Car accidents are the leading cause of head and brain injuries. Brain injury can occur when the head strikes the windshield. The head also undergoes a sudden acceleration/deceleration movement, most commonly known as a whiplash injury.
A whiplash injury can occur without direct external trauma to the head. Most brain injuries are the result of bruising, bleeding or tearing of brain tissue. Damage to the brain may occur at any time of the accident, or develop over time as tissues swell and bleed within the head.
Contusion or concussion. A contusion or concussion occurs when the brain is bruised by striking the cranium. The injury causes headaches, vomiting, dizziness and problems remembering or concentrating. It can have long-term consequences.
Anoxic brain injury. An injury that disrupts blood flows to the brain is an anoxic brain injury and is caused by a lack of oxygen to the brain usually through bleeding and swelling of the brain tissue.
Skull fracture. A skull fracture is a break in the bone that surrounds the brain. Often a skull fracture will heal on its own, but if there is tissue damage below the fracture, surgery may be required.
Contrecoup. Contrecoup injury occurs when the brain is propelled against both sides of the skull. In this type of injury, the brain will rebound and collide with the opposite side of the skull when it strikes both sides of the skull, thus resulting in injury.
Diffuse axonal injury. This type of injury called a diffuse axonal injury occurs with the rotation and disruption of the brain inside the skull, which severs or shears the brain's long connecting nerve fibers. This damage can be microscopic and can be difficult to measure. In cases of mild brow injury, the effects of this may not be long term, but following more severe injury, it can result in a permanent disability and unconsciousness and coma. Unfortunately, there is no real treatment for diffuse axonal injury. Recent studies indicate the damage the enzoncs appear to progress over the first 12 to 24 hours after injury. It is hoped that in the near future, it may be possible to prevent the progression with specific treatments.
Epidural hematoma. Epidural hematoma involves the formation of a blood clot between the skull and the top lining of the brain. This clot causes pressure changes in the brain and can require emergency surgery.
Subdural hematoma. A subdural hematoma is an inflammation of a blood clot between the brain tissue and the dura. If occurs slowly, over several weeks, it is referred to as a subdural hematoma. If it occurs quickly, it is referred to an acute subdural hematoma and this may require surgical correction.
The science behind brain injuries is constantly changing and highly technical. Attorneys who handle these cases should have extensive experience in this field. The causes often require the testimony of medical experts and psychological testing.
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