If someone’s been in an accident and sustained a traumatic brain injury (TBI), just the wording of the diagnosis can be terrifying. But TBIs have several levels, some of which are relatively minor–and others can have life-long implications or even result in death. Here’s what you need to know about TBIs.

What Is a Traumatic Brain Injury?

Many personal injury cases involve TBIs. A TBI can result when someone receives a hard blow or jolt to the head. They can also be caused by objects that go through the skull and brain tissue, such as a bullet or a piece of skull that breaks off for another reason and is embedded in the tissue. TBIs encompass various symptoms and severity, from minor inconveniences to permanent disabilities or death.

What Are the Primary 2 Types of TBIs?

While there are many variations on how a TBI manifests in each person, there are two overall types that each variation is categorized within.

  • Closed injuries. Closed injuries occur within the brain without any fracturing of the skull.
  • Open injuries. These involve situations that cause the skull to be fractured or penetrated, with part of the brain exposed.

What TBIs are Closed Injuries?

There are 8 types of closed injury TBIs.

  • Concussions. Many people are familiar with the injury known as a concussion but don’t know it’s one type of injury that falls into the larger category of TBIs. These are the most common type of TBI and are caused by something causing the brain to collide forcefully with the skull. Concussions can be mild or severe and can cause permanent damage.
  • Contusions. This is a bruise or bleeding on the brain. It often happens with concussions. It may heal on its own, but if it doesn’t, it could require surgery. How severe the situation is depends on where the contusion is on the brain, how large it is, and how long it lasts.
  • Brain hemorrhages. This is a more severe form of bleeding either on the brain or in the brain’s tissue. They’re considered focal brain injuries, which means they only affect a specific part of the brain. They can be less severe than other types of brain injury, but again, only a doctor can fully determine that.
  • Intracranial hematomas. These are areas where blood pools in the brain outside of the blood vessels. They can be dangerous if left untreated.
  • Coup-contrecoup brain injury. This is essentially the “one-two punch” of brain injuries. Imagine someone is in a car accident that slams their head into the passenger-side dashboard. The blow causes an initial injury, but if the rebound is also severe, a secondary injury occurs when the person’s head pulls back from the dashboard. This can result in injuries in multiple parts of the brain.
  • Diffuse axonal injury. This is one of the most catastrophic types of closed injury. It happens when the brain is shaken inside the skull. It causes the brain to lose various functions and can be dangerous. Because the actual injury sites are microscopic, they can be hard to diagnose.

What TBIs are Open Injuries?

Penetrating brain injuries are any brain injury that involves an object entering the skull and brain tissue.

What Is Second-Impact Syndrome?

This is the eighth level of TBIs and can be either an open or closed injury. This occurs when someone receives a second brain injury soon after having gotten the first one. The second injury can cause more damage than the first, including permanent damage.

What Are Some Symptoms of a Mild TBI?

There is a wide range of symptoms that are perceptible after a brain injury, and, in some cases, there may be few or no symptoms. Even if someone feels fine after experiencing a blow or jolt to the head, they should see a doctor as soon as possible. Untreated damage can worsen and cause outcomes that are worse than they would have been if someone saw a doctor right away.

Physical symptoms can include dizziness, fatigue, nausea, headaches, or difficulty speaking. Vision may be blurred, ears may ring, or someone might experience increased sensitivity to light and/or sound.

Loss of consciousness is a common symptom, as is remaining conscious but feeling confused or disoriented. Mood swings or depression can result, along with memory or concentration problems. Someone may either sleep more than usual or have trouble sleeping at all.

More severe TBIs can have all these symptoms and more. That’s why visiting a doctor as soon as possible is essential.

What Should I Do if I Received a TBI During an Accident?

The first thing to do is be seen by a medical professional. Even if your symptoms seem minor, such as a low-grade headache, TBIs can cause more significant damage than may be noticeable initially. A doctor should fun a full series of tests to ensure the TBI is minor or not. Then call us as soon as possible at 951-554-1010 to request a free consultation. We can walk you through the options for seeking damages or other legal remedies.

If someone else was at fault for the accident that caused your injury, do not have any communications, written or spoken, about the accident with their attorney or insurance representative. Their goal will be to have you answer questions in such a way as to accept at least part of the liability, if not all of it. They may also want you to accept a much lower settlement than you might be eligible for. Say nothing, sign nothing, and refer them to your own attorney.