Doctors consider concussions to be mild traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) because they rarely cause death or permanent brain damage. But these injuries can still produce severe physical, mental, and emotional symptoms.
As a result of these symptoms, accident victims may need time to rest and recuperate. They might find it difficult to perform work tasks or even care for their needs. And in some cases, a concussion could lead to complications that persist for months or even years.
What Is the Structure of Your Brain?
Your brain controls your nervous system, and your nervous system controls your entire body. The brain sends motor signals to the muscles that move your body. It receives sensory signals from the body to provide information about your surroundings.
Because of the importance of the brain, your body provides several layers of protection for it. The brain sits inside a set of membranes called meninges. These membranes protect the brain and spinal cord from pathogens like bacteria and viruses. They also form a barrier that holds in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF).
The CSF surrounds the brain and spinal cord and cushions the brain by slowing its motion. The CSF is slightly more viscous than water. When the head moves, CSF pushes against the brain to prevent it from hitting the inside of the skull.
The skull surrounds the brain, meninges, and CSF. It protects the brain from direct impacts.
How Does a Concussion Injury Happen?
A concussion occurs when the brain rattles inside your skull. Concussions can happen due to the following circumstances:
When you strike your head, your brain sloshes toward the point of impact. If the brain hits the inside of the skull, you will suffer a cerebral contusion that can cause permanent brain damage, coma, or death.
When the CSF does its job, it cushions the brain from hitting the skull by pushing back on it. However, the fluid pressure of the CSF damages brain cells. This brain damage is minor compared to the damage that could result from a contusion, but it can still produce severe symptoms.
Head trauma can happen in a slip and fall accident when your feet lose traction and you fall backward. Your head hits the ground, and your brain sloshes toward the back of your skull. The fluid compresses, and the increase in pressure squeezes the brain. The pressure damages brain cells.
Rapid Acceleration and Deceleration
You can experience a concussion injury when your body whips back and forth, even if you don’t face direct head trauma. As you whip forward and backward, your brain moves in your skull. The fluid pressure of the CSF squeezes your brain and damages the cells.
The most common situation where this happens is in a car accident. Your body wants to keep moving in the same direction and at the same speed as it did before the impact, but your seat belt only restrains your body. Your head whips around, causing your brain to slosh in your skull. The sloshing causes a concussion.
What Are the Symptoms of a Concussion?
Brain trauma from a concussion causes your brain to become inflamed. Swelling and fever cause the brain cells to misfire.
Concussion injuries can produce a range of symptoms, including these:
- Slurred speech
- Blurry vision
These symptoms might appear immediately after the accident, but in many situations, symptoms show up later. The brain continues to swell in the hours and days after the initial trauma. The continued swelling can cause symptoms to appear, disappear, and recur.
In most situations, concussion symptoms go away in roughly two months. But occasionally, these symptoms could persist for months or even years.
Post-concussion syndrome (PCS) can produce more severe symptoms, such as these:
- Lack of focus
- Sleep disorders
- Emotional outbursts
- Difficulty thinking and solving problems
Doctors do not know exactly what causes PCS. But many people who suffer from PCS also suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). If you have PTSD, you have a higher likelihood of developing PCS.
How Do Physicians Rate the Severity of Concussion Injuries?
Doctors rate brain injuries as mild, moderate, or severe based on the level of damage to your brain. The most common system used to rate concussions is the Glasgow Coma Scale.
This scale relies upon three measures to rate the severity of your injury:
When a first responder or doctor assesses your concussion, they will look at when and how you opened your eyes after suffering your injury.
If you lost consciousness, you have a severe concussion. If you only opened your eyes in response to sound or touch, you have a moderate concussion. You have a mild concussion when you open your eyes spontaneously.
First responders and doctors will also look at your ability to move your body on command.
If you cannot move after your injury, you have a severe concussion. If you can relax your muscles but cannot flex them, your concussion is moderate. Your concussion is mild if you can move normally on command.
The person assessing your concussion will ask questions similar to these:
- Do you know where you are?
- How did you get injured?
- What is your name?
- What day is it?
Your answers will help determine the severity of your concussion. If you have a severe concussion, you will not be able to answer or will only produce sounds but not words. A moderate concussion will cause you to answer incoherently by mixing up words. If you have a mild concussion, you will answer coherently, even if you answer incorrectly.
How Can You Get Compensation for a Concussion Injury in Texas?
You can get personal injury compensation for a concussion that resulted from someone else’s negligence. This compensation can cover economic damages, such as your medical costs and lost wages. It can also cover non-economic damages, like pain and suffering.
A concussion can produce severe physical, cognitive, and emotional symptoms that can disrupt your life and even disable you from working. To discuss the compensation you can pursue for your concussion injury, contact us at Jay Murray Personal Injury Lawyers for a free consultation at (214) 855-1420.