From skull fractures to concussions, head injuries can vary greatly depending on the accident and the amount of trauma inflicted on the brain. And while closed head injuries may seem less serious than penetrating or open head injuries because a projectile or other item hasn’t penetrated the skull or brain, they can still cause significant physical and emotional damage with lifelong consequences for the victim. Whether the result of slip and fall, an automobile accident, or physical altercation, closed head injuries can cause slurred speech, blurred vision, and reduced motor skills.
In many cases, closed head injuries not only cost victims tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills and rehabilitation, but they can also prevent you from working for long periods of time, significantly impacting your ability to earn a living and provide for yourself and your family. To learn more about how you can take legal action against the person or parties responsible for your injury, contact the Roseville closed head injury lawyers at The Sevey Law Firm by calling (916) 788-7100 today.
What is a Closed Head Injury?
Sometimes known as a traumatic brain injury, a closed head injury occurs when only the brain is injured while the skull and dura mater stay intact. Unlike penetrating head injuries where an object breaks through the skull and enters the brain, causing gruesome damage, closed head injuries are the result of the brain slamming against the skull. And while they may seem less serious because there aren’t any bone fragments, brain matter, or open wounds, they can still be incredibly dangerous, and in some cases, even more deadly, because people are unaware of the true extent of internal damage. In fact, closed head injuries are a leading cause of cognitive impairments in young people and a leading cause of death in children under the age of four.
Causes of Closed Head Injuries
A significant number of people are affected by closed head injuries every year across the country. In fact, statistics report that roughly 1.7 million people suffer traumatic brain injuries every year and three out of every four is a type of closed head injury. Like other head injuries, closed head injuries occur any time the head suffers a serious blow, and the brain is thrown back and forth and crashes into the skull. While incredibly powerful and important to life, the brain is a delicate organ and is easily damaged. This means that it’s extremely susceptible to injury in the event of a car or truck accident, occupational or workplace accident, or a sports-related incident. The most common cause of a closed head injury is slip-and-falls, accounting for an estimated 35 percent of injuries.
Types of Closed Head Injuries
Although all head injuries have the potential to be serious and life-threatening, closed head injuries vary from mild to very severe depending on the nature of the trauma. The most common and mildest type of injury is a concussion and results in temporary disruption of normal brain function and primarily affects athletes in contact sports like football, soccer, and hockey. It is a common misconception that a person has to be unconscious for some amount of time to experience a concussion, but that isn’t the case. Concussions are in fact so dangerous because many people aren’t aware they’ve had one.
When an accident or another type of trauma causes bruising of the brain tissue, it is known as a cerebral contusion. These injuries are localized and affect specific parts of the brain and never actually heal. Instead, they form a scar. Another type of injury is intracranial hematoma, which occurs when blood vessels surrounding the brain burst, resulting in blood pooling and eventually causing an epidural or subdural hematoma. Epidural hematoma is blood between the brain and skull, while subdural hematoma is blood pooling around the brain.
The most severe type of closed head injury is called a diffuse axonal injury and is common in car or other motor vehicle accidents. Injuries of this severity result in damage to axons of the nerve cell, causing permanent brain damage. In the most severe cases this leads to a permanent coma or vegetative state for the victim.
Diagnosing a Closed Head Injury
Often, closed head injuries are identified by some common symptoms that arise after the traumatic event. However, sometimes closed head injuries can go unnoticed, which can lead to serious complications down the line. It’s important that after any event where you hit your head that you request a full neurological examination as soon as possible. This may include brain imaging using a CAT scan, MRI, or PET scan, meetings with physical and speech therapists, and an evaluation by a neuropsychologist.
Symptoms of Closed Head Injuries
Because not all head injuries result in loss of consciousness, it is important to be aware of how the victim is acting following an accident and to always seek medical attention as soon as possible. Specific symptoms will vary from case to case, but common ones include dizziness, confusion, nausea, vomiting, and trouble sleeping. Additionally, victims can experience a loss of consciousness for a short or extended period of time, headaches, dilated pupils, change in emotions, and potentially cerebrospinal fluid leaking from the nose or ears.
Along with physical signs, it’s also common for victims to experience emotional symptoms as they recover from their accident. This includes trouble socializing, experiencing personality changes, developing anxiety and also depression. In fact, studies show that almost half of all closed head injury victims also suffer psychiatric injuries following an accident.
If you notice any of the above following an accident, you should visit a doctor immediately. In many cases, symptoms of a head injury and brain swelling can be delayed or slowly progress over time, so it might not be immediately obvious you have a traumatic brain injury. And because head injury victims can slowly regress, it’s important to be aware of the signs and take medical action if you begin to notice them.
Long-Term Complications of a Closed Head Injury
Without the proper treatment, victims of a closed head injury are at risk for developing more serious complications. This sometimes results in increased pressure or swelling in the brain. These problems can lead to nerve damage, seizures, mental disability, personality and communication changes, coma, and even death.
Treating Closed Head Injuries
Like all injuries, treatment varies from case to case and depends entirely on the severity of the closed head injury. The specific injury also determines the length of treatment. While many injuries like minor concussions require very little treatment, serious injuries could require a lifetime of treatment and rehabilitation. Common treatment methods include medications like antidepressants to treat depression or DDAVP to improve memory. Along with medication, seeing a therapist can ease a patient back into normal life and give them someone to talk to about their feelings and also regain cognitive and motor skills. Occasionally, surgery and rehabilitation will be needed.
Compensation for a Closed Head Injury
Closed head injuries can affect almost every area of your life, from your health to your livelihood to your relationships. The party responsible for your injury may owe you compensation for:
Medical Expenses: Including ambulance rides, hospital visits, surgeries, doctors appointments, and medications
Lost Wages: If you had to miss work while recovering from your injury, you can receive money for this missed time
Lost Earning Potential: If your closed head injury results in a permanent disability that prevents you from keeping your job or working at all in the future, you can be compensated for what you otherwise would have earned
Therapy Costs: If you had to attend physical, occupational, speech, or emotional therapy as a result of your injuries, you can be compensated for those costs
Non-economic damages: You can also be compensated for things like pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, disability, and other non-economic consequences of your injury.
Contact a Roseville Closed Head Injury Lawyer
When a reckless person’s actions cause a car accident or workplace accident that leaves you with a closed head injury, your world could be turned upside down. For most people, the cost of medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses are too much to bear on their own. You don’t have to suffer any longer. The Roseville head injury lawyers at The Sevey Law Firm are here to help you get the compensation you deserve. To learn more about your legal options, contact us today by calling (916) 788-7100 to schedule a free consultation.