Blunt force head trauma is the primary cause of traumatic brain injuries. The term is used when a blunt force causes trauma, but not penetration, to the head. The two most common causes of blunt force head trauma are falls and motor vehicle accidents, including motorcycles, bicycles, and pedestrians struck by vehicles. Work-related accidents also contribute to the alarming statistics about the frequency of traumatic brain injuries (TBI).

The majority of blunt force head trauma cases (approximately 80%) result in a mild TBI, but though mild, approximately 25% of these people can suffer from post-concussive syndrome. Post-concussive syndrome is an ongoing symptom of headache, difficulty concentrating, dizziness, and depression.

Preventing Blunt Force Head Injury

Though not all blunt force head injuries can be prevented, the lasting impact of severe injuries can be mediated by preventive safety measures. Wearing a seatbelt every time you ride in a vehicle is one of the simplest ways to reduce the chances of a brain injury.

Wearing an approved helmet while riding a bicycle or motorcycle, and wearing protective headgear in sports would also reduce the number of TBIs caused by blunt force trauma. Given that falls are the number one cause of blunt force traumatic brian injuries, fall prevention safety, especially for at-risk individuals, should always be taken seriously.

Concussions and Contusions

Blunt force trauma to the head results in one of two types of injuries. Violent shaking of the brain causes concussions, and contusions mean bleeding of the brain. Though a brain bleed can be catastrophic, there are instances when it is an issue that resolves on its own with little lasting damage.

Contrecoup injuries occur on the side of the brain opposite the side impacted. The two most common causes of these types of injuries are falls and automobile accidents. The most classic presentation is when the moving head strikes a stationary object.

Coup injuries occur when a moving object impacts a stationary head. Someone is hit in the head by a baseball, or flying debris, are just a couple of examples of how this type of injury can occur.

Classic evidence of both types of injuries is contusions, also known as intracerebral hemorrhage, occurring in a focal area of the brain. The prognosis depends on the person and the type and extent of the injury.  The full effects of a traumatic brain injury may not be known for some time, can often be long-lasting or permanent, and are notoriously difficult to determine how much recovery of function someone will have.

Blunt Force Head Trauma Symptoms and Injuries

A blunt force head trauma victim may show immediate symptoms, or the symptoms may develop more slowly over hours or days. Symptoms of a TBI include:

  • Confusion
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Convulsions
  • Partial paralysis involving only one area of the body
  • Personality changes
  • Slurred Speech
  • Blurred vision
  • Severe headaches
  • Vomiting
  • Diminished coordination
  • Coma

It is difficult, if not impossible, to predict the long-term effects of a TBI, how long they will last, or their severity. Speech and language problems, chronic headaches, changes in personality, taste and smell distortion and loss of vision can all be long-term. Bleeding into the brain or swelling of the brain increases the chances of long-term complications.

What Should I Do if I Suspect Someone Suffered a Blunt Force Head Trauma?

Be careful not to move the person, or allow them to move, unless they are directly in harm’s way. If they are unconscious, avoid shaking them in an attempt to help them regain consciousness as this could do further damage.  Immediate medical treatment is crucial to the outcome of head injuries, so call emergency medical services immediately. 

After an accident or injury, the victim may insist that they are fine. It is a common reaction after a head injury. However,  if they sustained a blunt force head injury, especially if they lost consciousness, even for a moment, seek medical care immediately.

Compensation for Blunt Force Head Trauma Injuries

A traumatic brain injury can have serious and extensive ramifications for a victim’s life, and given the various unknowns about the future, larger settlements are often more common. Medical bills are only the beginning of damages for a TBI. There is the initial treatment, but also any ongoing care that may be necessary. Recovery from a serious TBI usually involves rehabilitation, physical therapy, and a lifetime of unknown medical costs.

A blunt force head injury will often result in lost wages and the possibility that the person may never be able to return to work. Even if they eventually return to work, they may not have the same earning capacity that they had before the injury. If the injury was relatively minor, and the person missed a short period of work to recover, calculating these damages is simple. However, if there is a question about their capacity to return to work or to return to the same work, it becomes much more complicated.

Damages for pain and suffering are common after these types of injuries because physical, mental, and emotional pain and suffering are a part of traumatic brain injuries. How much is awarded for pain and suffering will vary depending on the case.

If you, or someone you care for, sustained a blunt force head injury in an accident, you should seek the advice of an experienced attorney as soon as possible. The attorney will help determine who is responsible for the injury and the best way to get the compensation you deserve.

Choose an Oklahoma accident attorney who has experience in brain injury cases, as they differ from other types of injuries. An attorney experienced with brain injury claims will know the extent of possible damages and fight to get what you deserve.