What is a Brain Injury?
Brain injuries can occur at any point in one’s life, and can even occur prior to birth. Brain injuries are considered either Traumatic Brain Injuries or Non-Traumatic Brain Injuries, depending on the cause. Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) are caused by external trauma to the head, such as a fall or other type of impact. Non-Traumatic Brain Injuries (non-TBI) are caused by internal factors that change the functioning of the brain, such as a lack of oxygen. A brain injury of any type can have severe, debilitating effects, and is often permanent.
The Main Causes of Brain Injuries
Brain injuries can be caused by any number of incidents relating to the brain. The most common causes of TBIs include falls, assaults, motor vehicle accidents, sports injuries, or workplace injuries. Non-TBIs, on the other hand, can be caused by a lack of oxygen, a stroke, an infectious disease, a seizure, toxic exposure, a tumor, or any incident that occurs inside the brain.
Causes of brain damage can vary depending on your demographic as well. For example, men and adults over the age of 65 are statistically at the greatest risk for severe TBIs resulting in hospitalizations.
Brain Injuries at Birth
Brain injuries of varying severity can occur at any point during pregnancy or during labor and delivery from a range of causes, including infection to the mother or oxygen deprivation, also known as asphyxia. Asphyxia is the leading cause of infant brain damage, and happens when there is a lack of oxygen to the baby’s brain. Non-TBIs could be caused by umbilical cord issues, placental abruption, getting stuck during delivery, mismanagement of labor and delivery, or contractions that are too close together. One of the most common types of brain damage caused by oxygen loss during the birthing process is called Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE). When HIE occurs, it is not always immediately apparent. Medical research studies have revealed that the majority of hypoxic ischemic injuries at or around the time of birth.
An infant can sustain a TBI during the labor and delivery process as well. Head trauma can be caused by contractions that are too strong or injuries from delivery tools.
Symptoms of infant brain damage include unusual facial features, abnormal eye movements, seizures, difficulty feeding, or excessive crying. In some cases, brain injuries may not be evident until later in the child’s life. Developmental delays can indicate brain damage, as well as increased muscle tone, or disturbances in behavior, cognitive abilities, or emotional functioning. HIE, for example, can often lead to severe developmental or cognitive delays, or motor impairments that become more apparent as the infant continues to develop. Brain injuries at birth can lead to cerebral palsy, among other conditions such as epilepsy or severe cognitive disability.
While brain injuries can range in severity, even mild damage at this stage in development can cause severe impairment in functioning and require lifelong care. Considering an infant’s brain is not fully developed, damage to the brain at this stage of life poses an increased risk of long-term adverse effects on health, development, cognitive abilities, and motor functions.
TBIs in Teens and Young Adults
As people get older and start driving or becoming more involved in sports and other recreational activities, it is not uncommon to see an increase in the possibility of getting a TBI. Being struck by an object or assault are also common for this demographic.
Older Adults and Elderly
Falling is a significant cause of brain injuries in older people, in addition to other leading causes such as vehicle accidents or assault. Any injury to the head should be addressed immediately, even if the symptoms seem mild. Even mild injuries place elderly adults at a higher risk of intracranial bleeding or death.
Symptoms and Treatments
Some symptoms of a brain injuries may be relatively easy to spot. Those suffering can have significant changes in their cognitive and behavioral functions, as well as specific physical responses to this kind of brain damage.
- Cognitive: amnesia, trouble concentrating or understanding, general mental confusion
- Behavioral: abnormal mood changes, aggression, impulsiveness, anxiety, repetitive behaviors
- Physical: nausea and vomiting, light sensitivity, dizziness, headaches, difficulty or excessive sleeping, speech problems
These are only some of the most common symptoms that one could experience while suffering from a brain injury. Most people can suffer from one or all of these, but it's important to note that these do not apply to every person. Children, for example, may have different symptoms like seizures, trouble feeding, or persistent crying.
Since severe brain injuries can have adverse long-term effects, including an increased risk of Alzheimer's and dementia, it's vital that these are taken seriously. While some mild cases can be treated fairly easily, more serious cases may require medication, hospitalization, surgery, or rehabilitation. Some treatment options that may be recommended to you depending on your symptoms include:
● Working with a speech pathologist or occupational therapist
● Surgery to prevent internal bleeding or repair skull fractures
● Anti-seizure drugs, diuretics
How Our Wilmington Personal Injury Attorneys Can Help
If you or a loved one has recently been diagnosed with a brain injury, you may be entitled to compensation depending on the circumstances surrounding it. Our founding attorney, Butler Daniel, has significant experience in handling brain injury lawsuits and will work with you to secure your right to live a healthy life.
Call (866) 380-2281 or visit our website to schedule a consultation to discuss how our firm can help you.