Head injuries can lead to life-long consequences. Learn about Houston’s three most common head injuries and their symptoms and treatments in this article.
Head and brain injuries are pretty common in the United States. Unfortunately, they’re also dangerous, leading to thousands of fatalities. That’s why traumatic brain injuries are receiving significant scholarly attention. Several research works on brain injuries are published annually in reputable journals such as the Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation.
Every year, about 1.5 million Americans sustain a traumatic brain injury. Sadly, up to 50,000 of these TBI patients die. About 230,000 more survive their brain injuries, though. Notably, survivors incur scary medical expenses, primarily from getting expert opinions and other medical bills.
Fortunately, Texas is a fault-based injury state. Therefore, if your injury was the cause of someone else’s negligence, you can recover compensation. The at-fault party will have to pay for the damages they caused you. A head injury lawyer in Houston can help you file a personal injury claim. So, reach out to an experienced injury attorney at McDonald Worley today.
What Is a Head Injury?
Head injuries are wounds to the brain, skull, or scalp. It includes mild injuries to serious conditions such as skull fractures that affect the brain. Therefore, the consequences of a head injury vary depending on the injury type.
Sadly, it’s challenging to judge the seriousness of a head injury by observation. Bleeding isn’t even a sufficient pointer to the severity of head wounds. That’s why it’s best to seek medical attention immediately after an event causing head trauma.
Classes of Head Injuries
We shall discuss the three most common head injuries in Houston, TX. However, it’ll be best first to understand the broad classification of head wounds.
Primary head injuries refer to the initial wound to the head. The moment of trauma is the time of injury. For example, the primary damage happens at the time of a gunshot or car accident.
A secondary head injury is the consequence of the primary wound. It’s the indirect and physiologic responses to the initial injury. Usually, these changes take hours, days, or weeks to manifest. Secondary head injuries are influenced by:
- Increased intracranial pressure (ICP)
- Hypoxia (restriction of oxygen to the brain)
- Systemic hypotension (presence of abnormally low blood pressure)
Closed Head Injuries
These wounds don’t involve penetration of the brain through a break in the skull. Frequently, closed brain injuries result from rapid shaking of the brain inside the skull or blunt force trauma. Furthermore, childhood head injuries usually fall under this category.
Open or Penetrating Head Injuries
A penetrating head injury occurs when something penetrates the skull. For example, a bullet can easily penetrate the head. Moreover, these types of wounds usually rupture blood vessels in the head, leading to bleeding and collection of blood in the head.
Skull fractures can also result from this kind of wound. A skull fracture is dangerous because it affects the skull bone. The skull bone protects the brain from injuries. So, this bone could break and penetrate the brain.
The 3 Most Common Head Injuries in Houston, TX
There are several types of injuries to the head, and all of them potentially have severe consequences. We explain Houston’s three most commonly seen head and brain injuries below.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
Traumatic brain injuries may well be the most common head injuries in Houston and the entire United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that in 2019 there were 223,135 TBI-related hospitalizations. Furthermore, 64,362 people died because of a TBI in that year.
The CDC further breaks down this data to show an average of:
- 611 TBI-related hospitalizations daily
- 176 TBI-related deaths daily
So, what’s a traumatic brain injury? A TBI is an injury that affects the normal activities of the brain. It occurs when sudden force damages the brain. So, it can lead to permanent or temporary impairments of cognitive functions.
Traumatic brain injuries could be closed or penetrating head wounds. There are three major types of traumatic brain injuries. They are:
- Mild TBI
- Moderate TBI
- Severe TBI
A brain hemorrhage is another common type of head injury. It refers to the bleeding that follows the impact on the head. Notably, the bleeding can be:
- Within the brain tissue (intracerebral hemorrhage), or
- Around the brain (subarachnoid hemorrhage)
Whichever the case, brain hemorrhage is very dangerous and could be fatal.
Hematoma refers to the blood clots outside the blood vessels in the head. These types of head injuries can occur within or outside the brain. As usual, a brain hematoma is a significant medical emergency. So, a comprehensive assessment is vital after a head injury.
