Traumatic brain injuries result from a jolt or violent blow to the head, or from something that penetrates the skull, such as a bullet or something sharp. Depending on the severity of the damage, a patient could suffer mild to severe damage to the brain, though both types are considered traumatic brain injuries. Complications could include cognitive and physical problems, or even death. Some people even suffer psychological problems because of a traumatic brain injury.
If you have a traumatic brain injury in Nebraska, or are caring for a loved one who does, call a personal injury attorney at The Robert Pahlke Law Group to see if we can help you secure compensation for your injury.
Types of Traumatic Brain Injury
Doctors divide traumatic brain injuries into two broad types: Non-penetrating and penetrating. If something pierces the skull, you have a penetrating or ‘open’ traumatic brain injury. Most people think of penetrating as something external that enters the brain. However, a smashed skull, like those found in extensive head trauma in a car accident, is also a penetrating TBI if a piece of the skull gets embedded in the brain.
A non-penetrating brain injury is a blunt-force TBI. An external force causes your brain to move back and forth or side to side in your skull. The force of the brain hitting the skull is what causes the injury. These types of injuries are common in car accidents, falls, and contact sports.
Doctors then classify TBIs as focal or diffuse, and primary or secondary. A focal brain injury affects one part of the brain. A diffuse brain injury affects more than one part of the brain. If an injury is a primary injury, the accident causes immediate damage. Secondary brain injuries take longer to happen—sometimes hours or even weeks. A secondary brain injury still happens as a result of the initial trauma.
Diffuse Axonal Injury
This type of injury is one of the most common types of brain injuries. This type of injury affects a wide area of the brain’s white matter. The white matter contains the part of the brain that sends electrical impulses—axons. Diffuse axonal injuries (DAI) happen when the axons tear or stretch. Sudden stops usually cause this type of brain injury.
A hematoma is when the blood pools in the tissue outside of the blood vessels. If you damage the major blood vessels in your head, the bleeding could be in or around your brain. A protective membrane surrounds your brain—the meninges. The membrane has three layers: the dura mater, the arachnoid mater, and the pia mater. Classification of a hematoma depends on the location of the hematoma in those three layers. An epidural hematoma is when the blood pools between the skull and the outermost layer—the dura mater.
A subdural hematoma is when the blood pools between the outermost layer and the middle layer—the dura mater and the arachnoid mater. Finally, a subarachnoid hemorrhage is when your head bleeds between the middle and innermost layers—the arachnoid mater and the pia mater, respectively.
Contrecoup and Coup Lesions
Subdural hematomas or contusions can form where your head was hit, and directly opposite of the part of the head that sustains the impact. When your head suddenly stops moving, the brain continues to move and bounces back and forth against your skull. A coup lesion is where the brain first hits the skull, and the contrecoup lesion is located opposite of the coup lesion. These lesions are common high-speed car crashes and shaken baby syndrome.
A concussion is a form of traumatic brain injury, and its symptoms could last for minutes or years. Blows to the head cause concussions. Hitting your head in a car accident, during sports, and in a fall could cause concussions. Even nearby blasting could cause a concussion if the percussion from the blast is strong enough. If you have a concussion a short time after the first one, the second could result in permanent damage or even death.
A contusion is a bruise or swelling. When you hit your head hard enough, the small blood vessels break and bleed. The blood seeps into the brain tissue. You might have a contusion at the site of a coup injury or on the contrecoup injury. Contusions could take several hours or even a day to appear.
A simple fracture is a crack in the bone and is usually non-penetrating. A compound fracture is usually penetrating. Simple fractures could cause damage to the brain under the skull. The damage could include the blood vessels, the membranes and even the brain itself.
Hemorrhagic Progression of a Contusion
HPC, or hemorrhagic progression of a contusion, leads to secondary injuries. When the contusion from the initial injury expands and continues to bleed, the legion grows larger. Sometimes a new legion may form. More blood from the legion gets into the brain, which damages and kills brain cells, and causes more swelling in addition to cell loss.
After an Accident
Because damage to your brain is a serious condition, you should always get medical attention immediately after an accident. Doctors can take x-rays and do tests to see if you have any damage to your skull or brain that could lead to brain damage.
If you do show signs of brain damage, especially if you have had previous concussions or other traumatic brain injuries, be sure to have your doctor document everything if you need it for negotiations or a lawsuit against the defendant.
If your injuries require a hospital stay, contact a traumatic brain injury lawyer as soon as possible, even if you are still in the hospital. We will come to you while you are in the hospital, so that you can get your case started as soon as possible. If you cannot contact us, a close relative may contact us on your behalf.
If you lost a loved one due to a traumatic brain injury or other injuries suffered in a car wreck, you or the representative of the estate might also contact us on the decedent’s behalf. While the compensation you might pursue does not heal your injuries or bring back a loved one, the money nonetheless relieves the stress of paying bills and the expenses associated with the car accident, including funeral and burial expenses.
Contact The Robert Pahlke Law Group’s Nebraska Brain Injury Attorneys
Contact a Nebraska brain injury lawyer at The Robert Pahlke Law Group at (308) 633-4444 for a free consultation as soon as possible. You have a short time to file a claim with insurance companies. It’s also wise to discuss your case while the accident is still fresh in your mind. If your brain injuries prevent you from discussing your case, have a family member contact a traumatic brain injury lawyer on your behalf.
Pahlke Law Group
2425 Circle Drive #200
Scottsbluff, NE 69361