There are many causes of brain injury. Acquired brain injury is a term which covers all situations in which brain injury has occurred since birth and includes injury from trauma/injury, as well as tumour, stroke, haemorrhage and encephalitis, as examples.
This post deals with injury caused by accidents, sometimes called traumatic brain injury or just head injury. You might think the trauma has to be significant, but experience shows what looks like a minor event can cause an injury.
Brain injury is first caused by outside force, but then complications can follow, such as damage caused by lack of oxygen, rising pressure and swelling in the brain.
The effects are described at different levels of severity using mild, moderate and severe. We find the mild injuries most difficult as the problem is not always spotted early. Medical staff tend to deal with the physical injury, but do not spot the acquired brain injury. A minor injury (15 minutes unconscious or 1 hour post trauma memory loss), can mean symptoms including nausea, headaches, dizziness, impaired concentration, memory problems, extreme tiredness, intolerance to light and noise and can lead to anxiety and depression. Not minor problems at all. Help and support is necessary, but of course the problem has to be spotted. Most minor injuries will have recovered within 4 to 6 months.
A moderate injury (up to 6 hours unconscious or up to 24 hours post trauma memory loss) has symptoms including tiredness, headaches and dizziness. Add to these difficulties with thinking, attention, memory planning, organising, concentration and word-finding problems. These symptoms are accompanied by understandable worry and anxiety. If the problem is spotted early and the likely effects explained, the path of the injured person can be smoothed. Without that warning everyday life can be very difficult. Overall recovery is likely in most cases but may take up to 9 months.
You will appreciate your solicitor must have an understanding and experience of the effects of such an injury. Without that how are we to work together?
You will see from the list below, there are organisations whose focus is on children. The treatment of head injuries has a divide based on age. Paediatric departments tend to lose interest beyond the age of sixteen and the adult services may not be ready to provide the support. There are educational needs which may have to be pursued vigorously if the best outcome is to be achieved. A child is represented through their parents, but as before, an acute awareness of the needs of such an injured child is necessary if the compensation process is to help.
There are some very informative sites of organisations whose main interest is head injury so do learn more at:
- The Brain and Spine Foundation
- Brain Injury Rehabilitation Trust
- Child Brain Injury Trust
- The Children’s Trust
- Ataxia UK
- The United Kingdon Acquired Brain Injury Forum
- Brain and Spinal Injury Centre