Four Distinct Types of Brain Injuries and the Three Levels of Severity
Posted on Wednesday, January 13th, 2021 at 11:30 am
“Brain injury” is a broad term that can refer to many different kinds of injuries. For instance, any damage involving the scalp, skull, or brain may qualify as a brain injury. The consequences for the different types of these injuries vary widely. The outcomes, complications, and required medical care will depend on several factors.
The way in which the injury was sustained, the physical location of the damage, and the severity of the harm to the brain are all relevant factors. These issues are not only important from a medical perspective, but also from a legal one.
If you or someone you love has sustained a traumatic brain injury, you may be able to seek compensation for the associated costs. The type and severity of your brain injury will influence the nature of your legal case. When you are seeking financial recovery, speaking with a qualified brain injury attorney is the best course of action.
Below, we will discuss four distinct classifications of brain injuries and three levels of severity.
The Four Types of Traumatic Brain Injuries
Although each traumatic brain injury is unique, they are categorized into four main types. These include contusion, concussion, anoxic injury, and penetrating brain injury.
A contusion occurs when the soft tissue of the brain suffers a bruise. Like all bruises, brain contusions are caused when small blood vessels break and leak. This usually happens because the person suffered a blow to the head, which caused the brain to move.
When the brain is jostled inside of the skull, it may sustain damage in the same spot where it was hit. However, the brain may also suffer an injury on the side opposite the impact. This happens because the brain moves backward after the impact and collides with the other side of the skull’s interior.
Contusions can range in severity. In some cases, they may be minor. But more extreme contusions may cause a range of symptoms, including agitation, distress, loss of cognitive function, and unconsciousness.
A concussion occurs when the brain experiences a sudden movement or jostling. Concussions are often caused by an impact to the head as well. Many times, concussions cannot be detected through MRI or CT imaging tests.
Still, concussions can be highly dangerous. They can cause various symptoms, including headaches, the inability to concentrate, memory problems, and disorientation.
When someone sustains multiple concussions, the danger increases with each additional concussion.
Anoxic injuries happen when the brain does not have access to enough oxygen. Brain cells will begin to die in as little as four minutes when they are deprived of the oxygen that they need to function.
The brain receives oxygen primarily through blood flow. Typically, anoxic injury is caused when oxygenated blood is blocked from flowing to the brain. This can occur as a result of other conditions, including a heart attack, stroke, or blood clot.
In other cases of anoxic injury, the blood flowing to the brain may not be adequately oxygenated. This can occur as the result of carbon monoxide inhalation, poisoning, drowning, suffocating, or choking.
Penetrating Brain Injury
This type of injury occurs when a foreign object breaches the skull bone surrounding the brain. When this happens, the penetrating object may damage the soft tissue of the brain. The brain can also suffer injury from fragments of the broken skull bone.
Penetrating brain injuries can occur anytime someone suffers a severe enough blow to the head. Some common scenarios that result in penetrating brain injury include:
- Slip & fall or trip & fall accidents
- Car accidents
- Gunshot wounds to the head
- Sports injuries
These four types of traumatic brain injuries can all cause serious health complications. If you have suffered a brain injury because of someone else’s negligence, speak with a qualified attorney as soon as possible.
Three Levels of Severity for Traumatic Brain Injuries
The four categorizations of brain injury discussed above can each be classified in terms of severity. The three levels of severity are mild, moderate, and severe.
Mild Brain Injuries
Any injury that results in a loss of consciousness for less than a few minutes is categorized as mild. If no loss of consciousness occurs, then an injury may also be mild. Mild brain injuries can cause the injured person some level of temporary confusion or disorientation.
With this level of severity, imaging tests and scans may not be able to detect the physical damage to the brain. But this does not mean that the brain is unharmed. Because of this, physicians will also examine the patient’s mental functioning when making a diagnosis.
Moderate Brain Injuries
A moderate brain injury occurs when the victim experiences a loss of consciousness for up to a few hours. They may also have confusion for several weeks following the injury.
The symptoms from a moderate brain injury can last for several months. In some cases, complications may be permanent. The symptoms from this level of injury may be cognitive, behavioral, or physical.
Severe Brain Injuries
Severe traumatic brain injuries are the most dangerous and devastating. They typically occur as the result of extreme blows to the head and/or penetration of the skull bone. They usually feature significant damage to the soft tissue of the brain.
Severe brain injuries are life-threatening. The complications from this level of injury are generally permanent. Although closed-head injuries can be severe, these injuries are usually the result of an accident in which the skull has been crushed or penetrated.
For both mild and moderate traumatic brain injuries, healing is possible. But the personal difficulty and medical costs of recovery can be enormous. It is important to speak with a qualified brain injury lawyer in order to secure financial recovery and get your life back on track.
Consider Contacting a Brain Injury Attorney
If you have sustained a brain injury as the result of another party’s negligence or carelessness, contact a legal professional as soon as possible. The costs of medical treatments for traumatic brain injuries can place an immense financial burden on the victim. If someone caused your injury, you have the legal right to seek financial recovery for the associated damages.