Brain and head injuries carry extreme risks, both long-term and short-term. While medical professionals still have a lot to learn about the brain, incredible advances have led to improved outcomes for many injury victims. Brain injuries exist at every level of severity, from mild to fatal, and it is not always obvious how serious an injury is.

Brain Injuries Explained

Brain injuries can be caused by any number of traumatic events or accidents, including a slip and fall or car accident. They can also present different symptoms depending on the type and severity of the injury. Recognizing a serious brain injury is not always easy, as sometimes there are no initial symptoms at all. Brain and head injuries are closely associated in many instances, but they are not interchangeable terms.

Understanding the nuances of brain injuries and their symptoms is a crucial element in detecting issues and seeking medical treatment as soon as possible.

A few general categories of brain injury include:

  • Concussion

  • Open traumatic brain injury

  • Subdural hematoma

Concussions are incredibly common and can range in severity, but even mild concussions carry the risk of serious complications. Symptoms of concussion include dizziness, headache, confusion, ringing in the ears, nausea, double vision, and slurred speech. The risk for complications and the length of recovery time increases after multiple concussions, so anyone who has previously had this type of brain injury should be especially diligent in seeking medical attention for any subsequent concussions.

The vast majority of brain injuries are closed injuries, which means that the skull stays intact. Open traumatic brain injury (TBI), sometimes referred to as penetrating TBI, occurs when the skull breaks or is penetrated. These injuries are always severe and require immediate medical attention.

Subdural hematoma is a serious brain injury that happens when blood pools on the brain and creates pressure. Symptoms are similar to those of a concussion, including slurred speech, dizziness, and headache. Subdural hematomas may not occur immediately following head trauma. In fact, they may take weeks or months to develop.

If certain brain injuries can take a substantial amount of time to become symptomatic and some injuries cause long-term complications, can you die from a head injury years later?

Long-Term Effects of Brain Injuries

While some brain injuries have short recovery periods and do not cause any lasting effects, others cause long-term symptoms and require ongoing care. Long-term effects of brain injuries include:

  • Seizures

  • Chronic headaches

  • Memory loss

  • Mood swings

  • Cognitive impairments

For some people, severe or repeated brain injuries can cause degenerative brain diseases like Alzheimer’s or chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

Many victims of TBIs wonder about the fatality risk. The truth is that even mild brain injuries present the risk of early death. This risk is higher in people under 55 years old. Can you die from a brain injury years later? The short answer is yes. Being hospitalized for a brain injury almost doubles your risk of death in the 15 years after hospitalization. This risk may also exist even if the injury does not cause any symptoms.

Strategies for Preventing and Treating Brain Injuries After Personal Injury Accidents

While it may be impossible to completely prevent brain injuries, there are steps you can take to decrease your risk of experiencing a severe injury. Safety measures like the following can be helpful:

  • Always wear a seatbelt

  • Avoid driving under the influence

  • Don’t drive distracted or drowsy

  • Wear a helmet when riding a bicycle

After any personal injury accident, you should seek immediate medical attention if you think you may have a brain injury. The safest thing to do after an accident is to receive medical care, even if you are not exhibiting any symptoms.

A doctor can assess the severity of your injuries, provide necessary care, and create a treatment plan to minimize complications. If ongoing care is needed, it is important that you follow your doctor’s recommendations closely. Not only is this crucial for your health and recovery, but it is also a major factor in personal injury claims.

Physical therapy, occupational therapy, and other rehabilitative services are often necessary after a serious brain injury to help regain function and control. In addition, therapy and psychological treatment may help with many of the challenges associated with mood changes, depression, and trauma.

Your recovery process will be unique to you; it is impossible to predict how any individual will progress. Much of the healing after a brain injury occurs within the first two years after the injury. However, it is possible for injured accident victims to regain function ten or more years later.

Part of the recovery process after an injury-causing accident is financial recovery. If someone else was responsible for the accident that caused your brain injury, receiving compensation for your injuries can play an important role in your healing. Seitelman Law Offices, P.C. offers free consultations for personal injury victims. Contact us to schedule an appointment.