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Practice Areas - Head Injuries

Injuries to the brain can occur in many types of accidents, including car accidents, falls, and sports. In some accidents, the skull is fractured causing unconsciousness. Brain injury and unconsciousness can also  occur without a skull fracture, and may result in permanent injury, or even death. You may recall the tragic story of actress Natasha Richardson, who died after a relatively minor fall while skiing. She did not request emergency medical attention at the time, but her brain swelled and caused her death 12 hours later.

When a person suffers a skull fracture, a loss of consciousness, and obvious physical impairment ,  proving the brain injury is related to the accident is straightforward, since there is objective medical evidence. However, many injuries to the brain occur without skull fractures, or unconsciousness. These injuries can also cause long lasting, or even permanent impairments, but are much more difficult to prove in court. These are called “closed head injuries.”

The brain is made of billions of nerves and fibers, suspended in fluid, and when the brain tissue contacts the skull forcefully, the tissues can tear or bruise. Some of the damage may be so tiny in a physical sense, that it can not be detected on an MRI or a CT scan, because there is not a significant amount of bleeding. However, even microscopic injuries to the brain can be devastating and permanent.

Some long term problems associated with closed head injuries may include memory problems, anger control issues, headaches, or severe depression. Fortunately most of the time these symptoms gradually go away. However, even temporary problems like these can severely disrupt a person’s life, causing difficulty with personal relationships, employment issues, and many other problems. Some people with closed head injuries never recover completely, but proving their problems are a result of a specific accident can be problematic. In those situations, it is important to get the proper evaluation as soon as possible. This may involve tests from neurologists or neuropsychologists, who can assess the degree of cognitive impairment at a specific time, and the tests can be repeated later, to determine whether the condition is improving.

If you have questions about a brain injury, call Dan Pope at 206-622-7300 for a free consultation.