Experiencing and coping with a severe head injury is a profound life-changing event. But the trauma and challenges are not confined only to the person who has suffered the injury – there is also a profound impact for friends and family. After all, they are the first line of support, providing round the clock care and attention, while at the same time they must process their own sense of personal loss.
If you or someone close to you has sustained a severe head or brain injury as a result of an accident that was the fault of another party, Thompsons head injury solicitors may be able to help you claim compensation. In most cases we can assist you on a No Win No Fee basis, meaning that you are never placed in any financial jeopardy at a time when you are already likely to be experiencing financial strain.
What constitutes a severe head injury?
A diagnosis of severe head injury is typically made using a CT scan as well as the diagnostic criteria of the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS). The GCS places brain injuries on a scale from 3 to 15 with 3 the most severe and 15 the least severe.
Any GCS score of 13 or above would be classed as a minor head injury; a score of 9 to 12 would be a moderate head injury; and a score of 8 or less would indicate a severe head injury.
It may not always be immediately obvious that a person has a severe head injury – for example, an individual may initially score 9 on the GCS but later be reassessed and score 5 or 6.
Symptoms of a severe head injury may include the following:
- Impaired language and speech
- Difficulty staying awake
- Sensory disturbance – for example, double vision
- Discharge of blood or fluid from the ears or nose
- Repeated vomiting
- Poor co-ordination
- Swelling or bruising around the eyes or behind the ears
Types of severe head injury
There are many types of severe head injury and even more possible complications. Some of these include the following:
- Diffuse axonal injury: A diffuse axonal injury involves swelling and brain damage across multiple areas of the brain. This can be one of the most dangerous brain injuries. In some cases it may cause permanent damage or even death.
- Haemorrhage: A brain haemorrhage is characterised by bleeding within the skull. This bleeding can be in the space between the brain and the skull (extradural and subdural haemorrhages),within the tissue of the brain (intracerebral haemorrhage), and as a type of stroke (subarachnoid haemorrhage).
- Hypoxic brain injury: This type of injury is caused by disruption to brain's oxygen supply. It may take some time to achieve diagnosis as hypoxia is often a side-effect of an incident that does not involve the brain – for example smoke inhalation or a heart attack.
- Haematoma: A subdural haematoma is caused by damage to a blood vessel between the brain and the skull. This can cause a build up of pressure inside the skull and may result in unconsciousness or even fatality.
- Intracranial hypertension: IH occurs when pressure build up inside the skull. There are numerous causes of IH including injuries such as chronic subdural haematoma
- Skull fractures: When the skull is broken or penetrated during an incident this is known as a compound fracture or open head injury and the outer layer of the brain may have been breached Other skull fractures may be simple (closed), linear, depressed or basal and all carry the risk of underlying brain damage.
How a severe head injury might occur
In general, head injuries are either caused by blunt impact trauma to the head or because of an incident of shaking and/or vibration on impact. The latter are most common in small children but can also occur during road traffic accidents and other incidents.
Some common causes of severe head injury include the following:
- Falls from height
- Being struck by a falling object
- A slip or trip
- A car, motorcycle or bicycle accident
- A sports-related accident – for example, skiing
- Medical negligence.
The wider effects of a severe head injury
Severe brain injuries affects whole families and friendship groups, not just individuals. Everyone concerned is likely to experience severe disruption to their usual routines and may even sustain lost earnings as a result of the pressures inherent in caring for a brain injured individual.
Anxiety and depression are common, particularly for family members who are likely to be coping immediately with the injured person's emotional, personality and behavioural changes.
Spouses may feel isolated and trapped, while children will find the process of coping with an injured family member to be especially challenging.
Why you should make a compensation claim with Thompsons?
Thompsons Solicitors is one of the leading personal injury firms in Scotland and has especial expertise in dealing with high value and complex claims, including those involving severe head injury.
Our brain injury solicitors will instruct medical experts to assess the injury and its long-term impact. We look at issues such as how it will affect your lifestyle, your capacity to work and your need for specialist support. Information about ensuring brain injury rehabilitation can be found here
Furthermore, whenever possible, we strive to secure prompt interim payments to cover any immediate rehabilitation, treatment or home adaptation costs. You can find more information about short-term financial assistance here.
To speak to a member of the team about how Scotland's leading personal injury firm can help you, contact us today without obligation.