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What Is a Catastrophic Brain Injury?

Traumatic brain injuries or TBI are arguably the most problematic consequence of an accident. Even the most minor of concussions can produce debilitating symptoms and possible problems further down the road. Of all these injuries, catastrophic brain injuries are the most devastating and life-altering. But exactly what is a catastrophic brain injury?

Below, we review catastrophic brain injuries, their symptoms, and recovery outlook. If someone you love has sustained a catastrophic brain injury due to someone else’s negligence, contact the Huntington Beach Personal Injury Attorneys at ElDabe Ritter to learn about your legal rights.


Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke defines a traumatic brain injury as severe trauma to the head caused by a forceful blow or an object piercing the skull. A catastrophic brain injury is the most severe form of TBI that interferes with normal brain function and can cause permanent disability or even death.

Traumatic brain injuries are responsible for a significant number of disability cases and deaths in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), emergency room visits related to these injuries rose by 53 percent from 2006 to 2014.


Types of Traumatic Brain Injury

Primary brain injuries produce immediate symptoms, while secondary injury outcomes tend to occur gradually over hours, days, or weeks after the accident. Besides this classification, brain injuries can also be categorized into:

  • Penetrating or open TBI – Happens when a sharp object pierces the skull and enters the brain.
  • Non-penetrating or blunt TBI – Occurs when trauma to the head is strong enough to move the brain in the skull.

Both penetrating and non-penetrating brain injuries can occur during a car accident, sometimes simultaneously. The combination can be fatal.


Symptoms of Brain Injury

Catastrophic brain injury symptoms tend to differ from minor brain damage in more than severity. The following symptoms should be a cause for worry:

  • Convulsions and seizures
  • Loss of coordination
  • Slurred speech
  • Severe confusion
  • Loss of consciousness that lasts a few minutes or hours
  • Worsening or repeated headaches
  • Continuous vomiting or nausea
  • Inability to wake from sleep


Recovery from a Catastrophic Brain Injury

Recovery from a catastrophic brain injury is sometimes possible, but it may take a long time and usually require rehabilitation. That said, it may be weeks or months before a doctor can even say if a patient will recover. Some of the stages of brain injury include:

  • Coma – Where the patient is unconscious and does not respond to stimuli
  • Vegetative states – The patient is unaware of their surroundings but may be conscious and have reflex responses.
  • Minimal consciousness – The patient is in an altered state of consciousness but is aware of themselves and the environment.
  • Brain death – There is no measurable brain activity in the brain stem or brain.

Patients will usually go through the first three stages at different rates. When a patient reaches brain death, there is no chance for recovery.


Consult a Huntington Beach Personal Injury Attorney

Now that we have answered the question, what is a catastrophic brain injury, you have all the information you need to learn about pursuing compensation for your losses. You will need the legal guidance and representation of a personal injury attorney.

The Huntington Beach Personal Injury Attorneys at ElDabe Ritter are concerned about protecting your right to compensation. We will work closely with different experts to determine the value of your losses, including any long-term treatment needs.

Please contact us at 888-540-0325 to schedule a consultation today.