Brain injuries have been classified and re-classified over the years with several different names. What was once an open head injury is now called a traumatic brain injury. Traumatic brain injuries are then classified as severe, moderate or mild based upon how long the person was unconscious.
We agree with a group of lawyers who are advocating that brain injury should be classified with two simple categories: those involving coma and those that don’t. And though brain injuries are the signature wound of military personnel returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, the military calls it mild traumatic brain injury.
Think about this. Beth Jameson suffered an anoxic brain injury due to a stroke; Alan Forman suffered diffuse axonal brain injury after being run over by a boat; Claudia Osborn was riding a bicycle and was hit by a car resulting in traumatic brain injury; Donna Jones suffered TBI during a snowmobile accident; Courtney Larson was in an automobile accident; David Fierce was driving a car that hit a patch of black ice and slid off the road right into his brain injury. Angela Ronson’s brain injury came as a result of an Arterio-Venous Malformation (AVM) rupture.
Rebekah Vandergriff lay in a coma for six weeks after her car accident. Beth Jameson and Alan Crimmins were put into morphine-induced comas to prevent their brains from receiving more damage.
Each person mentioned above-suffered memory problems, cognitive problems, and behavioral problems. Beth and Courtney did not remember they were married; Beth didn’t remember she had two children. David Fierce did not remember that he was trying to get away from a former girlfriend … and married her!
Different Types of Brain Injuries – Common Problems
Anoxic and Hypoxic brain injuries are differentiated by oxygen amounts. A person suffering from anoxia is not getting any oxygen to the brain. Hypoxia, on the other hand, happens when a person does not receive an adequate amount of oxygen going to the brain.
It is not possible to use the word all when talking about brain injuries. No two brains are exactly alike before being injured; therefore no two injured brains are exactly alike afterward. There are common problems, and those common problems usually involved loss of skills involving memory, cognition, and behavior.
Brain Injury Articles
Below are links to articles that will provide more information about a few types of brain injuries.
- Traumatic Brain Injuries
- Anoxic Brain Injuries
- Acquired Brain Injury
- Hypoxic Brain Injury
- Diffuse Brain Injury
Symptoms of Brain Injury
Symptoms of brain injury can also be symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and they can be symptoms of numerous other neurological problems. The bottom line is this: if you have several of the symptoms, you need to schedule a visit with your primary care physician and discuss the need to see a brain injury specialist.
Neuropsychologist Glen Johnson developed a questionnaire that we present here with his permission.
- Do you have more headaches since the injury or accident?
- Do you have pain in the temples or forehead?
- Do you have pain in the back of the head – sometimes the pain will start at the back of the head and extend to the front of the head?
- Do you have episodes of very sharp pain – like being stabbed in the head – which lasts from several seconds to several minutes?
- Does your memory seem worse following the accident or injury?
- Do you seem to forget what people have told you 15 to 30 minutes ago?
- Do family members or friends say that you have asked the same question over and over?
- Do you have difficulty remembering what you have just read?
- Do you have difficulty coming up with the right word – you know the word that you want to say but cannot seem to spit it out?
- Do you get tired more easily – mentally and/or physically?
- Does the fatigue get worse the more you think or in very emotional situations?
Changes in Emotion
- Are you more easily irritated or angered – seems to come on quickly?
- Since the injury, do you cry or become depressed more easily?
Changes in Sleep
- Do you keep waking up throughout the night and early morning?
- Do you wake up early in the morning and can’t get back to sleep?
- Do you find yourself easily overwhelmed in noisy or crowded places – feeling overwhelmed in a busy store or around noisy children?
- Do you find yourself making poor or impulsive decisions – saying things without thinking that may hurt others feelings; increase in impulse buying?
- Do you have difficulty concentrating – cannot seem to stay focused on what you are doing?
- Are you easily distracted – someone interrupts you while you are doing a task and you lose your place?
- Do you have difficulty getting organized or completing a task – leave out a step in a recipe or started multiple projects but don’t complete them?
- Dr. Johnson goes on to say, “If you have 5 or more Yes answers, discuss the results of this questionnaire with your doctor.”
Brain & Spine Injury Attorneys
Some of the most complex litigation involves head trauma and spinal injury. We have the resources to investigate these cases and present the complex medical and legal details in a way most favorable to our clients. We know how to make complexity clear and how to pursue justice and maximum compensation for our injured clients. If an individual or organization caused an accident or created an unsafe environment that led to a brain, neck or back injury, they must be held accountable. In such cases, an insurance company may deny a legitimate claim or offer a lowball settlement. These injuries can lead to serious physical and mental disabilities that may lead to enormous costs:
- Multiple surgeries
- Physical and occupational therapy
- Lost wages and missed career opportunities
- Pain management that may continue into the foreseeable future
- Ongoing medical care including, in some cases, round-the-clock nursing assistance
- Adaptations to the home for wheelchair accessibility and other customization
- Highly customized wheelchairs
- Other conditions arising from an injury: Depression, personality disorders and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Myths about Brain Injury
#1: The head must make contact with an object for an injury to occur.
False. A brain injury is any rapid linear deceleration or rotation of the head that results in shearing of brain tissues. The brain moves within the cranial cavity. Even if the outside of the head does not come in contact with another object, brain tissue can impact the interior of the skull. So, a severe whiplash can result in a brain injury.
#2: If there is no loss of consciousness, there is no injury.
False. The duration of unconsciousness does not correlate to the severity of the injury. For example, young children often experience no loss of consciousness, yet still can suffer a major injury.
#3: If you feel fine after a minor concussion, you can resume normal activity.
False. There can be a serious injury that manifests itself over time. A brain injury can be an invisible injury. You can’t always show the jury a brain injury like you can show them a broken bone. As your attorneys, we will work to demonstrate how you or a loved one has changed because of the injury.
Often the best indicator of whether a person suffered a traumatic brain injury is the observations of family members, friends, and coworkers — not necessarily just the opinion of a doctor.
#4: If you have a moderate or severe injury, there are many treatment options.
False. No drugs or surgery can reverse what happened. You don’t automatically recover. An injury can take away your mental ability permanently. As your attorneys, we will work to demonstrate the full extent of your losses.
Spinal cord and brain injuries can result in:
- Memory loss
- Difficulty concentrating
- Feeling unusually tired
- Changes in mood
- Difficulty in finding words
- Blurry vision
- Ringing in ears
- Paralysis or quadriplegia