Phoenix Open Head Injury Lawyers
Think for a moment about head injuries. When you think about the last time you or someone you loved had a head injury, you probably thought about a concussion, but you most likely don’t understand or know anything about open head injuries.
These injuries are as frightening as they sound and are becoming more and more common throughout the state of Arizona. People are beginning to spend more time outdoors playing sports, getting healthy, and all around enjoying the amazing weather and lifestyles that are popping up not only in major metropolitan areas, but also in smaller towns and cities, too. Open head injuries are serious forms of trauma that usually require immediate hospitalization and surgery and can lead to death and other severe results that most people don’t want to think about.
As much as you don’t want to think about the prognosis for these types of injuries, most people don’t want to think about the many different ways these injuries could happen to them or someone they love, or the types of situations where these injuries are more likely to occur. However, a better understanding of these injuries could help victims avoid them and the situations that lead to them more easily.
An open head injury is one type of traumatic brain injury and is considered to be one of the most serious. It is considered to be more serious than a concussion, contusion, coup-contrecoup, and diffuse axonal brain injury. Open head injuries are characterized by the crushing or splitting of the skull, leaving an open hole where the brain or inside of the skull cavity is exposed.
Some definitions of open head injuries also include any time that the scalp, mucous membranes, and meninges are torn apart or away from the head, leaving the skull and the skull cavity exposed and open for additional injuries and damage. An open head injury is considered serious because once the skull has been fractured, crushed or punctured, there is ample opportunity for serious complications. This includes blood pooling around the brain, bone fragments piercing the brain, and foreign objects causing further damage to the skin, muscle tissues, nerves, or the brain itself. The first step in preventing these serious injuries is to understand how they occur.
Open head injuries are complicated because they can happen at any time, to any person, and nearly in any place. All that is needed is a significant impact. Some of the most common accidents that lead to an open head injury include:
- Slipping and falling. Some common scenarios include slipping at the pool and hitting your head on the concrete or the edges of the pool, or slipping and falling on a spilled puddle of liquid, like water or milk, falling, and hitting your head on the floor. Falling down stairs, tripping over rugs, and falling off objects or buildings may also lead to serious head trauma.
- Car accidents. Crashes involving cars, motorcycles, bicycles, or pedestrians have extreme potential to result in open head injuries. Hitting your head on the steering wheel, dash, or window in a car, for example, could provide enough blunt force to crack the skull. In addition, crashes may cause a victim’s head to be crushed, leading to multiple open head wounds.
- Penetration by a foreign object. Unfortunately for many victims of accidents, penetrating wounds are the cause of an open head injury. Wounds can be caused by a bullet, a knife, or some type of projectile that is either accidentally or purposely penetrated into the skull of the victim. Even a screwdriver is strong enough, paired with the right amount of force, to cause a penetrating wound to the skull.
Although these are just some of the possible scenarios where an accident victim may sustain serious brain trauma, it is important to remember that there are countless situations where negligence and distraction could result in a major head injury. Sports activities, leisurely bike rides, and a ride up the escalator at the local department store may all prove to be locations where an open head injury could happen to you.
Head injuries are one of the most common reasons for emergency room visits throughout the United States and Arizona each year. While concussions are considered to be the most common, open head injuries are not unheard of. Crime and medical show fans know that open head injuries are frequently the cause of death and injury on many episodes of their favorite television shows and not just because they make for good drama.
Most people believe that open head injuries are immediately noticeable, making the necessity for understanding symptoms a thing of the past. Unfortunately, a fractured skull may not be readily apparent to onlookers at an accident, especially if the head wound is not a penetrating wound that produces a significant amount of blood, or if the victim cannot move. In many cases, the victim may also be unconscious and unable to report the problems that they are experiencing to onlookers. Some of the most common symptoms of an open head injury include:
- Blood coming from the head
- Unconsciousness or non-responsiveness
- Loss of motor functions
- Inexplicable fatigue
- Abnormal behavior
- Severe, incurable headaches
- Persistent stiffness in the neck
- Unequal pupil sizes
- Inability to move extremities, either one, two, three, or all four
- Black outs and confusion
- Vomiting spells and nausea
Fortunately, the bodily symptoms associated with an open head injury are similar to those associated with other, milder types of head injuries. This is why it is important to see a physician right away and determine what type of injury has occurred, how serious it is, what the prognosis is, and how to move forward for a brighter future for the victim and their family.
Doctors diagnose an open head injury through multiple means. First, an examination is completed to give the doctor a baseline for understanding the injury and the patient’s complaints. Second, doctors perform an interview and assess the patient’s injuries and complaints to determine how the exam fits with the interview findings. Finally, doctors perform a CT scan, MRI, or x-rays in order to get a better look at the neck and skull and determine whether a fracture is present.
Treatment for open head injuries is always unique and dependent on the condition of the accident victim at the time of diagnosis, the severity of the injury, and the possibility of rehabilitation. In almost all cases of open head injuries, surgery is required to repair the damage, to assess internal damage to the brain, and to remove any debris that may have made its way into the skull cavity and could penetrate the brain, causing further damages. Long term healing and rehabilitation are required for open head injury victims. The healing process is long and arduous and frequently requires victims to relearn many things they knew how to do before, like brushing their hair or doing the laundry.
Open head injury victims are not out of the woods simply because they have received a diagnosis and are on their way through treatment and recovery. Open head injuries expose the brain to bacteria, viruses, molds, and other environmental elements that could infect the brain and lead to more serious problems either immediately or down the road. Additonally, open head injuries often result in a coma, which can last for hours, days, weeks, months, or even years. Some people enter a coma after an open head injury and never fully regain consciousness, leaving their loved ones with the task of determining whether to hang on for a cure or a miracle or to take their loved one off of life support.
If you or someone you care about has sustained an open head injury, you just might need a Phoenix brain injury attorney, and there are many different reasons you will need to count on someone with expert advice in the legal field. Some of the most common reasons you might need to speak with an attorney after an open head injury accident include the following:
- You were involved in an accident with someone who does not have insurance
- Your injuries were clearly caused by the negligence of another person
- Your head injuries are keeping you from working and holding down a job
- You’re unable to get the assistance you need from the insurance company or Workers Compensation (WC)
- You’re not sure if you have a case or if the accident was really another person’s fault or not
- You were hurt at a business and they are trying to force you into a settlement that will not take care of your expenses
It’s important to remember that anytime you are uncomfortable with a situation, it is best to get legal advice from a professional.
Open head and closed head injuries are frustrating for victims and their families, who are relegated to care for their loved ones through arguably the most difficult time of all of their lives, and no family should go without an attorney during this time. The attorneys at the Breyer Law Offices, P.C. help victims of open head injuries get fair compensation that covers the costs of long term medical treatments and rehabilitation, pays for personal pain and suffering, and replaces the income that the victim lost throughout recovery and will lose as a result of their changed lifestyle. When you or someone you love has sustained injuries, it can be difficult to know what to do, who to trust, who to talk to, and what to do next. The Husband and Wife Law Team knows and embraces that reality and helps victims find all of the resources they need to make a full recovery. If you or someone you care for has sustained an open head injury, you should get in touch with attorneys Mark and Alexis Breyer at (602) 457-6222.
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Confidentially reviewed by Attorney Mark Breyer