Doctors call a concussion a mild traumatic brain injury. “Mild” refers to the fact that patients rarely die from a concussion. But concussion symptoms can severely impact your life for months, if not longer.
These symptoms could incapacitate you physically and mentally. They could cause mood swings or even change your personality.
Here is some information about the causes and symptoms of a concussion injury and how you can seek injury compensation for one.
What is the Function of the Brain?
Your brain controls every aspect of your body. It receives sensory signals so it understands the environment around you. It sends out motor signals to control your muscles and organs. It even controls many of your body functions, like blood pressure and metabolism, without any conscious thought.
The brain consists of neurons. These cells communicate with each other using electric signals. Electrical communication allows a signal to go from your brain to your fingers or toes within a fraction of a second.
But it also means that your brain can get disrupted if the neurons get damaged or destroyed. Damaged neurons can misfire, and destroyed neurons cannot carry a signal.
Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) surrounds the brain inside the skull. The CSF and skull cooperate to protect the brain from both direct impacts and rapid motion. Since the CSF has a viscosity slightly thicker than water, it slows the brain as the head moves. It also cushions the brain when the head experiences a shock.
How Do Concussion Injuries Happen?
The forces you experience in an accident can cause immense pressure on the CSF. According to the laws of motion, a force generates an equal and opposite force. As your brain pushes through the CSF during an accident, the CSF pushes back on the brain.
If your brain hits the inside of your skull, your brain will develop a contusion. A contusion can cause permanent brain damage, coma, or even death.
The CSF exerts pressure on the brain to try to prevent a contusion. But in a severe accident, the pressure of the CSF can itself damage the brain. Doctors refer to this injury as a concussion.
A concussion injury can happen in a few ways:
Blunt Force Injury
A blunt force injury happens when a force hits your head without penetrating the skin. You will likely suffer a blunt force injury when your head hits the floor during a slip and fall accident.
When you fall, your brain starts moving in the direction of the fall. When your head hits the ground, the CSF cushions the brain from hitting the inside of your skull. This pressure can cause a concussion.
When your brain rapidly accelerates and decelerates, it can slosh around in your skull. The pressure of the CSF to prevent your sloshing brain from hitting the inside walls can cause a concussion.
Car accidents, for example, can cause an acceleration-deceleration brain injury. As you collide with a vehicle, your body will whip toward the collision until you hit your seat belt or your airbag. Your body then rebounds in the opposite direction as your car comes to a stop. This whipping motion can cause whiplash injuries and a concussion.
An explosion creates a pressure wave. As it hits you, this wave can pressurize the CSF, which then squeezes the brain and can cause a concussion.
These types of concussions typically happen in combat zones. But they can also affect workers involved in construction accidents, mining accidents, or other workplace accidents where an explosion occurs.
What Are the Symptoms of a Concussion Injury?
When the CSF presses on the brain, brain cells can suffer damage. The pressure can rupture blood vessels, depriving brain cells of their supply of oxygen. Then the leaking blood can increase the pressure on the brain even further.
The damage causes the brain to inflame. Inflammation, in turn, causes neurons to misfire. This misfiring leads to the many symptoms that you might experience immediately after a concussion, including:
- Sensory problems, like blurry vision or ringing ears
Over the days that follow a concussion, your brain continues to swell. You might experience delayed concussion symptoms that affect you mentally and emotionally, such as:
- Difficulty thinking and concentrating
- Emotional outbursts
- Sleep disorders
Most of your symptoms will disappear within two months.
Post-concussion syndrome (PCS) affects between 10% and 30% of concussion patients. PCS happens when the symptoms from your concussion injury last longer than two months.
Doctors do not know what causes some accident victims to experience PCS. Research has suggested a link between post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and PCS. Thus, you may have a higher likelihood of developing PCS if you experienced a particularly traumatic accident when you sustained your concussion.
How Do I Get Compensation for a Concussion Injury?
Florida law typically entitles you to recover compensation for a concussion suffered due to someone else’s negligence. To do so, you must show that the other person or business failed to exercise reasonable care in protecting your safety. As a result of that failure, you suffered a concussion.
Thus, if you got injured in a slip and fall accident, you must show that the owner or occupier did something unreasonably dangerous, like failing to mop a spill. You must also show that you fell and suffered a concussion as a result of that failure.
The one exception covers car accidents. Florida uses a no-fault system of car insurance. This means that after a car accident, you will first look to your insurer for no-fault benefits. You can seek additional compensation from the at-fault driver if you run out of no-fault benefits or you suffer a significant and permanent injury.
Your doctor might prescribe rest while you recover from a concussion, costing you significant income. You might also face large medical bills for examinations, treatment, and medication. For these reasons, you may be entitled to substantial compensation after a concussion. To discuss the compensation you might seek for your concussion injury, contact Baggett Law Personal Injury Lawyers to schedule a free consultation.