Brain Injury Types

Head injuries are classified as open or closed, based on the nature of the injury. Although many injuries are minor, both closed and open head injuries can result in traumatic brain injury (TBI) and severe damage, causing problems with cognitive ability, loss of the senses such as hearing and vision, and other debilitating conditions.

Closed Head Injury

Closed head injuries occur when the brain hits the inside of the skull. These types of injuries may result from whiplash or when the head strikes the windshield of a car. Although there may be no physical signs of injury, the brain can swell inside the skull, which can put pressure on delicate tissues and nerves, causing permanent damage.

  • Concussions – A concussion is a mild form of closed brain injury that causes swelling. The brain is usually able to recover from a concussion; however, if swelling continues and the person remains unconscious for more than a few minutes, serious brain damage may result. In addition, if the person experiences a second concussion before recovering from the first one, it may result in severe damage or even death.
  • Mass Lesions - The term "mass lesion" refers to localized areas of injury, including bruising (contusion), blood clots (hematoma), and bleeding (hemorrhage), that put pressure on the brain, causing damage.
  • Diffuse Injuries – Diffuse injuries include microscopic changes that are scattered throughout the brain and are often difficult to diagnose. These injuries can cause damage to the nerve fibers and prevent sufficient amounts of blood from reaching certain parts of the brain (ischemia), resulting in brain damage.

Closed head injuries can be very serious because, if bleeding and swelling are allowed to continue, the pressure has nowhere to go. If measures aren’t taken by medical professionals to relieve the pressure in time, serious brain damage can occur.

Open Head Injury

Open head injuries occur when an object penetrates the skull or when the skull is broken. In addition to physically damaging the brain, open head injuries invite infection in the open wound, which can complicate the condition. There are two main types of open head injuries: skull fractures and penetrating injuries.

  • Skull Fractures – Fractures can occur at any area of the skull. The most common type is a linear fracture, which includes cracks or breaks in the skull. Some linear fractures are minor, but if a piece of the bone pushes into the brain, called a depressed skull fracture, it can cause serious damage. Fractures can also occur at the suture lines, the areas that fuse together during childhood. The most serious skull fracture, however, is one that occurs at the base of the skull.
  • Penetrating Injuries – Penetrating injuries occur when an object enters the skull and damages the brain, which is common with gunshot injuries and in car accidents when a person’s head breaks the windshield.

Contact a Brain Injury Attorney near You

If you or a member of your family has suffered a brain injury due to another’s careless or negligent actions, you may be able to obtain compensation for your pain, suffering, medical expenses, and other losses. Use LawyerShop’s online directory to find an experienced attorney in your area who can assist with your legal needs.

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