Types of Brain Injuries
Brain injury claims take into account the potentially life-long consequences that the injury which occurred can have on the quality of life of the victim. There is a precise time frame in which legal proceedings can take place after the personal injury.
Acquired Brain Injury (ABI)
Acquired brain injury (ABI) is an injury that occurs usually after birth – not as a result of birth-related trauma and important to note is that it is not hereditary or related to a disease. It occurs due to a traumatic event such as a blow to the head or body. Causes of such injuries would be events like car accidents, slip and falls, blunt force trauma to the head and in some cases from abuse.
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
A traumatic brain injury is caused due to external forces such as a physical assault, a traffic collision or aggressively banging one’s head after a fall. TBIs can be grouped into the following categories:
A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury caused by a blow or a bump to the head. It can also be caused by a blow to the body that causes the brain to move rapidly back and forth in the head. In severe blows to the body or head, it can cause the brain to twist and move around in the head leading to chemical reactions in the brain and in some cases damage to brain cells. In some cases, the person can experience post-concussion syndrome which is a set of symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, nausea that can persist for days, months and in extreme cases over a year.
Severe Brain Injury
Severe brain injuries are caused generally by a blow to the head or body, causing the brain to move within the skull. This can lead to a multitude of side effects that can have a significant impact on a person’s life meaning and in some cases lead to death. Some of the most common are:
- Bleeding on the Brain
- Brain Damage
- Emotional and/or Behavioural Changes
- Loss of Consciousness
- Cognitive Issues
- Speech and Language Issues
- Cerebral Fluid leaking out of the Ears and Nose
- Respiratory Issues
- In some cases – Death
Moderate Brain Injury
Like other forms of brain injury, moderate brain injury can be a direct result of a sudden blow to the head or body. The symptoms can sometimes be less noticeable when compared to those of a traumatic nature. For an injury to be considered moderate, the person would have had to have lost consciousness for a certain period of time. Some of the symptoms have been known to be:
- Memory Issues
- Concentration Issues
Mild Brain Injury
Mild brain injury, although may seems less severe to the severe and moderate can be misleading as the outcomes can be just as severe over time if not properly managed. Generally, an injury to the brain is considered to be mild if the person did not suffer any loss of consciousness or post-traumatic amnesia following the accident. Symptoms are similar to moderate injury and include:
- Memory Issues
- Concentration Issues
Acquired Brain Injury (ABI)
When a person suffers a concussion they experience a temporary loss of consciousness and cannot function mentally. A concussion is often considered as a mild traumatic brain injury and generally occurs after a head injury. It can also be caused by a hit to the body which causes the brain to quickly move back and forward in the head and in some serious cases, the brain can twist which leads to chemical reactions in the brain. In some extreme cases, post-concussion syndrome can occur. This is when symptoms persist over a longer period of time. A concussion can be very traumatic for the person injured and may leave them unable to carry out everyday tasks while recovering. Many of the symptoms of concussion are very similar to those of whiplash and often the two injuries can be followed by one another.
Concussion Injury Types
Injuries and the severity of concussion will vary for each person. This is as a result of the many different types of concussion. Each level depends on the impact that the concussion has had on the brain and head. Types of concussion include:
- Grade 1 (Mild)
- Grade 2 (Moderate)
- Grade 3 (Severe)
- Spinal Concussion
- Labyrinthine (Damage to the Inner Ear)
Symptoms of Concussion
Symptoms of concussion can include:
- Loss of Consciousness
- Change in Personality
- Confusion and Memory Loss
- Fatigue and Mood Swings
- Impaired Vision
- Slower Reaction Times
- Speech Impairment
- Sensitivity to Light
- Ringing in the Ears
- Post-concussion Syndrome
Causes of Concussion
Causes of concussion can include:
What is Post-Concussion Syndrome?
Post-concussion syndrome is when certain symptoms such as a headache, dizziness and nausea, persist over a longer period of time. The question most people ask is how long does post-concussion syndrome last. There is not one specific answer to this question as this will vary for each person. Symptoms can last for days, months or even over a year in some serious cases. Post-concussion syndrome is not very common and only affects a very small percentage of people who have suffered a concussion. Symptoms are very similar to those of concussion but new complications can arise that may not have been experienced before.
