Phoenix Closed Head Injury Attorneys
Non-Penetrating Head Injury
You're hit in the head by a fly ball at a baseball game. You don't feel any blood or a bump forming so you continue to watch the game, holding your ball in your hand as a trophy. You wake up the next morning with a headache and laugh, but over the next few days, you suddenly become ill - nausea, vomiting, memory and vision problems, serious mood swings, trouble getting out of bed or being woken up - and you write it off as exhaustion.
This is how a closed head injury goes down to the road to serious brain injury and increased risk of permanent damage and death. Because closed head injuries fail to present the type of wound that one normally expect in a head injury, many people ignore them, thinking that it will simply heal on its own. While it is possible for healing to occur spontaneously, in a large number of cases, a closed head injury will need significant assistance from highly skilled medical doctors and therapists.
What is the Definition of a Closed Head Injury?
A closed head injury is a brain injury in which severe trauma occurs to the brain while both the brain and the dura matter stay intact. This means that there may be no outward signs of physical trauma to the head. This can make it more difficult for a victim to know that they have sustained more than a bump on the head and can lead to serious complications down the road, including permanent brain damage, death, and other problems.
For head injury victims who have suffered a closed head injury, the first few days are particularly critical because many symptoms of the head injury may not appear in the first 24 hours. A closed head injury can cause impairment to the victim that may manifest in physical, cognitive, and psychological ways, and may be either temporary or permanent depending on the type of injuries sustained and where.
Recovery from a closed head injury, when possible, may be a long process that can take months, if not years, and hundreds of thousands of dollars. Getting help for the injuries, the suffering, and the aftermath are important in this type of injury case.
How Does a Closed Head Injury Happen?
A closed head injury happens when some type of serious impact to the brain destroys neuron connections and nerve cells in a centrally located area, resulting in an acute brain injury, or in a widespread way, a diffused brain injury. This means that the conversation between neurons is stopped and information is no longer passed from one neuron to another. The extent of the damage caused by this interruption of service in the brain is highly dependent on where the injury was sustained becausethe left, right, front, and back portions of the brain each control different parts of the body and different functions of the mind.
What Types of Incidents Can Cause a Closed Head Injury?
Reports indicate that more than 17 million people throughout the United States suffer from a head injury every year. There are many different types of accidents at home, work, play, school, and even the grocery store that can cause a closed head injury. Slipping and falling and car crashes remain the two most common ways for individuals to sustain closed head injuries.
What Are Risks Associated with Closed Head Injury?
If you hit your head, you run the risk of developing brain damage and dying. Unfortunately, with a closed head injury, where the damage is invisible on the surface and symptoms frequently take days, if not weeks to completely manifest, there are many more risks than brain damage and death.
The initial injury from a closed head injury can cause serious pain, but the secondary problems that follow present the greatest risk. These risks are bleeding within the skull, also known as intracranial hematoma, swelling, and infection. Swelling and bleeding both work together to put pressure on the brain which can cause additional brain damage in areas not impacted by the original injury and this damage may be either temporary or permanent. Infection occurs when the pooling blood begins to grow bacteria as it sits stagnant and begins to clot. Infections can cause high fevers which can delay or completely stop the healing process, cause additional brain damage if the temperatures are high enough and sustained over a period of time, and may contribute to seizures.
As a tertiary risk factor, seizures affect many people who experience a brain injury, and these seizures continue to impact these victims for the rest of their lives. The development of epileptic seizures during the healing process indicates that the brain in healing but leads to additional emotional, physical, and mental complications and risks for the healing victim.
If you've sustained a head injury of any type, it is important to pay attention to yourself to ensure that if you have other symptoms of a more serious injury that you go straight to the emergency room for evaluation.
The symptoms that are most pronounced in all types of head injuries, including closed head injuries, include:
- dilated pupils,
- trouble breathing,
- losing consciousness,
- trouble speaking and understanding what others are saying to you,
- vision trouble,
- vomiting and nausea,
- seizures or convulsions,
- spinal or brain fluids leaking out the ears and nose, and
- changes in your behavior, your patterns, or moods, including serious mood swings.
It is important to note that more serious head injuries will also have additional symptoms and it is important to be prepared to tell the doctor if anything out of the ordinary occurs during the critical first few days after being hit on the head.