Some other common examples of head injuries include:
- Scalp wounds
- Skull fracture
- Edema (brain swelling)
- Diffuse axonal injury
- Contusion (brain bruises)
Childhood head injuries are frequent too. So, kids can suffer any of these wounds. For instance, 2017 data from the CDC stated that children with head injuries make up 7% of the child population.
Causes of Head Injuries in Houston
Several factors and events contribute to the high head injury rate in the United States. As already mentioned, head injuries result from blows to the head or shaking of the head. Essentially, any activity that can cause blunt force head trauma can induce a head injury.
Similarly, aggressive shaking of the head can cause severe wounds. A typical example would include shaken baby syndrome in infants and young children. The Brain Injury Alliance provides data on the leading causes of head injuries such as TBI.
Falls are responsible for most traumatic brain injury cases. Therefore, falls are the most likely source of a TBI. Moreover, falls frequently fall under premises liability claims.
They occur when property owners keep their environment in dangerous conditions, causing visitors to slip and fall. Conversely, you could also trip over an object that was negligently placed on the ground. Finally, young children and older people are most likely to fall and sustain a head injury.
This is how many domestic violence victims sustain head injuries. Assaults usually involve head blows and other exertions of force on the head.
Motor Vehicle Accidents
This includes all forms of road traffic collisions like:
- Motorcycle accidents
- Large truck collisions
- Pedestrian accidents
Suppose you’re in a car accident. Then, the collision impact can hit your head on the interior parts of your vehicle. In addition, it can also violently shake your head. So this explains why many head injuries result from motor vehicle crashes.
Striking or Being Struck by Objects
This accounts for 15% of TBIs in the United States. Striking or being struck by an object can also happen during car accidents. It can also occur when people collide with objects while walking.
There are many other sources of head injuries, such as:
- Construction accidents
- Sporting activities
- Recreation mishaps
- Explosions and combat
- Other forms of violence, including gunshots to the head
- Medical malpractice, such as surgical errors
Signs and Symptoms of Head Injuries
External head wounds are easily identifiable. However, there are also internal head and brain injuries that aren’t obvious to the eye. Fortunately, there are symptoms to look out for after any physical activity or accident likely to cause a head injury. Some of them include:
- Loss of balance and coordination
- Loss of consciousness
- Slurred speech
- Blurred vision
- Double vision
- Ringing in the ears
- Swelling of the injury site
- Cuts on the head
Furthermore, severe head injuries will have worse signs. Some of them include:
- Seizures and convulsions
- Significant balance and coordination problems
- Inability to focus
- Memory loss
- Mood swings
- Cognitive deficits
- Spoken language disorders
- Written language disorders
- Loss of muscle control
- Change in sleeping patterns
- Nausea and vomiting
Suppose you notice any of these symptoms. Then, it’ll be best to see a doctor. This is because they’re signs of significant head wounds.
The symptoms of a pediatric brain injury may differ from those of adults. Firstly, kids may be too young to talk or adequately explain their feelings. Therefore, it’s vital to watch for the following signs of childhood head injuries carefully:
- Sleeping pattern changes
- Loss of interest in favorite activities and toys
- Persistent and uncontrolled crying
- Attention and focus problems
- Change in nursing and eating habits
- Abnormal breathing
Treatment Options for Head Injuries
It’s great to know that head injuries often respond to treatment in the United States. We mean that many brain injury victims can still perform normal activities of the brain and other body parts after some time. Notably, this is usually the case with mild to moderate head wounds.
We explain some of the treatment plans below.
