Maryland Brain Injury Attorneys Answer Frequently Asked Questions
What everyone should know about brain injuries before they happen
Although an estimated 1.5 million Americans suffer some type of brain injury each year, most people remain unaware of the nature of these injuries—when they happen, why they happen, and how these injuries can go from a headache or simple bump on the head to a debilitating, even deadly condition, particularly in the absence of proper medical care. At the law offices of Karp, Wigodsky, Norwind, Kudel & Gold, P.A., our results speak for themselves. Trust us to provide the answers you need when facing a serious injury.
What is a traumatic brain injury (TBI)?
A traumatic brain injury (TBI) occurs when normal functions of the brain are disrupted by an external force or impact. The impact need not be directly to the skull itself; traumatic brain injury can also result from a sudden, violent head motion. Brain injuries not involving impact are called “acquired brain injuries”, and occur when the proper flow of oxygen to the brain is stopped, slowed, or disrupted. These can occur as the result of health conditions and diseases, medical negligence, toxic exposure, or accidents such as drowning or choking.
What causes traumatic brain injuries?
The leading causes of traumatic brain injuries include:
- Falls, such as after unexpectedly tripping or slipping, competing in a sport, or tumbling down a flight of stairs or from a ladder.
- Vehicle-related collisions involving automobiles, trucks, pedestrians, motorcycles and bicycles.
- Being struck by an object, such as falling merchandise, scaffolding, or other flying debris on a construction site.
- Assault and other forms of violence such as a gunshot
What are the various types of brain injuries?
There are two basic types of traumatic brain injury (TBI). In open head injuries, the skull is fractured or penetrated upon impact, with debris potentially entering the brain and causing extreme structural damage. In closed head injuries, the skull remains intact.
Brain conditions resulting from closed head injuries include:
- Concussion — Occurs when brain tissue and blood vessels are stretched or damaged. Don’t believe what you see in the movies—being knocked unconscious from a blow to the head is not a superficial injury.
- Contusion — Bruising on the brain. A coup injury is a contusion occurring where the brain was impacted; contrecoup injuries occur on the side of the brain opposite of impact.
- Diffuse axonal — These injuries occur when the movement of the brain within the skull is so extreme it causes tearing of nerve tissue within the brain. Diffuse axonal injuries are especially likely to be debilitating and permanent.
Brain injuries which are not caused by an external force or impact, and thus not considered traumatic brain injuries, are called acquired brain injuries. These can be caused by an interruption or total blockage of oxygen to the brain. Factors which cause acquired brain injuries range from medical conditions such as stroke or disease, to accidents such as drowning, exposure to toxins, or medical malpractice.
What are the symptoms of a brain injury?
Although some symptoms of a brain injury do not manifest immediately, they include:
- Loss of consciousness
- Vomiting or nausea
- Seizures or convulsions
- Change in sleep habits
- Confusion or memory problems
- Slurred speech
- Depression, anxiety, or mood swings
Small children are often unable to adequately communicate symptoms of a brain injury. Parents should be alert for any of the above signs, as well as persistent crying, difficulty paying attention, or a sudden loss of interest in a favorite activity or toy.
What are the long-term effects of a brain injury?
On a long-term basis, a brain injury can cause a wide range of adverse consequences, including:
- Physical issues, such as seizures, paralysis, incontinence, chronic pain, and sleeping problems.
- Sensory dysfunction, including loss of vision, hearing, taste, smell, as well as increased sensitivity to light or noise or problems with perception .
- Problems with cognition, such as persistent confusion, difficulty remembering things, inability to concentrate, and reduced decision-making abilities.
- Persistent emotional difficulties, such as irritability, anger, anxiety, aggression, or depression.
What should I do if I think I’ve suffered a brain injury?
If you or a loved one has been subject to a blow to the head, or other extreme impact, it is important to seek a medical exam as quickly as possible, even if you aren’t experiencing any symptoms. Undiagnosed brain injuries, particularly closed head injuries, can become dangerous when persistent bleeding or swelling of brain tissues causes pressure to build within the skull, causing clotting, brain compression, and even more debilitating injuries when left untreated.
Contact us today for assistance and answers
At the law firm of Karp, Wigodsky, Norwind, Kudel & Gold, P.A., we have more than 150 years of combined experience making justice a reality for victims suffering from a traumatic injury as the result of someone else’s negligence. To learn more about brain injuries and your rights, we urge you to contact one of our five metropolitan Maryland/Washington D.C. area offices today at (800) 229-7026, or contact us online for a free initial consultation. There is no fee unless we win, so contact us today. If you can’t come to us, we will come to your home or hospital.