4 Types of Brain Injuries and 3 Levels of Severity

Brain injuries can take many different forms. Doctors classify them according to the type of brain damage and how it happened. Some brain injury types include concussions, contusions, and subdural hematomas.

Another factor that can affect your symptoms and prognosis is the severity of your injury. Doctors measure severity based on several responses, including your ability to answer questions.

How Do Brain Injuries Happen?

How Do Brain Injuries Happen?

Brain injuries can happen in a few primary ways:

Blunt Trauma

Blunt trauma happens when your head collides with an object without causing an open wound. Blunt trauma can result from an object hitting your head. For example, a heavy box or piece of equipment falling onto your head in a workplace accident could cause blunt trauma.

Blunt trauma can also result from your head striking an object. You could suffer blunt trauma in a slip and fall accident.

Blunt trauma causes your brain to displace inside your skull. As it moves, its tissues can be bruised or torn.

Penetrating Trauma

Penetrating trauma happens when an object pierces your skull and enters your brain. These injuries occur when objects are propelled into the head or vice versa.

Thus, you could suffer penetrating trauma when you fall onto a piece of metal that pierces your brain in a motorcycle accident. Penetrating trauma could also happen if a nail punctured your skull in a construction accident.

Rapid Shaking

A sudden and violent acceleration or deceleration can jostle the brain inside the skull. Even mild agitation can damage the brain cells and produce brain injury symptoms. Causes of rapid shaking include car accidents, falls, and assaults.

Oxygen Deprivation

Your brain needs oxygen to survive. This oxygen is supplied by the blood flowing to it. 

Some causes of oxygen deprivation include:

  • Drowning
  • Severe bleeding
  • Electric shock
  • Poisoning

Your brain can suffer permanent damage after only four minutes without oxygen. It’s possible for brain death to occur only a few minutes later.

Four Types of Brain Injuries

Brain trauma can result in many types of injuries that vary in severity and prognosis. Four common types of brain injuries include:

1. Concussions

A layer of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) surrounds your brain. This fluid cushions the brain and prevents it from colliding with the inside of the skull. But when your brain gets jostled violently, the pressure of the CSF can squeeze your brain.

As a result of the squeezing and jostling, the brain swells, causing a range of symptoms that includes:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Clumsiness
  • Confusion
  • Amnesia
  • Drowsiness

Doctors consider concussions mild brain injuries because they rarely lead to death. Concussion symptoms usually clear up in two months.

2. Contusions

Contusions happen when the brain overcomes the cushioning of the CSF and strikes the inside of the skull. The impact tears the small blood vessels feeding the brain. It then develops a contusion, more commonly known as a bruise.

The bruise creates two problems. First, the torn blood vessels cannot deliver blood to your brain cells, causing oxygen-deprived brain cells to die from lack of circulation. Second, blood accumulates and squeezes the brain. The pressure constricts the surrounding blood vessels, ultimately depriving other areas of blood.

Contusions can have a range of outcomes, but most involve a permanent brain lesion at the site of the contusion. Severe brain contusions can cause permanent disabilities, coma, or death.

3. Diffuse Axonal Injuries (DAIs)

DAIs can result from shaken baby syndrome, assaults, or violent whipping, even if you don’t hit your head. All brain cells include a long fiber called an axon. The axon can tear when your brain shakes violently, leading to permanent brain damage.

DAI symptoms depend on the area of the brain that’s affected. But in a typical case, DAI will cause:

  • Headache
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Drowsiness

DAIs often cause permanent brain damage and coma, followed by death.

4. Subdural Hematoma

Subdural hematomas happen when a blood vessel ruptures under the dura.

The dura is a thick membrane that surrounds the brain. When a blood vessel ruptures, the blood has nowhere to go. As a result, the blood squeezes the brain. If doctors can’t relieve the pressure, it will eventually cause coma and death.

Three Brain Injury Severities

Doctors use various tests to rate a brain injury’s severity. If you watch sports, you’ve probably seen one of these tests, the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS). When an athlete suffers a head injury, trainers use the GCS to rate the severity of the injury.

Emergency room doctors, paramedics, and other first responders may use the GCS at your accident scene. 

The GCS uses three responses to rate the severity of your brain injury:

  • Eye-opening response
  • Verbal response
  • Motor response

When administering these tests, the doctor will ask you several questions. Your responses will determine the severity rating.

1. Severe Brain Injury

In a severe brain injury, you’ll lose consciousness. As a result, you won’t be able to open your eyes or answer questions. You also won’t be able to move your body in response to commands.

2. Moderate Brain Injury

When you suffer a moderate brain injury, you’ll only open your eyes in response to verbal cues or physical touch. You might respond to questions incoherently, using the wrong words or only sounds. You’ll be able to extend your muscles on command, but you’ll have trouble flexing them.

3. Mild Brain Injury

After a mild brain injury, you’ll open your eyes spontaneously. You’ll be able to answer questions coherently, though you may give confused answers. You’ll be able to flex and extend your muscles on command.

Getting Compensation for Brain Injuries in Fort Worth, TX

You can pursue compensation when you suffer brain injuries due to someone else’s actions. This payment can cover your economic losses, such as medical bills, rehab costs, and lost wages. It can also cover your non-economic losses, including pain and suffering, disability, and diminished quality of life.

You may face an uncertain future following a brain injury. A personal injury claim can help you secure the resources you need to get the best treatment possible. 

To discuss your brain injury and the compensation you can seek for it, contact Anderson Injury Lawyers today for a free consultation at (817) 294-1900. Our Fort Worth brain injury lawyers are standing by to help.