Brain injuries: The mystery and uncertainty surrounding them

According to the UCLA Brain Injury Research Center, over a million people are diagnosed with having a head injury each year. In some cases, the injury occurs when someone is involved in a car accident and hits their head on the windshield or some other obstacle. In other cases, a person may have been hit in the head by a falling object while in a work environment.

Unlike other injuries, which can easily be identified by the presence of bruising, bleeding or swelling, a brain injury may immediately surface or it may not show up till a few days later. In 2009, Natasha Richardson, an actress, died after suffering a head injury during a ski lesson according to CNN. When the accident happened, she appeared to have no symptoms but a short time later, her head began to hurt. She passed away only a few days later.

Recognizing a brain injury

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have put together an entire section to help people in San Diego recognize the symptoms connected to a brain injury. Symptoms associated with a brain injury are categorized into physical, thinking/memory, sleep and emotions/mood. While physical symptoms can easily show the presence of a brain injury, others are less obvious. These symptoms include:

  • Feeling slowed down
  • Tiredness - no energy
  • More emotional than normal
  • Difficulty thinking
  • Nervousness or anxiety
  • Changes in sleeping habits

A traumatic injury to the brain can be exhibited with more severe problems which may involve a headache that won't go away, coordination issues, vomiting or nausea, or slurred speech. When someone shows these kinds of symptoms it is best to get them to a hospital as soon as possible.

No two are alike

Brain injuries can often be difficult to treat because no two are alike. The Brain Injury Association of America says that brain injuries are unpredictable which means that when someone is injured in a work-related accident or in a car accident, it can be difficult to estimate whether additional medical attention will be needed at a later date.

According to the organization, a little over 17 percent of brain injuries are attributed to car accidents nationwide. Falls are considered the number one reason for injuries to the brain at 35.2 percent and it could probably be assumed that work accidents in which a construction worker falls off of a scaffold would be included in that figure.

Obtaining appropriate compensation

Since the brain controls just about every function of the human body, an injury can affect more than just thought and coordination. For example an injury to the brain stem may have an impact on how a person sleeps and even breathes.

Therefore, if compensation is sought for the negligence of a company or another person, it is important to make sure that the location of the brain injury is taken into consideration when determining the amount of damages to ask for. Medical testimony may be needed to obtain economic recovery for injuries that pose a long-term condition or future complications. An experienced personal injury attorney can help an injury victim understand his or her case and the appropriate steps to move forward.