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What is a traumatic brain injury and how does it develop?

A traumatic brain injury is caused when the brain moves inside the head or is impacted or impaled by an object. The injury happens suddenly; for example, if you fall and hit your head on a curb, you could face a traumatic brain injury including a concussion. If you're hit by a car, you could face aneurysms or swelling on the brain.

These injuries can be open or closed. What that means is that the injury either exposes the brain through penetration or fails to do so, impacting the brain only by force on the skull. With an open head injury, an item such as a bullet or metal bar hits the head and enters the skull. It then enters the brain and causes damage. With a closed injury, the brain moves in the skull and becomes damaged due to that impact.

Initially, there is primary brain damage that takes place along with secondary brain damage that comes later. Primary brain damage is obvious at the time of the injury. You may have bleeding, swelling, blood clots or fractures at the site of injury. With secondary injuries, the damage develops over time, so it can be hard to recognize immediately. A good example of this is high pressure in the skull due to the swelling of the brain; this could require surgical intervention following the initial injury.

After you suffer this kind of injury, it's important to speak with your attorney about getting compensation, because you may have difficulties throughout your life, at least in the short term. You may struggle with dizziness, memory loss or sensory deficits that impact your daily life. You may also lose the ability to work or struggle with everyday tasks.

Source: American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, "Traumatic brain injury (TBI)," accessed Dec. 03, 2015

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