Understanding How Degrees of Head Trauma Can Become Causes of Brain Damage

Head and brain injuries are extremely scary, as they can cause permanent brain damage and death without much warning. On average, nearly two million people suffer from a traumatic brain injury every year, and nearly 50,000 of those injuries are fatal. Washington D.C. has an alarmingly high percentage of these injuries; it has been ranked sixth in the United States for brain trauma fatalities.

Now, most people have had moments in their lives where they’ve bumped their heads on something hard. Sure it may hurt, but you get over it. However, there are times—depending on circumstances—when that pain or disorientation could be an indication of brain swelling, bruising, or bleeding that could result in death. Therefore, it is very important to know the difference between minor and major head injuries, and to remember to seek medical attention if you are unsure of the severity of your head injury.

Some Head Injuries Are More Severe Than Others

Minor Head Injuries. Most minor head injuries are just small bumps and bruises to the exterior of the head that occurred without a lot of force. These could result from walking into a door or from being slapped in the head. This category also includes external injuries to the head, such as scrapes and cuts. These injuries will most likely be fine without emergency medical attention, depending on the severity of the cuts. Again, you should use your best judgment, and if you’re unsure of the force or damage of the injury, contact a medical professional immediately.

Major Head Injuries. These injuries apply more force to the exterior of the head and can cause the brain to jostle and hit the inside of your skull, resulting in bruising, tearing, or swelling of brain tissue. After a major head injury, your physician should always examine you for possible brain injury. Some examples of major head injuries include:

  • Falling off a ladder and striking your head on the ground.
  • A motorcycle or car accident where your head was struck by a solid object,
  • Major trauma, such as gunshots or knife wounds to the head.

Brain Injury: This category of injuries specifically affects the brain itself, not just the head or skull. Not all head injuries—minor or major—lead to brain injury. Common varieties of brain injury include:

  • Oxygen depletion caused by swelling, bruising, or blood flow issues.
  • Hematoma (broken blood vessels causing the brain to bleed).
  • Contusions and concussions

Brain injuries can result in permanent brain damage if not immediately treated. A lack of oxygen to the brain can cause cells to die. A cells die, motor and nerve functions can fail, and even the brain itself may die. This is why it is extremely important to seek medical attention as soon as possible if you believe you may have suffered a major head injury.

Virginia Head Injury Lawyers Can Help

For more information, advice, and counsel about what to do if you or your loved one has suffered brain damage or injury, please contact the Northern Virginia head injury attorneys, Shevlin Smith, by calling 703.691.5919 for a free consultation.