A concussion injury can happen in almost any accident when you get jostled. You do not need to hit your head or get hit in the head to suffer a concussion. Getting whipped around in a car accident or falling hard in a slip & fall accident could damage your brain.
Concussions can cause severe and lasting symptoms. These symptoms rarely cause death, but they can cause pain, foggy thinking, and even personality changes.
Here are some facts about the causes and effects of a concussion injury.
Protection for Your Brain
Brain injuries like a concussion happen when the force of an accident damages the brain tissue.
Your brain sits inside your skull, cushioned by a layer of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), which has a viscosity slightly thicker than water. As a result, it transmits the motion of your head to your brain very slowly.
Under normal circumstances, the CSF gently moves your brain along with the movement of your head. You will not get a concussion while sitting up, turning your head, or running.
How Does a Concussion Injury Happen?
Concussion injuries happen when the pressure of the CSF damages your brain. This can happen in a few situations:
- An explosion can cause a concussion. Explosions create a blast wave, which can pressurize your CSF and damage your brain.
- Rapid acceleration or deceleration can also cause a concussion. When your body accelerates or decelerates, a wave of pressure builds in your CSF to protect your brain.
The viscous nature of the CSF is a double-edged sword in a collision. It slows your brain from hitting the inside of your skull. But the pressure needed to slow down your brain can, itself, cause brain damage.
The pressure of the CSF as your brain sloshes around in the skull can injure or kill brain cells. The loss of these brain cells can interfere with the brain’s ability to process information, recall memories, and control your body.
However, the more serious problem comes from the body’s efforts to repair itself. For example, when you sprain your ankle, the body rushes cells to fight any microbes in the injured area and begin healing the damaged tendon. The injury swells as your body tries to trap and kill any microbes that may have invaded your body.
The same thing happens after a concussion. Your brain inflames after the injury. This slows blood flow into the injured area and causes a cascade of chemical changes to your brain cells. As a result, you experience changes in the way your brain works.
What Are the Symptoms of a Concussion Injury?
Concussions can produce a range of physical and cognitive symptoms including:
- Dizziness or nausea
- Blurred vision
- Loss of balance
- Slurred speech
- Loss of dexterity
- Memory loss
Some symptoms, like a headache and blurred vision, happen immediately after the injury. Other symptoms, like confusion and drowsiness, might not appear until hours or days after the injury. This occurs because brain inflammation continues for some time after your accident.
The majority of symptoms of a concussion usually clear up within six to eight weeks after the injury. Post-concussion syndrome (PCS) generally occurs when symptoms last longer than two months.
People with PCS often experience long-term emotional or mental symptoms such as:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Irritability or anger
- Emotional outbursts
- Sleep disorders
Doctors don’t know why some patients develop PCS. But they have identified significant overlap between patients with PCS and patients who developed post-traumatic stress disorder from their accidents.
How Do Doctors Grade the Severity of a Concussion?
Doctors usually grade a concussion as mild, moderate, or severe. The most common system for grading concussions is the Glasgow Coma Scale.
The Glasgow Coma Scale uses three assessments to grade brain injuries. The three assessments include:
- Eye Opening Response
If the person lost consciousness, even briefly, the person had a severe concussion. A person who only opens their eyes in response to a stimulus has a moderate concussion. If the person opens their eyes spontaneously after their injury, the concussion is mild.
- Motor Response
Someone who has lost flexion or extension of the muscles has a severe concussion. Someone who only moves in response to pain has a moderate concussion. Someone who has full control of their body has a mild concussion.
- Verbal Response
If the person cannot answer questions or only makes sounds instead of words, the person has a severe concussion. If someone can give confused but coherent answers, the concussion is moderate. Someone who can provide oriented responses to questions has a mild concussion.
What are the Risk Factors for a Concussion Injury?
Certain types of injuries and accidents have an increased risk of a concussion, including:
Car accidents involve the rapid acceleration and deceleration that causes concussions. During a collision, your brain wants to keep moving in the same direction as before the collision. The CSF exerts enormous pressure on your brain to push it in a new direction. This pressure can cause a concussion.
Motorcycle, Bicycle, and Pedestrian Accidents
Motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, and pedestrian accidents have a high risk of causing a concussion. An accident victim in a motorcycle, bicycle, or pedestrian accident can suffer an injury in the primary collision with the vehicle or in the secondary collision with the road.
More people visit the emergency room for falls than any other type of accident. A fall from a height or on a level surface can cause a concussion even if you do not hit your head during the fall.
What Compensation Can I Recover for a Concussion Injury?
Compensation for injuries caused by someone else’s negligence can include your medical bills and lost income. It can also cover your non-economic losses like pain, anguish, and sleeplessness.
After a concussion, your doctor might prescribe rest to heal from your injury. Your symptoms might prevent you from working. As a result, you could lose significant income while recovering from a concussion.
During this time, you may also need to give up driving, exercising, and other daily activities. The inconvenience will diminish your quality of life.
Contact an Ocala Personal Injury Lawyer for Help
A concussion injury can have a significant impact on your finances and health. To discuss the compensation you can seek for your concussion injury, contact Allen Law Firm, P.A. to schedule a free consultation. Our Ocala personal injury lawyers are standing by.