Millions of people attend hospital each year as a result of brain injury and almost half of these injuries are caused by road traffic accidents. Cyclists are also at risk, particularly those who don’t wear a helmet.
Brain injury occurs when a bump, jolt or penetrating injury to the head causes the brain to move within the skull or for the skull itself to break. Minor brain injuries can result in a brief loss of consciousness and most individuals will make a full recovery.
Moderate to severe brain injuries often result in a prolonged loss of consciousness and can lead to long lasting physical and psychological problems. The most serious injuries can lead to permanent brain damage or death. Many of these individuals will not work again and will require full time care for the remainder of their lives.
Many people who sustain brain injuries due to accidents or medical negligence might like to investigate brain injury compensation claims. Being successful with your claim could mean you have more money to pay for additional care and rehabilitation.
Common problems associated with brain injury
Brain injury is widely thought of as a ‘hidden disability’ because the problems associated with it are not always obvious. Brain injury doesn’t just affect the individual; it can put the entire family unit under strain. Loved ones may suddenly find themselves having to take on the role of carer.
Receiving a brain injury can trigger a wide range of psychological and physical problems. Some of the more common issues include forgetfulness, personality changes, behavioural problems, inability to perform simple tasks, reduced mobility, sleep disturbances and speech problems.
What to do if someone sustains a head injury
In the case of a head injury, always seek medical advice. Even a minor brain injury can cause long lasting damage. Minor head injuries with no loss of consciousness can usually be treated at the minor injuries unit. Moderate to severe head injuries require immediate treatment. Dial 999 if the patient is unconscious, losing blood or other fluids, vomiting or exhibiting signs of confusion, drowsiness or slurred speech.
If the person has been involved in a road accident, don’t move them from the vehicle unless it’s vital to do so. Only remove a crash helmet if it is essential to clear their airways. Dial 999 and keep the injured person warm and offer reassurance. If the person is unconscious you should check their breathing and if necessary offer mouth to mouth resuscitation until the emergency services arrive. You may need to apply pressure on a head wound to slow down bleeding, although be aware that the patient’s skull may be broken.
Brain injuries are common and can occur in people of all ages, in the home, at school, while playing sports or during a road accident. Although some brain injuries are extremely serious and require prompt medical assistance, many are minor and the patient will make a full recovery. The brain is protected by the skull, which is designed to withstand minor bumps and knocks. Children are forever bumping their heads, without sustaining lasting damage.
Helen Smith is a solicitor and an expert on brain injury compensation claims. In her spare time she writes on the subject for various blogs and publications.