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When Traffic Accidents Result In Closed Head Injuries

On Behalf of | Jul 18, 2017 | Library, Traffic Accidents

If you were told that you or a loved one suffered a closed head injury
following a car accident, you may want to understand more about it. Any
type of head injury is frightening since the brain controls our ability
to move, think, concentrate, connect with others, and communicate. But
not all closed headed brain injuries cause disabling injuries. In fact,
according to
BrainLine.org, only 15 percent of people with a traumatic brain injury (TBI) have life-long
challenges and difficulties as a result of trauma to their brain. However,
if you or a loved one is among the percentage of people that are left
to deal with the symptoms of a closed head injury, this statistic isn’t
just a number—it’s reality.

Understanding Closed Head Brain Injuries

Although the brain is delicate, it is surrounded and protected by a hard
skull. The skull generally protects against things penetrating the brain,
which is why the majority of head injuries suffered in car accidents are
more often closed head injuries than open head injuries. In a closed head
injury, the skull is not broken, but the brain is still impacted.

Below the skull are membranes and layers of tissue that help keep the brain
from moving around too much, but in a violent car crash, the brain may
slam against part of the skull and bounce back and forth against the walls
of the skull. This often occurs when a person’s head is suddenly
forced to stop in an auto accident after moving at a high speed.

Types of Closed Head Injuries

When the head moves in this way or suffers a blow, brain tissues can bruise,
blood vessels can be torn, and swelling in the brain and pressure within
the skull can occur. As a result, a person in a car accident can suffer
different types of closed head injuries, including:

  • Concussion. According to the
    Brain Injury Association of America, a concussion is the most common type of a traumatic brain injury. A concussion
    is usually caused by a blow or jolt to the head. But even whiplash or
    violent shaking of the head in traffic accidents can cause the brain to
    bounce around in the skull and lead to a concussion. While some concussions
    are mild and temporarily affect normal brain function, a concussion is
    still a type of TBI that can be very serious.
  • Hematoma. When the brain is forced against the walls of the skull, bleeding can
    occur which can cause a pool of blood to collect between the brain and
    the skull. This is known as a hematoma, which can put pressure on the
    brain and cause it to swell—requiring immediate medical intervention.
  • Diffuse Axonal Injury. When a person’s head whips around in a crash, it can cause small
    tears called shearing in the brain that affects nerve fibers (also known
    as axons). Because axons transmit messages from one neuron to another,
    injuries to axons can cause a disruption in nerve communication and permanent
    nerve damage throughout the brain can occur. When neurons are damaged
    or don’t function normally, people may end up in a coma.

While some closed head injuries (such as a minor concussion) may heal in
time with little to no treatment needed, some brain injuries may require
surgery to stop bleeding and reduce swelling on the brain. Although nothing
penetrates the skull in a closed head injury, closed headed injuries can
be just as serious as open head injuries—resulting in life-altering
effects, such as:

  • Thinking difficulties
  • Communication problems
  • Behavioral issues
  • Personality changes
  • Emotional problems
  • Vision loss
  • Physical limitations
  • Concentration issues
  • Overall cognitive difficulties

Because the effects of a closed head injury can be permanent, ongoing medical
care and rehabilitation are often required from physical therapists, occupational
therapists, psychologists, and other medical professionals. Because the
expenses associated with brain injury rehabilitation can be costly, it
is important that victims of brain injuries talk to lawyers who have experience
in personal injury law and who understand how a person’s life can
drastically be impacted by a brain injury. We have that experience, and
our law firm welcomes your phone call and will answer your questions in
a free consultation.