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Brain Injury – Understanding the Facts

A brain injury occurs when an external trauma or hit to the skull damages the brain. The State of Florida officially defines brain injury as:

An insult to the skull, brain, or its covering, resulting from external trauma, which produces an altered state of consciousness or anatomic, motor, sensory, or cognitive/behavioral deficits.

There are actually two types of brain injuries: “closed brain injuries” and “open brain injuries.” Both can be serious. In a closed brain injury, a fall or a car accident can cause a person’s skull to come into contact with a hard surface. When the skull hits an object, the brain inside the skull moves and can become injured. The brain can rebound against the skull or can twist on its axis. This can result in widespread or localized damage. If the brain is bruised or damaged in more than one area, the patient has suffered from what is known as diffuse damage.

An open brain injury occurs when an object penetrates the skull and damages the brain. This can occur from a gunshot wound or even from a car accident in which the impact of the skull against a hard surface actually causes the skull to break. In an open brain injury, trauma or injury usually occurs to one part of the brain.

When a brain injury is severe, a patient may be unconscious for some time before recovering. In milder injuries, a patient may never lose consciousness. According to the Brain Injury Association of Florida, though, anyone who has suffered a brain injury should seek medical help at once. Even seemingly minor injuries can result in cognitive impairment and other problems. Getting medical attention at once is also crucial since it allows the injury to be documented. This is important in case the patient later suffers from the injury and requires legal counsel in order to get compensation for their suffering.

Brain injuries can be a very difficult form of personal injury. This is because even mild brain injuries can result in serious symptoms, such as:

• memory loss
• problems concentrating and completing simple actions
• speech difficulties
• hemiparesis
• seizures
• spasticity
• anxiety and depression
• inappropriate behaviors
• vision problems
• inability to use judgment the same way
• problems with perception and direction
• slower thought processes
Some victims may experience other symptoms as well, according to the Brain Injury Association of Florida. Recovery from this type of injury can be lengthy and medical treatment can be expensive. Once brain cells are damaged, new cells simply cannot grow, so in serious injuries, much of the recovery is about rehabilitation and adjustment to a new lifestyle.