Brain injuries can happen in many different ways, and each injury is unique. When the brain suffers an injury, it can affect several areas or the entire brain. The details will depend on the type of brain injury.
An acquired brain injury (ABI) happens after birth. There are two main types of these brain injuries:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Non-traumatic brain injuries
Let’s look at the difference and types of each brain injury.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) happen because of an external insult or force. Blows, bumps, or jolts to the head can cause TBIs, and many traumatic brain injuries occur during motor vehicle accidents.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were about 2.87 million TBI-related hospitalizations, emergency room visits, and deaths in 2014. The top two causes of TBI-related hospital admissions were falls (52%) and auto accidents (20%).
TBIs can affect how someone thinks, physically moves, and interacts socially. Some TBIs are temporary, while others are permanent.
The leading causes of traumatic brain injuries include:
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Sports or recreational activities
- Child abuse
- Gunshot wounds
- Shaken baby syndrome
- Military actions
- Domestic violence
Here are some of the main types of traumatic brain injuries.
Concussions happen when an impact or sudden movement causes brain trauma. Common causes of concussions include:
- Gunshot wounds
- Direct blows
- Whiplash-related injuries
- Violent shakes
The force of whiplash can cause the same issues as head injuries. It can take a few months to a few years for concussions to heal. Some concussion symptoms stay for life.
Direct blows or jolts can cause bruising or bleeding in the brain also called a contusion. Some wounds need surgery to remove.
Penetration Brain Injuries
Penetration brain injuries, or open head injuries, involve an object like a bullet or knife that enters the head. The impact can force bones, skin, or object fragments into the brain.
These injuries happen on both sides of the brain. The force causes a wound where the object impacted the head. Then, the brain slams into the other side of the skull, creating a second wound.
Shaken Baby Syndrome
The official name for “shaken baby syndrome” is a diffuse axonal injury. Strong shaking or rotational forces cause this injury.
When the skull moves around quickly, the brain can’t catch up. The force causes tears in brain structures. Both physical abuse and auto accidents can cause these brain injuries.
Non-Traumatic Brain Injury
Non-traumatic brain injuries do not involve physical trauma. Internal factors cause damage to the brain. Some people refer to non-traumatic brain injuries as acquired brain injuries.
Causes of non-traumatic brain injuries include:
- Diseases like meningitis
- Electric shock
- Lack of oxygen to the brain
Hypoxic brain injuries happen when the brain does not get enough oxygen. Anoxia brain injuries occur when the brain does not receive any oxygen. The lack of oxygen leads to injuries since brain cells need oxygen to survive.
Three Levels of Brain Injuries
According to the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA), there are three main brain injury categories:
- Mild brain injury
- Moderate brain injury
- Severe brain injury
Mild Traumatic Brain Injury
Mild traumatic brain injuries can involve:
- Brief or no loss of consciousness
- Memory loss
Mild brain injuries do not always show up on tests or scans. Someone might seem confused or dazed. In some cases, the person will lose consciousness for a short period.
Mild traumatic brain injuries are usually concussions. They involve a minor blow to the head.
Moderate Traumatic Brain Injury
Moderate brain injuries can involve:
- Contusions or bleeding
- Up to 24 hours of unconsciousness
- Signs of brain trauma
- Neuroimaging that shows injury
Moderate brain injuries can affect someone’s behavior and physical or brain function, and these issues could last for months or forever. Proper treatment can be beneficial for moderate brain injuries.
Severe Brain Injury
Severe head injuries can involve:
- Losing consciousness for over 24 hours
- Neuroimaging tests showing signs of injury
- Not having a sleep/wake cycle while unconscious
Penetration wounds and crushing blows often cause severe brain injuries. The force severely injuries the brain’s tissues. Severe brain injuries can be serious and life-threatening, and some people go into a permanent coma.
Severe brain injuries usually require long periods of hospitalization. Many people need a lot of rehabilitation. The injured person must learn to live with their new “normal.”
A severe brain injury can change how someone thinks, feels, and talks. Some injuries increase the risk of brain disorders. Others can cause epilepsy.
Schedule a Free Consultation With a Brain Injury Lawyer Today
Many brain injuries occur during traumatic accidents. If someone else was responsible for your (or a loved one’s) accident, you might be entitled to compensation.
At John Foy & Associates, our brain injury lawyers can help. We will approach your case with compassion and expertise. With over 20 years of experience, we can handle the legal side of things.
If you or a loved one suffered a brain injury, call us today. We’ll discuss your situation and your legal options. The consultation is FREE, and there is no fee unless we win your case. Call (404) 400-4000 or contact us online for your FREE consultation.