The Stages of Brain Injury

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What happens when the brain suffers trauma

A brain injury is not a sudden single event. Instead, it is a sequence of physiological and neurological processes that occur following trauma to the head – for example as a result of a work accident, road traffic accident or a fall from height.

If you, or someone close to you, have suffered a brain injury as a result of an accident or incident caused by another party's negligence, contact our brain injury solicitors today for more information about how you may be able to claim compensation. Talk to Thompsons.

If you would like to find out more about the stages or a brain injury, read on below.

The stages of a brain injury

A brain injury is defined by the cause as well as the complications that unfold following the initial trauma , which may include bleeding, swelling, lack of oxygen and rising pressure. Many experts believe that a TBI can be summarised in three stages:

1. The initial injury: The trauma and immediate damage caused by a blow or impact. For example, damage to the skull and brain caused by blunt force trauma in a fall when the head meets the ground.

2. The second injury: The damage that follows in the hours following the initial injury. Often involves oxygen deprivation, sometimes caused by vomit blocking the patient's airways.

3. The third injury: Occurring any time after the initial and second injuries and may involve bleeding, bruising, swelling or blood clots. Third injuries may take as long as several weeks following the initial injury. Close monitoring of the patient and intracranial pressure plays a crucial part in avoiding serious third-stage injuries.

Monitoring and early intervention

In order to reduce the risk of a more serious brain injury developing a quick medical response and comprehensive monitoring are key. This might include the use of a ventilator to encourage a good supply of oxygen, ensuring good levels of hydration (intravenously if necessary) and regular assessment to check for the development of blood clots.

Types of head injury

Head injuries can fall into one of three categories. These are as follows:

  • Closed head injuries: In this type of injury no wound is visible. These are very common in car accidents because extreme accelerative or decelerative forces can cause the head to be moved backwards and forwards or side-to-side in a way which causes the brain tissue to be twisted, stretched or even torn. Closed head injuries can result in diffuse brain injuries, arterial damage or bleeding.
  • Open or penetrating head injuries: Injuries in which the skull is opened and the brain exposed to injury. Typical examples include when the skull is penetrated by a sharp object such as a fragment of metal in a road traffic accident. This type of injury is often combined with the forces of a closed head injury.
  • Crush injuries: crush injuries describe injuries arising from situations in which the head becomes caught between two objects – for example, a vehicle and the road surface. This can cause compression, bleeding, wounds and irreversible damage to the tissue of the brain.

The consequences of brain injury

When nerve fibres at the "core" of the brain are damaged, this can impede the injured person's ability to stay alert and awake and may even result in coma.

Although the brain still remains somewhat mysterious even to neuroscientists, it is known that specific areas of the brain are responsible for specific functions. For example, damage to the left side of the head may result in speech and language problems because the parts of the brain responsible for speech and language development are in the left side of the brain and brain stem.

It is important to remember that although the consequences of a brain injury may include obvious and traumatic symptoms, they may also result in less obvious disability and impairment, including personality changes and cognitive and behavioural problems, such as depression, anxiety disorders and mood swings.

Thompsons brain injury solicitors

Thompsons brain injury solicitors in Scotland have vast experience securing compensation for clients who have suffered traumatic brain injuries caused by the actions of other parties, including employers and road users. We also have expertise in settling the most complex and high-value cases.

We work closely with head injury experts, to ensure you receive the best possible support, diagnosis, care and rehabilitation.

If your case requires a long time to settle, which is often the case in brain injury claims as the full ramifications of the injury may not be fully apparent for months or even years, whenever possible we work to secure interim payments to cover the immediate costs of any urgent rehabilitation, treatment or home adaptations.

To find out more why not visit our brain injury FAQs page, or call our brain injury solicitors today on 0800 0891 331 to speak to a member of the team.

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