What is a Brain Injury?

As a personal injury law office with attorneys who represent those who have injury-to-headsustained head trauma, we have seen first-hand that brain injuries are more common than we realize. They can happen at any time, without warning, and have the ability to completely change your life forever. If you decide to seek legal representation as a result of your brain injury, be sure you choose a firm with years of experience working for survivors of traumatic brain injury.  Not only are the attorneys at our firm knowledgeable about the laws, but the medicine surrounding the treatment of severe head injuries.

Our team of attorneys specializing in brain injury cases is led by George Sinas, who has dedicated his legal career to supporting and giving back to the Michigan brain injury community. In addition to being a board member of the Brain Injury Association of Michigan, George Sinas has also lectured extensively across the state about the important legal issues that impact brain injury survivors, especially as it relates to accessing benefits and medical care to aid in their recovery and rehabilitation under the law.

If you or a loved one have suffered a head injury, it is important that understand its implications and impact. It is also imperative that you take the experience quite seriously by seeking medical attention soon after experiencing any head trauma. It might not always be immediately obvious when or if someone has suffered a brain injury. The severity of a brain injury may also vary depending on the circumstances under which it took place and the individual. However, despite all of this, it’s imperative that these types of injuries be taken seriously, not only by those who may have suffered them, but also their families and medical providers. Inappropriate diagnoses and lack of treatment can have dangerous consequences down the road.

How does a brain injury happen?

If you or a loved one have suffered a head injury, it is important that understand its implications and impact. It is also imperative that you take the experience quite seriously by seeking medical attention soon after experiencing any head trauma. It might not always be immediately obvious when or if someone has suffered a brain injury. The severity of a brain injury may also vary depending on the circumstances under which it took place and the individual. However, despite all of this, it’s imperative that these types of injuries be taken seriously, not only by those who may have suffered them, but also their families and medical providers. Inappropriate diagnoses and lack of treatment can have dangerous consequences down the road.

A brain injury can take a number of different forms and can manifest itself in additional ways as a result of other incidents, including:

  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Boating accidents
  • Slips
  • Trips
  • Falls
  • Construction site accidents
  • Airplane accidents
  • Train accidents
  • Sporting accidents/incidents
  • Recreational activities

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the leading causes of injury to the brain include falls, car accidents, assault, or being struck by or against an object, such as another person, a wall, or falling object. Specifically, the CDC reports that there:

  • 595,095 fall-related traumatic brain injuries (TBI);
  • 292,202 motor vehicle or traffic-related TBI;
  • 279,882 brain injuries resulting from being struck by or against an object;
  • 169,625 head injuries resulting from assaults;
  • 199,447 TBI resulting from unknown causes; and
  • 155,255 head injuries classified as “other”.

Here, we will briefly review four common brain injuries we have come across during our collective experience as personal injury lawyers.

Traumatic Brain Injury

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a common occurrence. It is described as an injury caused by a traumatic event (for instance, due to a car accident) that results in changes or an impairment of an individual’s function. According to the Mayo Clinic, TBI occurs “when an external mechanical force causes brain dysfunction,” and it “usually results from a violent blow or jolt to the head or body.”

There are a number of symptoms that may manifest in those who have suffered from a traumatic brain injury. A number of these include the following traumatic-brain-injury(which is by no means an exhaustive list):

  • Loss of consciousness (or, if not, a sense of being confused, dazed, and/or disoriented);
  • Headache;
  • Nausea and/or vomiting;
  • Fatigue;
  • Drowsiness;
  • Difficulty sleeping;
  • Sleeping more than normal;
  • Dizziness; and
  • Loss of balance

There are well over a million individuals who sustain TBIs every year in the United States, and thousands of them in Michigan alone. Due to its frequency, TBI is also known as the “silent epidemic.” While medicine and technology have been instrumental in treating those who suffer from traumatic brain injury, allowing them to survive for longer periods of time, this also means that they will continue to need treatment and any additional resources that will allow them to live their lives as normally as they can, all things considered. This, by extension, means that their medical providers and lawyers have had to face new, significant challenges to make sure clients continue to have access to the long-term care that is required for many brain injury survivors.

Closed Head Injuries

A closed head injury occurs when the brain accelerates and decelerates quickly, causing the brain to slam into the skull. In addition to traumatic brain injuries, these types of injuries are often seen in car accidents or trip (or slip) and fall accidents. In many cases, due to the internal swelling and bruising that might take place as a result of the closed head injury, these types of injuries cause more damage. As a result, the damage may have adverse consequences on other areas of the brain.

Concussion Injuries

In representing personal injury and car accident survivors over the years, our attorneys have come into contact with a good number of people who sustained concussions; they are a common injury. What is a concussion, exactly? It’s a type of traumatic brain injury which may result in a bad headache, unconsciousness (or loss of consciousness), or an altered state of consciousness. If you are involved in a motor vehicle collision, for example, and you suffer a blow to the head causing your head (and brain) to move back and forth quickly, a concussion is possible depending on the level of impact. Brain bruising is also possible in this scenario. In addition to auto accidents, those who play contact sports such as football, hockey, and soccer are also likely to suffer from concussions if the proper precautions are not taken. You’ve probably heard of the ongoing controversy surrounding the NFL and former players who have suffered severe brain injury and trauma as a result of playing.

The scary thing about concussions is that it might not be readily apparent that you’ve suffered one. That is why it is so vital that you seek medical attention immediately after suffering from a blow to the head, especially if it’s significant. Even if you feel “okay” after a slip and fall or trip and fall, or even after a car crash, it is better to be checked out by a medical professional than to wait until you’re not feeling so well. Waiting too long may have dire consequences.

Brain Hemorrhage

Yet another type of brain injury, a brain hemorrhage may also take place after head trauma happens. It is a closed head injury that results in bleeding and swelling in the brain. In an auto or semi-truck accident, for example, a bump or trauma to the head may cause it to move back and forth rapidly; if that happens, your brain may hit your skull, causing bruising. As a result, an artery in your brain may burst, causing bleeding around the brain tissue, in addition to swelling. Brain hemorrhages can be life-threatening, which is why you must seek immediate medical attention if you or a loved one are experiencing some of the following symptoms:

  • Sudden, severe headache;brain-hemorrhage-illustration
  • Seizures (without prior history of seizures);
  • Weakness in an extremity (arm, leg);
  • Nausea and vomiting;
  • Lethargy;
  • Vision changes;
  • Tingling or numbness;
  • Speech difficulty (or difficulty comprehending what is being said to you);
  • Swallowing difficulties;
  • Difficulty reading and/or writing;
  • Loss of coordination and/or balance;
  • Loss of fine motor skills; and
  • Loss of consciousness.

Although you might not always be able to prevent a brain injury from happening, you can protect yourself by learning about the rights you have under Michigan law, as well as the resources you and your loved ones will have available for support and guidance during this time.