accidents are a leading cause of head and brain injuries.
can occur when the head has been struck usually by striking
an object such as a windshield or the brain undergoes a
sudden acceleration/deceleration movement (as in a whiplash
injury) without direct external trauma to the head. Many
brain injuries are the result of bruising, bleeding,
twisting or tearing of brain tissue. Damage to the brain may
occur at the time of the accident, or develop over time as
tissues swell and bleed within the head.
The anatomy of a brain injury
The brain is several pounds of a jelly-like substance
containing millions of microscopic fibers suspended in
cerebrospinal fluid. The brain works by sending neuro-chemical
signals across axonal-dendric connections known as synapses.
When brain tissue is disturbed in an injury, these axonal-dendric
connections can be disturbed or broken.
The brain has three main areas: the cortex, the cerebellum
and the brain stem (diancephalon).
The cortex is the center where most thinking takes place. It
has four lobes, and two hemispheres: the right and the left.
The left hemisphere is often the dominant structure and
controls verbal functions such as speaking, writing, reading
and calculating. The right controls visual-spatial functions
such as visual memory, copying, drawing and rhythm.
The frontal lobe is sometimes damaged in accidents because
of its location near the front of the cranium. The frontal
lobe is considered a center for emotional and personality
The cerebellum controls our coordination and balance.
The brain stem connects the brain to the spinal cord and
controls survival functions, such as breathing, heart rate,
consciousness and alertness.
Fortunately the brain is protected by our skull or cranium.
However, the inner surface of the skull contains ribbing and
bony structures. If the brain moves forcefully inside the
skull, it can be thrust into these bony structures causing
Types of head injuries:
Contusion or Concussion
A contusion or concussion occurs when the brain is bruised
by striking the cranium. The injury causes headaches,
vomiting, dizziness and problems remembering or
concentrating. It can have can have long term consequences.
Anoxic brain injury
An injury that disrupts blood flow to the brain. An anoxic
brain injury is caused by a lack of oxygen to the brain
usually through bleeding and swelling of brain tissue.
A skull fracture is a break in the bone that surrounds the
brain. Often a skull fracture will heal on its own but if
there is tissue damage below the fracture surgery may be
A contrecoup injury occurs when the brain is propelled
against both sides of the skull. In this type of injury the
brain will rebound and collides with the opposite side of
the skull-when it strikes both sides of the skull, the
result is a contrecoup injury.
Diffuse Axonal Injury (DAI)
A type of brain injury called Diffuse Axonal Injury occurs
with the rotation and disruption of the brain inside the
skull which severs or shears the brain's long connecting
nerve fibers or axons. This damage can be microscopic and
difficult to measure. In cases involving "mild brain injury"
the effects of this may be not be long term, but following
more severe brain injury it can result in permanent
disability and unconsciousness and coma. Unfortunately,
there is no real treatment for diffuse axonal injury. Recent
studies indicate the damage to axons appears to progress
over the first 12 to 24 hours after the injury. It is hoped
that in the near future it may be possible to prevent the
progression with specific treatments.
Epidural hematoma involves the formation of a blood clot
between the skull and the top lining of the brain (dura).
This clot causes pressure changes in the brain can require
A subdural hematoma is the formation of a blood clot between
the brain tissue and the dura. If it occurs slowly over
several weeks it is referred to as a subdural hematoma; if
it occurs quickly it is referred to an acute subdural
hematoma. Like other clots this may require surgical
If you have relieved a blow to the head and are suffering
from a head or brain injury as a result of a car accident
you should see a doctor and contact an attorney.
The science behind brain injuries is constantly changing and
highly technical. Attorneys who handle these cases should
have extensive experience in the field. The cases often
require the testimony of medical experts and psychological
Should you require assistance of an Attorney for a Head or Brain Injury,
please contact us for an immediate free evaluation of your
situation. We have dealt with many of these cases and can be
an invaluable resource for information and more importantly
or call us today at (401) 788-0600 to speak with
someone from our firm..