How Does a Doctor Diagnose a Closed Head Injury?
Doctors diagnose closed head injuries by examining your symptoms and performing a wide array of different tests, which may include an MRI, a CT scan, an ultrasound, or regular x-rays. Although none of these methods is considered 100 percent conclusive, along with a symptom chart, they are useful in helping your doctor to determine the extent of your injuries.
Recovery Time and Prognosis for a Closed Head Injury
Many people believe that head injuries can heal given time, and more so, they believe that the amount of time it takes for a head injury to heal is just one to two months if the victim spends a great deal of time resting. Unfortunately, this is simply untrue.
The healing of a brain injury like a closed head injury has nothing to do with the visible scars and bruising going away and everything to do with how long it takes the bruising, bleeding, and pain to stop in the surrounding brain tissues that were injured and whether those areas can be fully retrained. This will be different for every individual that sustains a closed head injury depending on their personal medical history, and on the location and extent of the primary injury, secondary injury, and tertiary injuries and issues.
The prognosis for a closed head injury, much like the recovery time, is heavily dependent on the person who sustained the injury. Reports indicate that head injuries cause death in nearly one quarter of those who sustain injuries, and death occurs immediately. Nearly 15 percent of those people who are taken to the emergency room for treatment die on the way to the emergency room or shortly after arriving there. For those people who do survive a head injury, two factors are considered in the development of a prognosis, which is typically not provided until much further into the recovery process. The length of the time the head injury victim spent in a coma before awakening and staying awake is a good indicator of their future. The recovery of and return to normal activity during the first month of recovery is also a major indicator of a good prognosis. If the length of time spent in a coma is long, or normal activity is not regained in the first month, prognosis is typically less appealing.
Treatments for Closed Head Injuries
Treatment options for closed head injuries are as widely varied as the symptoms and recovery times for those who suffer from these injuries. Those victims who sustain significant injuries that cause immense pressure build up or other problems inside the skull must undergo surgery in order to relieve the presure and to move onto the recovery stage.
Less severe cases of brain injury may be treatable using medications, like diuretics to reduce swelling, and rehabilitative therapies to help victims get their lives back on track. Non-prescription pain killers, and other drugs, such as those used for seizure patients, are also considered among the possible treatment options. Bed rest is mandatory for all victims of head injuries and patients are often told to avoid critical thinking during the recovery period.
What Risks are Associated with Treatments?
Nearly all treatments for closed head injuries come with risks. The risks associated with neurosurgery include the possibility of death, permanent brain damage, paralysis and disability, depending on how and where the surgery is taking place in the brain and the skull. Some non-prescription painkillers and other medications can cause leaky gut syndrome, bleeding, and liver problems if used for too long. This is a significant problem for those suffering from a closed head injury who may suffer from pain for several months or even years.
How a Closed Head Injury Changes Your Life
People who sustain a closed head injury are never the same. Although recovery is possible, in many cases lingering pain and the loss of the ability to do many day-to-day activities or hold a job can greatly impact quality of life over the long term. These types of injuries will also impact household finances, family members, and caregivers.
Preventing Closed Head Injuries
The best prevention for closed head injuries is to be aware. Not living the life you want to lead for fear of being struck in the head by a baseball or slipping and falling in the grocery store produce aisle is no way to live your life. While you can't control the actions of others you can be more diligent about your own safety. This means watching out for spilled liquids on the floors of establishments you visit, choosing seats behind home plate at baseball games, and watching other drivers on the road with a keen eye. However, it is important to remember that while being extra safe and thinking of how you can protect yourself at every turn can reduce your risk of being injured, it can never completely eliminate the risk. That's why it is important to know who to contact for help if you have sustained a closed head injury.
Our Phoenix Closed Head Injury Lawyers Can Help
If you've suffered a closed head injury, your life, your livelihood, and your quality of living are all at great risk for being taken away from you. The Phoenix head injury attorneys at the Breyer Law Offices, P.C. have dealt with many cases where a closed head injury was the result of an accident.
If you have questions about your rights or what you should do to achieve recovery faster and with better care, they can help you. Phoenix injury attorneys Mark and Alexis Breyer have litigated and negotiated multiple cases like yours and know how to help you get the money you need to maintain your quality of life and make the best recovery possible. Call (602) 267-1280 today for help.