Millions of Americans suffer brain injuries each year and thousands are left permanently disabled. The disabilities are physical, cognitive, behavioral, and/or emotional in nature.
There are two types of brain injury that can have permanent and devastating effects and can even lead to death: traumatic brain injury and acquired brain injury.
When there is an external blow to the head with some type of force, traumatic brain injury (TBI) can result. A few of the common causes of TBI are auto accidents; firearm accidents; premises liability accidents; and accidents incurred playing active sports such as rollerblading, hockey, and basketball. TBI may also result from incidents where the head is violently shaken or there is a blow to the skull. Shaken baby syndrome and high-speed auto accidents are two very common causes of TBI.
There are three levels of TBI: mild, moderate, and severe. A mild traumatic brain injury is classified as a brief loss of consciousness. A moderate traumatic brain injury is characterized by loss of consciousness that lasts from a few minutes to a few hours, with the resulting impairment of motor skills ranging from several weeks to permanent. A severe traumatic brain injury involves an extended unconscious state or coma (this may range from days to years).
When there is a disruption in the oxygen flow to the brain, this is referred to as an acquired brain injury (ABI). ABIs often result from stroke, aneurysm, heart attack, tumors, infectious disease, airway obstruction, crushing injuries to the chest, drug abuse, infectious disease, and/or meningitis. Additionally, reckless conduct on the part of a second party, including medical malpractice and medical negligence, can cause ABI. ABIs can affect reasoning skills and cognitive thought patterns, and may cause lapses in memory and reduced physical and mental abilities, along with several other traits and impaired body functions.