Can I Collect Compensation for a Head Injury?
Head injuries occur when a victim suffers trauma to his or her scalp, skull, or brain. While some head injuries are relatively minor and may only leave the victim with a small bump and a slight headache, others can result in permanent brain damage and in some tragic cases, even death. Treating head injuries often requires extensive testing, taking prescription medications, undergoing surgery, and cognitive therapy, all of which can quickly overwhelm a victim’s finances, so if you or a loved one suffered a head injury in an accident caused by another person’s negligence, it is critical to speak with an experienced Atlanta personal injury attorney who can help you seek compensation for your medical bills.
Closed Head Injuries
There are two main types of head injuries: closed head injuries and open, or penetrating head injuries. Closed head injuries occur when the victim receives a direct blow to the head or suffers from a violent motion that causes the brain to knock against the inside of the skull, although the skull itself is not actually penetrated. Ranging from minor to severe, closed head injuries can be diffuse, which means that they affect both the cells and the tissues of the brain, or focal, meaning that the damage only occurred in one specific area. Strong blows to the head, such as those sustained in a car crash or from slipping and falling, can lead to complications like brain swelling and intracranial pressure. These problems are extremely serious and can result in the permanent destruction of brain tissue and nerve cells.
The most common types of closed head injuries include:
- Concussions, which can leave victims feeling confused and unable to concentrate or sensitive to light and noise;
- Brain contusions, which occur when the brain tissue is bruised and can lead to hemorrhages wherein blood is absorbed into the cerebrospinal fluid, resulting in permanent neurological damage and leaving injured parties with a loss of coordination and memory problems;
- Diffuse axonal injuries, which are some of the most devastating types of traumatic brain injuries and can leave victims in a vegetative state or a coma; and
- Intracranial hematoma, which occur when trauma causes the brain to knock against the inside of the skull, resulting in a pool of blood forming outside of the blood vessels of the brain or in between the skull and the brain itself.
Head injury symptoms usually present themselves immediately, although in cases of mild head injuries, it may take days or even weeks after an injury before a victim begins to experienced side effects. Symptoms of closed head injuries can include:
- A loss of consciousness;
- Convulsions and seizures;
- Dilated pupils;
- Emotional and behavioral changes;
- Memory problems or difficulty speaking;
- Nausea and vomiting;
- Respiratory issues; and
- Vision problems.
The type of treatment required in cases involving a closed head injury depend on the severity of the injury. Mild injuries usually only require rest and in some cases, pain relievers. However, those with serious closed head injuries may require a doctor or surgeon to ease intracranial pressure caused by swelling. This can be done through prescribing anti-seizure medications, coma-inducing drugs, or diuretics. Those suffering from intracranial hematoma, however, almost always require surgery to drain clotted blood that is deposited between the skull and the brain. Depending on the area of the brain that was damaged, victims may also require rehabilitative therapy to regain basic motor and cognitive skills. Other injured parties may have trouble walking or speaking or may suffer from memory loss.
Open Head Injuries
Open head injuries occur when an object penetrates the skull itself. Often, this takes the form of skull fragments piercing the tissues of the brain, which can be deadly. Open head injuries can result in the same types of problems as those caused by closed head injuries, including:
- A buildup of intracranial pressure in the brain cavity;
- Bleeding in the skull; and
- Damaged brain tissue.
However, in addition to these problems, open head injuries require a surgeon to repair skull fractures and remove damaged tissue. For instance, doctors will need to locate the tissue damage found at the point of penetration as well as the tissue around the path of the intruding object, whether it was a bullet, a knife, or a part of the skull. These steps are necessary to help maintain blood flow and oxygen to the brain and so prevent permanent damage. Victims of open head injuries also often suffer from lacerations caused by the skull fragments, which can cause large blood vessels to rupture, resulting in bleeding in the brain. This can lead to increased intracranial pressure as well as hematoma. Open head injury victims are also vulnerable to infection.
Open head injuries are usually much more gruesome than closed head injuries and are often deadly. However, they are more easily diagnosed than closed head injuries, which often have no physical symptoms or evidence of trauma. Still, physicians will need to conduct extensive tests prior to diagnosis or surgery, which could include taking a CT scan or a MRI, both of which can confirm the extent of the damage done by the penetrating object. Victims may require multiple surgeries as well as cognitive therapy, but still may suffer from permanent brain damage.
Contact an Experienced Atlanta Personal Injury Attorney
Head injuries are especially dangerous to patients who are often required to undergo numerous surgeries to address intracranial swelling, brain tissue damage, and lacerations. Recuperating from head injuries can take months or even years, which can make it difficult and in some cases, impossible for injured parties to stay on top of their medical bills and household expenses. As a result, collecting compensation from the party who caused the injury through his or her negligence or recklessness is often critical to a victim’s recovery process. If you live in Atlanta and sustained a head injury in an accident caused by someone else, please contact Ted A. Greve & Associates, P.A. by sending us a brief message or by initiating a live chat with one of our skilled personal injury attorneys in Atlanta.