A brain injury, even a mild one like a concussion, can affect every aspect of your health. Your brain controls your entire body. Brain damage can impact your ability to move, think, and regulate emotions.
As a result, a concussion injury can interfere with your ability to work, at least temporarily. It can cause pain and mental anguish. It can even change your personality.
Read on to learn about the causes and effects of a concussion injury, in addition to how you can seek compensation for a concussion caused by someone else’s negligence.
How Your Body Protects Your Brain
Your brain controls every organ and muscle in your body. The brain controls some body systems without any conscious thought. For example, your brain releases insulin automatically, based on your blood chemistry.
Other systems in your body require conscious control. Whether you drive a car or catch a baseball, your brain controls muscle movement.
Your body also receives and processes sensory information. This information tells the body about its environment so it can control your body’s response. When your skin feels hot, your brain reacts by activating your sweat glands.
The body has multiple layers of protection for your brain. The skull forms a hard shell to protect the brain from direct impacts. Three layers of membranes, called the meninges, surround the brain to protect it from microorganisms. And cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) flows around the brain, cushioning it.
The brain needs these layers of protection. Neurons inside the brain communicate with each other using both chemical and electrical signals. These neurons require a steady blood flow to live. Anything that disrupts them can cause malfunctions in the brain.
Causes of a Concussion Injury
A concussion happens when your body experiences powerful forces that cause your brain to rattle around in your skull. You do not need to suffer head trauma to develop a concussion. The whipping motion your head experiences in a car accident or other collision can produce a concussion, even if you didn’t bump your head.
A concussion differs from a brain contusion. A brain contusion happens when your brain hits the inside of your skull and bruises.
A concussion happens when your brain does not strike the skull. The pressure on your brain from the CSF stops your brain before it hits. But the pressure itself can damage or destroy brain cells. The loss of brain cells produces some of the effects of a concussion.
Your body responds to your injured brain the same way it responds to most injuries. The injured part swells to slow blood flow to the area. This reduces bleeding and traps bacteria in the wound.
But when your brain swells, the reduction in blood flow interferes with your brain’s function. With the neurons struggling for oxygen and suffering damage from the initial injury, you can develop a range of symptoms.
Concussion Injury Symptoms
A concussion can produce physical, cognitive, and emotional symptoms. Some common physical symptoms of a concussion include:
- Nausea or dizziness
- Ringing ears
- Blurry vision
- Slurred speech
Most concussion patients also experience cognitive symptoms, such as:
- Loss of consciousness
- Difficulty concentrating
- Brain fog
Emotional symptoms can also appear after a concussion. Some symptoms you might experience include:
- Emotional outbursts
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Some concussion patients and their families even report personality changes.
Ratings for Concussion Injuries
The severity of your concussion can help doctors predict how long your symptoms will last. One rating system used by doctors is called the Glasgow Coma Scale. This scale analyzes your responses in three areas to rate your concussion.
If you lose consciousness, even briefly, you have a severe concussion. If you only open your eyes in response to touch or sound, you have a moderate concussion. If you open your eyes spontaneously, you have a mild concussion.
If you can’t move after your accident, you have a severe concussion. If you can’t flex your muscles but you can relax them, you have a moderate concussion. If you can flex and relax your muscles, you have a mild concussion.
After a severe concussion, you can only make sounds or cannot speak at all. After a moderate concussion, you can form words, but they do not make sense. After a mild concussion, you can give an oriented response even if you seem confused.
Concussion Injury Recovery and Long-Term Effects
Concussion symptoms usually clear up within two months after the injury. In some cases of mild concussions, symptoms will clear up within a few weeks.
Occasionally, you will suffer long-term effects after a concussion. Post-concussion syndrome (PCS) happens when concussion symptoms last longer than two months. Doctors don’t know what causes PCS. But PCS appears more frequently in patients with PTSD, so doctors believe the two conditions might be related to each other.
Recovering Compensation for a Concussion Injury
To recover workers’ compensation for a concussion injury, you must have suffered a concussion in a job-related accident. Workers’ comp benefits get paid without respect to who caused the accident.
If your concussion was not job-related, you can still recover compensation if your accident resulted from someone else’s negligence. For example, if your concussion happened in a car accident, you need to show that another driver caused the accident by failing to exercise reasonable care.
If you can prove negligence, you can seek compensation for your economic and non-economic losses. Your economic losses include the financial impact of your concussion injury, such as your medical expenses and the income you lost while you were injured.
Your non-economic losses include the ways your injury affected your quality of life. Pain, suffering, disability, and a reduction in the enjoyment of life all represent non-economic losses.
Contact the Law Offices of Mathys & Schneid for Help
Even though most concussions last only two months, your symptoms could significantly disrupt your life. You might face large bills for treatment and therapy with no way to earn a living. To discuss your concussion injury and the compensation you can seek for it, contact the Law Offices of Mathys & Schneid online for a free consultation or call us at (630) 428-4040. Our Naperville personal injury lawyers are here to help.