4 Types of Brain Injuries and 3 Levels of Severity

Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are among the most devastating injuries an accident victim can sustain. A TBI can cause severe impairments and disabilities, resulting in substantial losses.

If someone else caused your accident, they could be financially responsible for the damages you’ve sustained. Below, we discuss different types of brain injuries and the compensation you may receive in a personal injury claim.

Overview of Traumatic Brain Injuries

A traumatic brain injury is harm to the brain caused by an outside force. Brain injuries may result from a bump, blow, or jolt to the body or head. While blunt force trauma is a common cause of TBIs, you can sustain a brain injury from a severe case of whiplash or other strong blows or movement. Your brain violently shifts within your skull, causing damage when it strikes the skull.

Potential symptoms of a traumatic brain injury include:

  • Physical symptoms, such as headaches, nausea, vomiting, loss of balance/coordination, and seizures
  • Cognitive and behavioral symptoms, such as confusion, loss of consciousness, changes in sleep patterns, memory problems, and trouble concentrating
  • Sensory symptoms, such as blurry vision, ringing in the ears, sensitivity to light/sound, and dizziness

Anyone who sustains a head injury or strong blow or jolt to the body should seek immediate medical attention. The symptoms of a brain injury may appear hours or days later. They may be minor at first but grow in intensity with time.

If you experienced a prior head injury that has not completely healed, you may develop second impact syndrome (SIS). SIS can increase the risk of death because of brain swelling and other complications. The second impact does not need to be strong to result in SIS. Immediate medical treatment is required.

What Are the Four Types of Brain Injuries Common in Personal Injury Cases?

There are several types of brain injuries you can sustain in an accident or other personal injury situation, including the following:


Concussions or mild TBIs are one of the most common types of brain injury. They occur from a blow to the head or a sudden change in movement. Even though most concussions heal with time and rest, some individuals experience long-term symptoms or second impact syndrome. See a doctor immediately if you sustain a concussion.

Penetrating Brain Injuries

A penetrating brain injury occurs when an object enters the brain through a fracture in the skull. A blow to the head could also result in hair or skull fragments entering the brain. The result is immediate damage to the point where the object enters the brain tissue. The severity of the injury depends on where the brain is damaged and the level of damage.

Subdural Hematomas

A subdural hematoma occurs when blood pools between the skull and the brain because of damage to one or more blood vessels. It can be caused by blunt force trauma, such as falling, a violent assault, or a car accident. A severe head injury can cause immediate symptoms. However, a hematoma can also develop in the days and weeks after a minor head injury.  

Diffuse Axonal Injuries

A diffuse axonal injury (DAI) results from rapid deceleration, acceleration, or rotational forces that cause the brain’s nerve fibers to stretch and tear. The damage can be microscopic or substantial. The location and severity of the tears result in varying degrees of damage to the brain. In some instances, the tears can be fatal.

What Are the Three Levels of Severity for a Brain Injury?

A brain injury impacts how the brain functions. The more severe the brain injury, the more damage to bodily functions. The three levels of brain injury are:

Mild Brain Injury

A mild brain injury may cause a person to lose consciousness for a few seconds to a few minutes. However, you do not need to be unconscious to sustain a mild TBI. You may be confused or disoriented for a short period. Even though the injury is “mild,” it can sometimes result in long-term symptoms.

A mild TBI might not show up on imaging tests. Therefore, paying close attention to your symptoms and reporting them to a doctor immediately is important.

Moderate Brain Injury

Moderate brain injuries can cause someone to lose consciousness for a few hours. The level of confusion increases and could last for weeks after the head injury. Symptoms of a moderate TBI may last for months or be permanent. Complications could lead to lifelong physical, emotional, and cognitive impairments.

Severe Brain Injury

A severe TBI can cause life-threatening conditions. A person may be unconscious for up to or more than 24 hours. The likelihood of permanent disabilities and impairments increases significantly. Even with immediate medical treatment, the victim may never return to everyday life.

What Should I Do After Suffering a Brain Injury in Phoenix, AZ?

Seek immediate medical treatment after an accident. You may not realize how severe your head injury is until a doctor evaluates you.

Then, contact a Phoenix brain injury attorney for a free consultation. An attorney will advise you of your legal options to recover compensation for damages.

Economic and non-economic damages in a brain injury case can include:

  • Past and future medical bills and expenses, including hospitalizations, doctor’s bills, rehabilitative therapies, and nursing/personal care
  • Emotional distress and mental anguish
  • Property damage
  • Lost benefits, wages, and future earning capacity
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Impairment and disabilities
  • Loss of enjoyment of life and diminished quality of life
  • Out-of-pocket expenses, including household services and travel to doctor’s appointments

The amount you receive for a brain injury claim depends on the severity of your injuries and your monetary losses. Arizona’s comparative fault law may also apply if you are partially to blame for causing your injuries.

Contact the Arizona Brain Injury Lawyers at Curiel & Runion Car Accident and Personal Injury Lawyers Today

If you sustained a head injury and need help with a claim, call our Phoenix personal injury lawyers. The best way to protect your legal rights is with the help of an experienced injury lawyer. 

Curiel & Runion Car Accident and Personal Injury Lawyers
1221 E Osborn Rd. Suite 201
Phoenix, AZ 85014
(602) 595-5559

Curiel & Runion Car Accident and Personal Injury Lawyers
400 Gold Avenue SW, Suite 650
Albuquerque, NM 87102
(505) 594-3621