Concussions happen more often than you might believe. As many as 3.8 million Americans suffer concussions from competitive sports every year. Concussion injuries from accidents and assaults could add several million more.
Up to 50% of these concussions go undiagnosed. One of these concussions could have produced your headache after a car accident or blurred vision after a slip and fall accident. As a result, you might miss work and suffer a significant decrease in your quality of life for several weeks or months.
How Does Your Body Protect Your Brain?
The brain controls your nervous system, which, in turn, runs your entire body. Your brain controls your voluntary movements like chewing and walking. It also controls your involuntary responses from temperature control to heart rate.
The brain is one of the most protected organs in your body because it performs these critical functions. Your skull protects your brain. Inside your skull, three membranes, called meninges, seal the brain from bacteria that might invade your body through an open wound.
The meninges contain cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). This fluid surrounds and cushions the spinal cord and brain. It slows the movement of your brain when an accident jostles your body and prevents your brain from hitting your skull.
What Can Lead to a Concussion Injury?
The protection provided by the CSF comes at a price. The CSF exerts fluid pressure on your brain to cushion it when it gets jostled. But this pressure can damage the neurons in your brain. The cellular damage might cause the neurons to malfunction or even die.
The dead and malfunctioning neurons produce some of a concussion’s symptoms. Damaged or destroyed brain cells cannot carry brain signals. As a result, the brain might temporarily lose some of its functions, producing physical, cognitive, or emotional impairments.
Your body will also trigger inflammation in response to the tissue damage. Inflammation can have benefits when bacteria or viruses infect your body. But swelling and fever can produce symptoms ranging from headache to delirium when they affect your brain.
Most concussion injuries happen due to three types of trauma:
If you bump your head or face, your brain experiences a jolt that can cause a concussion. Head injuries can happen in a slip and fall accident. When your feet lose traction and slide forward, you fall back. You can hit the back of your head and injure your brain.
Similarly, as many as 38% of victims involved in motorcycle crashes suffer head trauma. When your head strikes a vehicle or the road, your brain can shift violently, causing a concussion injury.
Rapid Acceleration or Deceleration
You do not need to experience a head injury to suffer a concussion. The CSF can damage your brain when it shakes inside your skull due to rapid acceleration, deceleration, or both.
For example, your head may jerk suddenly during a car collision. The whipping of your head can rattle your brain severely even though your head did not strike anything.
The pressure wave produced by an explosion can pressurize the CSF, which, in turn, squeezes the brain. Neurons get damaged or destroyed, and as a result, you suffer a concussion.
What Are the Symptoms of a Concussion?
The symptoms you experience from a concussion could vary widely. Also, your symptoms may evolve as your brain swells in the hours and days after the initial injury.
Some common physical concussion symptoms include:
- Blurred vision
- Slurred speech
- Clumsiness and loss of dexterity
- Loss of balance and coordination
A concussion can also affect your cognition. Patients often report confusion due to brain fog. Amnesia is also common after a concussion injury.
Concussions can produce emotional symptoms in some accident victims, such as:
- Angry outbursts
The symptoms you experience after a concussion typically last no longer than two months. If your symptoms continue past that point, a doctor may diagnose you with post-concussive syndrome (PCS). This condition has no clear causes, but it tends to happen more often in patients with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Concussion Severity Rating
The severity of your concussion influences the symptoms you suffer and how long they last. Doctors can use many different rating scales to determine the severity of a brain injury. One of the most common is the Glasgow Coma Scale.
This rating system uses three tests and determines the severity of your brain injury based on your responses. The score is a composite score. If you rate highly on two tests but poorly on the other, you might still have a severe brain injury once the doctor adds up your scores.
The Glasgow Coma Scale’s tests consist of the following:
- Eye-Opening Response. This response looks at whether you lost consciousness and how you awoke. If you lose consciousness, your score will be low. You will score higher if you awake in response to sound or touch. You receive the highest score if you do not lose consciousness, even briefly.
- Motor Response. Doctors will look at your ability to flex and extend your muscles. The doctor will assign a low score if you have abnormal flexion and extension. You get a medium score if you have normal flexion or extension but not both. The highest score comes if you move normally after your injury.
- Verbal Response. After a concussion, EMTs and doctors will ask you a lot of questions. These questions are meant to measure your verbal response. If you cannot speak or can only make sounds, you will receive a low score. You will get a higher score if you can form words but misuse them. You get the highest score if you give coherent, if confused, answers.
How Can You Get Compensation for a Concussion Injury?
You can pursue compensation for your economic and non-economic losses after a concussion caused by someone else’s intentional or negligent actions. Compensable losses can include your medical bills and lost income. They can also cover your pain and suffering due to the effects of your injury.
For example, suppose that you cannot work at your job due to severe headaches, brain fog, and amnesia. You can get compensated for your lost income and the diminishment in your quality of life due to your cognitive difficulties. Contact the lawyers Curiel & Runion Personal Injury Lawyers by calling (602) 595-5559 for a free consultation to discuss your concussion injury and the compensation you can seek.