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A Closer Look At Traumatic Brian Injuries

As modern science continues to reveal more about the human brain, we are all gaining a better understanding of brain injuries, how they are caused, and – hopefully – how to better treat them.

At Barney & Karamanis, LLP, our personal injury attorneys stay up to date on the latest brain research to help clients who have suffered a traumatic brain injury as the result of someone else’s negligence or intentional acts.

Defining ‘Trauma’ Related To Brain Injuries

It is worth mentioning that “trauma” has a specific meaning in the context of TBI. Most of us use trauma to describe difficult emotional or psychological harms. But with traumatic brain injuries, trauma typically refers to blunt force trauma, or the head being struck by an object or a force. There is also penetrating trauma, when an object penetrates the skull/brain, such as a bullet. Most often, however, TBI refers to blunt force trauma.

This is an important distinction because there are numerous other ways for the brain to be injured. These include hypoxia/anoxia (lack of oxygen), a viral infection or cerebral edema (swelling of the brain), just to name a few.

Types And Severity Of Traumatic Brain Injuries

Here are some of the medical terms used to describe TBIs, based on where and how they occur:

Concussions: The most common type of TBI, caused by a direct blow to the head or forces such as whiplash and violent shaking. They can be classified as mild, moderate or severe. They sometimes result in loss of consciousness, but not always.

Diffuse axonal injury: Characterized by damage to the nerve fibers (axons) in the brain. This is likely to occur when the head suddenly and dramatically decelerates, often because it struck something or was struck by something. However, this can also occur when both the head and body are suddenly stopped (such as in a car accident), even if the head doesn’t directly contact something else, because the brain can compress inside the skull.

Brain contusions: Bruising of the brain caused by a traumatic impact. It can lead to bleeding (hemorrhaging). The contusion is most likely to occur at the site where the head was impacted. However, someone can also suffer a coup-countrecoup injury, which is characterized by contusions at the impact site and directly opposite from the impact site (due to the brain slamming into one side of the skull, then striking the other side).

Assessing The Severity Of Your Injuries

As mentioned above, brain injuries are classified from moderate to severe. Unfortunately, it isn’t always possible to accurately assess the severity right after the injury; nor is it always possible to diagnose the symptoms a patient is likely to experience. Symptoms can vary widely, including:

  • Short-term to long-term loss of consciousness
  • Headaches
  • Memory loss
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Changes in mood, behavior or personality
  • Trouble sleeping or major changes in sleep habits
  • Speech and communication troubles

Although it takes time and careful analysis to fully assess the severity of a brain injury, it is important to do so for several reasons. First, it helps your medical providers anticipate what level and duration of treatment will be necessary. Second, it helps you and your family plan the path to recovery and set expectations appropriately. Finally, it helps you to determine what level of damages to seek in a personal injury lawsuit. The longer your healing process takes and the more medical treatment required, the more money you need to seek to compensate your expenses.

Discuss Your Case With An Experienced Brain Injury Lawyer For Free

The attorneys at Barney & Karamanis are ready to discuss your injuries and your legal options in a free initial consultation. To get started, call us in Chicago at 312-702-0872. You can also fill out our online contact form.