and struck her on the head while she was walking on the sidewalk.
Pending Cases Involving Brain Injury
- Claim against a hospital resulting from failure to properly insert a cannula (catheter) into blood vessels of an infant. Cannula slipped out and blood loss was so great that the child had permanent profound brain injury.
- Failure to timely perform a C-Section resulting in permanent profound brain injury.
- Negligent performance of embolization of arterial-venous malformation in the brain resulting in permanent profound brain injury.
If you or a loved one has suffered any kind of traumatic brain injury in Northern Virginia, Maryland and Washington DC, please email or call our skilled brain injury attorneys today. We are committed to obtaining justice for you - the victim.