Signs and Symptoms of Brain Injuries*
Recognising the Signs
It may be difficult for the injured person to realise that they have an injury so it is usual for friends and family members to recognise the problem. The most concerning signs and symptoms include:
- The individual cannot remember the event causing the injury.
- The person cannot remember new information, becoming confused and disoriented.
- Nausea and losing consciousness.
- Blurred vision, dizziness and long-lasting headaches.
If bruising forms around the brain it becomes irreversible, no surgery can completely cure the patient. The main objective of any procedure is to reduce the swelling, putting the person in a stable condition. By doing this, it saves brain cells and prevents any herniation of the brain. Without performing this procedure, it commonly leads to cardiac arrest and death. Depending on the severity of the situation, the doctor can decide to perform a craniotomy. This is a process whereby the doctor creates a hole in the skull to allow the swelling out. After a period of time, the skull will be put back into position and stapled into place.
A subdural hematoma is related to skull fractures and is a result of a bleed just around the brain, causing an injury to the brain. Subdural hematomas can be identified immediately and dealt with, known as acute subdural hematomas. In some cases it can take weeks to notice the blood clots, they’re then known as chronic subdural hematomas. Chronic subdural hematomas are most frequently seen in elderly people when they slip or fall and hit their head, turning overtime into dementia symptoms due to the amount of pressure on their brains.
Epidural hematomas are much more threatening to a person’s life due to the bleeding located inside the skull. A problem with an artery swiftly fills up the brain cavity, causing death very quickly. Epidural hematomas are an injury most commonly linked to motorcycle accidents. The doctor performing the procedure would have to drill a hole in the skull to relieve the pressure and to let the blood drain out.
Coup-contrecoup is a unique injury and is a result of when a head is violently shaking. There is so much power being exchanged that the brain is also shaking inside the skull. There is a primary and secondary injury to the brain as a result. The primary injury is known as the coup injury which occurs on the opposite side of the brain to where the initial point of trauma occurred. The secondary injury, called the contrecoup injury, can at times be more life-threatening than the coup injury.
What is the average payout for a concussion?
The value of a concussion claim will heavily depend on the specifics of your case. To calculate your claim you must take into account the following:
- The severity of your injuries
- The cost of your medical bills
- How much wages you lost
- Your future medical bills
- Your future lost earnings
- The effect the injury has had on your quality of life
The Judicial Council’s personal injury guidelines categorise head injury claims into the following categories:
Most severe brain damage
Severe brain damage
Serious and moderate brain damage
- Moderate to severe intellectual deficit where the claimant will not be totally dependent but will require constant care: €200,000 – €350,000
- Modest to moderate intellectual deficit. Claimant will not be totally dependent or require constant care: €120,000 – €220,000
- A good recovery will have been made. The claimant will be able to participate in normal social life and return to some form of work, but restoration of all normal function is not implicit: €60,000 – €140,000
- Brain damage similar to (iii) above but where the claimant is able to return to a level of work materially similar or the same to that which he was able to carry out prior to the injury: €25,000 – €60,000
Minor brain damage or head injury
- Minor brain damage where a substantial recovery takes place in two to five years: €12,000 – €25,000
- Minor brain damage where a substantial recovery takes place in one to two years: €6,000 – €12,000
- Minor brain damage where a substantial recovery takes place in six months to one year: €3,000 – €6,000
- Minor brain damage where a substantial recovery within six months: €500 – €3,000
- Grand mal: €120,000 – €180,000
- Petit mal: €70,000 – €140,000
Other epileptic conditions
Is concussion considered a serious injury?
A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury and at times medical providers may describe them as serious, they are rarely life threatening. Despite this, the effects of a concussion may be considered serious. It is important to speak with a medical professional if you do experience symptoms of a concussion.
How to prove a concussion?
As part of your personal injury claim, your solicitor will need to prove that you suffered a concussion by accessing your medical records. Your doctor can prove that you suffered a concussion by testing:
- Verbal and visual memory
- Processing speed of your brain
- Reaction times