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Concussion Injury

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Concussion Injury

Concussion Injury

A concussion injury happens when your brain gets jostled. This jostling can happen in almost any type of accident that involves an impact or other form of rapid acceleration or deceleration.

You don’t need to hit your head to get a concussion. The whipping motion of a car accident can jolt your brain enough to cause a concussion injury.

Here are some facts to know about concussions and how you can get injury compensation after suffering one as a result of someone else’s negligent actions.

What is the Anatomy of Your Head?

What is the Anatomy of Your Head?

Your head protects your brain. Your brain gathers information from your sense organs to understand your environment. It uses that information to control your body, make decisions, and learn new information.

When your brain malfunctions, you can experience a range of symptoms. If your brain gets damaged severely, your lungs and heart may cease, and you may die.

To prevent this from happening, your head protects your brain. The protection for your brain is analogous to a motorcycle helmet. Your skull provides a hard shell around your brain to protect it from impacts. A layer of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) forms a protective cushion between your brain and the skull.

The CSF is slightly more viscous than water. This slows your brain down while it moves in your skull. Under normal forces, the CSF prevents your brain from slamming into the inside surface of the skull. But in a serious accident, the CSF can damage your brain as it slows the brain’s motion.

What Causes Concussion Injuries?

A concussion injury happens when the brain moves so violently in your skull that the pressure of the CSF damages your brain. The fluid pressure damages brain cells and even causes some of the cells to rupture. The dead and damaged brain cells cause your brain to malfunction.

Also, the body triggers an inflammatory response to try to protect and repair your brain. The inflammation causes your brain to swell and increase in temperature. While this inflammatory response would kill any invading bacteria if you had an open head wound, it can also interfere with your brain function.

Over the hours and days after your brain injury, your brain will continue to swell. You may develop new symptoms. Your existing symptoms may worsen or even disappear.

What Are Some Symptoms of a Concussion Injury?

Concussions cause a range of physical, cognitive, and emotional symptoms.

Some common physical symptoms include:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Blurry vision
  • Ringing ears
  • Clumsiness
  • Drowsiness
  • Slurred speech

Concussions also cause cognitive symptoms, such as:

  • Confusion
  • Memory loss
  • Difficulty concentrating

You might also experience emotional symptoms after a concussion, including:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Emotional outbursts
  • Personality changes

These symptoms often clear up about two months after your accident. If they last longer than two months, your doctor may diagnose you with post-concussion syndrome (PCS).

Accident victims with PCS may experience symptoms for months or years after their original injury. Although doctors don’t know the cause of PCS, research suggests a link between PCS and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). If you experienced psychological trauma from your accident, you might have a higher risk of PCS.

How Do You Rate the Severity of a Concussion Injury?

Doctors have several systems for rating the severity of a concussion injury. The best-known system is the Glasgow Coma Scale. This rating can tell doctors the severity of the symptoms you might experience and the time you may need to recover.

In the Glasgow Coma Scale, physicians and EMTs use three responses to rate the severity of a concussion injury. This test gets administered immediately after the injury.

Eye Opening Response

If you open your eyes spontaneously after your accident, you have a mild concussion. If you only open your eyes in response to verbal or physical stimuli, like someone shaking you or calling your name, you have a moderate concussion. If you lose consciousness and cannot open your eyes, even briefly, you have a severe concussion.

Motor Response

You have a mild concussion if you can flex and relax your muscles on command after the accident. You have a moderate concussion if you can flex your muscles but not normally. You have a severe concussion if you cannot move after your accident, or you can only relax your muscles.

Verbal Response

After a concussion, you might hear doctors ask questions like:

  • What is your name?
  • Do you know where you are?
  • What’s today’s date?
  • Who is the president?

These questions test your ability to think and speak. If you give oriented responses, even if you get the answers wrong, you have a mild concussion. If you give confused responses where you mix up or misuse words, you have a moderate concussion. If you can’t respond or only respond with inarticulate sounds, you have a severe concussion.

How Do Physicians Treat a Concussion Injury?

Doctors cannot do much to treat a concussion. The changes in your brain happen on a cellular level, so surgery will not repair the damage.

Doctors may prescribe pain medication to help with any headaches. Your doctor may keep you in the hospital briefly for observation to make sure you only suffered a concussion and not a more severe brain injury. After releasing you, your doctor will prescribe rest while you begin your recovery.

How Do You Get Compensation for a Concussion Injury?

To get compensation for a concussion injury, you need to show that someone else bears liability for your accident. If you got injured in a workplace accident, your employer’s workers’ compensation insurer will probably provide medical and disability benefits while you recover.

If you did not suffer your injury at work, you probably need to prove negligence to receive injury compensation for your concussion. Negligence happens when someone fails to exercise reasonable care, and as a result, you suffer an injury.

When you prove negligence, you can seek compensation for your economic damages like medical expenses and lost income. You can also pursue compensation for non-economic damages like pain, mental anguish, and inability to participate in activities.

A concussion can cause severe impairment, albeit temporary. You might need to miss work while you recover from physical and cognitive symptoms. You could also have a significant reduction in your quality of life as you struggle after injuring your brain.

To discuss the compensation you can seek for your concussion injury, contact or call the Law Offices of Jay S. Knispel Personal Injury Lawyers at (212) 564-2800 for a free consultation.

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