Suppose your head injury isn’t severe. Then, taking over-the-counter medications may be sufficient for you. Pain meds can fix your headaches and other issues. So, you may need:
- Anticoagulants for blood clots
- Antidepressants for depression and mood swings
- Muscle relaxants for muscle spasms
- Anti-anxiety medication
- Stimulants to boost your alertness
Head and brain surgery can sometimes be necessary for severe head injuries. For example, doctors may need to retrieve foreign objects from the head. In addition, they may also have to:
- Drain clotted blood and other fluids in the brain
- Repair skull fractures
- Relieve pressure in the skull
Whatever the case, head surgery is pretty complicated and costly. So, having a personal injury lawyer working on your compensation claim while in the hospital is vital.
Finally, you may need therapy for specific issues such as speech and other defects. Typical examples of necessary treatments include:
- Occupational therapy
- Speech therapy
- Psychological and psychiatric counseling
- Cognitive and physical therapy
- Vocational counseling
Do I Need a Head Injury Lawyer in Houston?
You’ll most likely wonder whether you need to hire a head injury lawyer in Houston if you’ve sustained a brain injury. You don’t have to hire an attorney if you don’t want to, but below are the top three ways a brain injury lawyer can help you.
Get the Compensation You Deserve
Firstly, the lifetime cost of treating a TBI ranges from $85,000 to $3 million. It may be costlier if it’s a pediatric brain injury requiring lifetime care. Therefore, very few people will be able to afford these medical bills. Even if you can foot your medical expenses, paying for the consequences of the negligent party’s actions is unfair.
An experienced lawyer can help you calculate the damages you deserve. Moreover, you may also require future medical attention. A lawyer will calculate these future medical costs and include them in your claim.
Gathering and Understanding Critical Evidence
Winning a personal injury claim depends on the strength of your evidence. Fortunately, a brain injury lawyer in Houston can help you gather relevant pieces of evidence. This includes your medical records and other documents.
More importantly, your attorney can analyze the evidence and extract what will help your case. In addition, your lawyer may notice that it’s best to call an expert witness. Finally, storing the evidence safely until the settlement negotiations or trial is another vital role of an attorney.
Proper Diagnosis and Treatment
Finally, brain injury lawyers help TBI victims get high-quality medical care. This is because, with their years of experience, they know good doctors and treatment centers. Furthermore, physicians can be liable if they worsen your condition. So, the presence of your lawyer can ensure the doctors don’t act negligently.
Your lawyer would attempt to recover the following compensation from the at-fault party:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Loss of consortium
- Cost of medical equipment
- Cost of home improvement
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
How Long Do You Have to File a Head Injury Claim in Houston, Texas?
If you decide to file a head injury lawsuit, you must note some deadlines. These statutory periods govern when you must initiate legal action for compensation. The Texas Statute of Limitations defines when you can file a head injury claim.
Therefore, suppose you institute legal action outside this window. Then, you’ll lose your right to compensation. Furthermore, the court will strike out your case and bar your access to the courts. Working with an attorney is an excellent way to keep your claim within this statutory timeframe.
The Statute of Limitations prescribes two years for instituting cases that cause injury. The clock starts ticking from the injury date. However, the courts can extend this deadline in some specific circumstances.
Exceptions to the Head Injury Statute of Limitations
Fortunately, the Texas Statute of Limitations has some exceptions. We mean that there are cases where the courts can suspend the statutory restriction. Some of them are where:
- The injured victim is below 18 years of age. Here, your time only starts counting after your 18th birthday.
- The victim is under some legal disability, such as insanity.
- The defendant or fault party isn’t within the state. This is because you may not know the defendant’s address for the service of court papers.
Speak With a Head Injury Lawyer in Houston
Have you sustained a head injury in Houston, Texas? Was your relative injured, or your case involves childhood head injuries? Whatever the case, you’re most likely struggling with the heavy medical bills you must pay to treat your wounds.
So, if another party is responsible for the head injury, it’ll be best to file a personal injury claim for financial compensation. However, pursuing compensation while treating your wounds will be challenging. What’s more? The legal process is long and technical. A head injury lawyer in Houston can help you figure out how much money you deserve for your injury and will help you through the claims process.
Call a head injury lawyer in Houston at McDonald Worley today. We offer free consultations, so there’s nothing to lose.