Stephen Hasner | Brain Injury | February 3, 2021
Blunt force head trauma can happen in any type of accident. Your head could hit the side window in a car accident. You could bump your head on the floor after a slip and fall. An assault could end with a blow to your head.
Blunt force head trauma can have serious consequences. You might even suffer from the effects of this type of trauma for the rest of your life.
Here are some things that you should know about the causes and effects of blunt force head trauma and how it can affect your injury case.
Is “Blunt Force” The Only Type of Head Trauma?
Any time your head is impacted, you can suffer from head trauma.
Head trauma falls into three general categories:
- Penetrating: When an object penetrates your scalp or face, you have penetrating head trauma. In serious cases, the object might penetrate your skull, leading to traumatic brain injuries.
- Blunt Force: When the head is impacted by a force that does not include penetration, you have blunt force head trauma.
- Pressure: A blast injury can cause a pressure differential that damages the head and brain. The pressure can rupture eardrums, tear blood vessels, and cause the brain to swell.
These head injuries can have both short-term and long-term consequences.
What Causes Blunt Force Head Trauma?
Blunt force head trauma occurs in two primary ways:
An Object Strikes Your Head
An object might fall onto your head or be propelled toward your head. For example, a brick might fall onto your head in a construction accident.
Your Head Strikes an Object
Your head could contact an object with enough force to cause trauma. For example, your helmet could strike the ground in a motorcycle accident. Although your helmet might take the bulk of the impact, your head could still suffer from blunt force trauma. Similarly, your head could impact an object — like a railing or step — after slipping.
Although the results are the same, the cause of your blunt force head trauma could be critical to determining who is liable for your injuries.
What Are the Effects of Blunt Force Trauma to the Head?
Blunt force head trauma can cause superficial injuries, broken bones, and brain injuries. Let’s take a deeper look at each of these categories.
Superficial injuries include cuts and bruises to your face. Superficial injuries often heal without treatment. However, in a serious accident, your cuts might require stitches or even reconstructive surgery.
The long-term effects of cuts and bruises can also include scars or disfigurement.
Blunt force head trauma can break bones in the face, such as the cheekbones, nose, teeth, and jaw. These bones should heal, but the fractures could permanently change your appearance.
You could also experience long-term disability from broken facial bones. For example, a broken eye socket might affect your vision. Similarly, a broken jaw or cheekbone could leave you with a temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder.
A fractured skull could lead to serious brain injuries. A blunt force strong enough to crack your skull will likely injure your brain. A skull fracture can also produce bone shards that push into the brain, producing penetrating injuries.
Non-penetrating brain injuries fall into a few categories, which may include:
- Concussion: A concussion is a type of generalized brain trauma caused by widespread pressure on the brain. This pressure occurs when the brain sloshes inside the skull. Most concussions create instant symptoms. However, these symptoms usually clear up after a few weeks.
- Hematoma: A hematoma is a blood clot. An epidural hematoma occurs between the skull and the dura, the membrane that protects the brain. A subdural hematoma occurs between the surface of the brain and the dura. Both types of hematoma can create pressure on the brain that can then damage brain tissue.
- Contusion: A contusion is a bruise to the brain. A contusion can damage brain tissue either due to a build-up of pressure or a lack of oxygen from bleeding that causes the bruise.
- Diffuse Axonal Injury (DAI): A DAI is the most dangerous brain injury. DAI is caused by severe shaking of the brain that tears the brain tissue without causing bleeding. The torn brain tissue can die, and the trauma to the brain can lead to swelling that damages brain tissue even further.
Brain injuries from blunt force trauma can range from mild to severe. A concussion can clear up in a few days or a few weeks, while a DAI can result in a coma or death.
What Are the Symptoms of a Brain Injury After Sustaining Blunt Force Trauma?
You should always seek medical treatment after blunt force head trauma. Traumatic brain injuries can cause serious problems — even death — if left untreated.
Some of the effects of brain injuries from blunt force trauma include:
- Dizziness and nausea
- Sensitivity to light or sound
- Irritability or other mood changes
- Ringing in the ears
- Loss of consciousness or coma
- Memory loss
- Loss of coordination, balance, or muscle control
Brain injuries are usually diagnosed through medical imaging. An X-ray or MRI can usually identify the type of brain injury and the extent of the damage.
What Compensation Can I Get For Blunt Force Head Trauma?
If you have suffered from blunt force head trauma due to someone else’s negligence, you might be able to recover compensation for your injuries.
You could feel the effects of TBI and other neurological injuries for the rest of your life. The effects of TBI could disrupt your ability to work or care for yourself.
Compensation for brain injuries from blunt force trauma can include:
- Medical Expenses: Compensation can include out-of-pocket medical costs for treatment, mental and physical therapy, and medications.
- Lost Income: The income you lose while recovering from your injuries can be included in your compensation.
- Diminished Earning Capacity: If you suffer from a TBI that forces you to change careers, your compensation can include the difference in pay.
- Pain and Suffering: You can recover compensation for your pain, loss of activities, mental anguish, and diminishment in your quality of life.
Your present and future losses could be substantial after your injuries from blunt force head trauma. Seeking compensation for your injuries might be your only way to cover your losses and ensure that you have the means to take care of yourself long-term.