Understanding Serious Traumatic Brain Injuries

The word “traumatic” is not an indicator of the severity of a brain injury. Instead, it refers to the method of injury. Traumatic injuries are caused through an impact of some type. This can be contrasted with brain injuries caused by exposure or disease. Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) can range in severity from mild to severe and even deadly.

Brain injuries can be caused by falls, crashes and sports collisions. In many cases, symptoms are relatively mild. Victims may experience nausea and vomiting, as well as tiredness and sensitivity to light. For victims of mild concussions, these symptoms tend to fade over the course of a few days or a week.

Some victims experience more severe head injuries. Serious contusions (bruising) can occur when the head impacts some type of surface. This can lead to a longer recovery and more intense symptoms.

Brain injuries aren’t always bruises. Sometimes there is tearing inside the brain. Diffuse axonal injury (DAI) is a serious and sometimes deadly type of brain injury. DAI occurs due to differences in density in different parts of the brain. As the brain rapidly decelerates or rotates upon impact, these different parts move at different speeds, causing axons in the brain to stretch and tear.

Diffuse axonal injury often causes unconsciousness. This unconsciousness can be brief, lasting only minutes or hours, but many victims never wake up. In the most serious cases, victims remain unconscious for the rest of their life. Those that do awaken often have severe mental and physical disabilities.

Brain injury victims who have lost consciousness may either be in a coma or a persistent vegetative state. Coma patients usually do not respond to any stimuli. If they survive, they may progress into a vegetative state. Those in a persistent vegetative state hover somewhere below consciousness but may still be able to swallow, open their eyes and respond to certain stimuli. Some patients regain consciousness in the first few months. Very few wake up after a year.

Sadly, brain death is a possibility in an accident causing TBI. The body dies when either the brain or the heart stops working. Brain death is not a coma. Patients cannot recover from it, even if the rest of their body is functioning normally. There are different types of brain death based on which parts of the brain are injured. The essential thing to understand is that brain death is irreversible.

At Seigel Law in Ridgewood, our attorneys represent the families of those who have suffered traumatic brain injuries. Whether the patient will make a full recovery or will need a lifetime of care, we fight to get them justice. In cases where injuries are fatal, we will pursue wrongful death remedies under the law. Call us now at 201.444.4000 or contact us online to arrange a free consultation with an experienced New Jersey brain injury attorney.

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