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Understanding traumatic brain injuries

Brain injuries can be particularly devastating for families. If brain function is limited due to damage, then quality of life can fall drastically. There are two basic types of traumatic brain injury: closed and penetrating.

With penetrating injuries, a foreign object enters the brain. One example would be a bullet going through the skull and brain. Surgeons can examine the patient and conduct tests to determine which area suffered damage, and symptoms will vary based on the area that was damaged. With closed-head injuries, the brain is damaged as the result of a hard blow to the head. Examples include falling, hitting the head on a car dashboard or being struck with an object.

Closed-head injuries may also involve extensive damage. Primary brain damage occurs at the time of the injury and includes breaking of the skull, contusions, blood clots, lacerations and nerve damage. Over time, the injury may lead to secondary brain damage, including swelling, blood pressure problems, epilepsy, fever, infection, anemia and other health problems. People who have suffered a TBI may suffer from hearing loss, headaches, vomiting, blurred vision, reduced strength and coordination, and difficulty communicating. In more severe cases, they may lose their ability to care for themselves.

There are many causes for brain injury, and the results can be devastating. When someone suffers brain damage as the result of another person's negligence or physical assault, they may be able to file a civil suit to receive compensation for medical bills, permanent disability and other losses. An attorney can review the case files to determine what the victim's options are and provide them with the legal information necessary for them to make a more informed decision.

Source: American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, "Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)", October 28, 2014

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