Brain and Head Injury Compensation

Head and brain injury compensation claims can cause anything from a headache and dizziness to irreversible cognitive damage, or even death. Often the most serious of injuries can have relatively mild initial symptoms and a bump that may at first appear to be innocuous can lead to serious life-altering consequences if the correct medical treatment is not sought immediately.

According to The National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE), a head injury is defined as

Any trauma to the head, other than shallow injuries on the surface of the face.

There are a number of other important facts you need to know about accidents involving head injuries - that could even safe your life one day.

 

What is a head injury?

The term "head injury" refers to any accident that causes damage to the scalp, skull or brain. It can range from a minor cut or scratch, to life-threatening conditions such as a haemorrhage.

What are the symptoms of a serious head injury?

The most serious head injuries are often caused by damage to the delicate structures inside the skull, such as the brain and its related tissues. Listed below are a number of symptoms that are common when a serious head injury has occurred.

  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Double or blurred vision
  • Difficulty speaking, such as slurring words
  • Confusion
  • Drowsiness
  • Excretion of blood of clear fluids from the ears or nose

Will these symptoms always appear in the immediate aftermath of a head injury?

No. While symptoms will often develop within minutes, it is also very common for symptoms to develop hours or days later. Should you experience any of the above listed symptoms, at any point, it is essential that you seek immediate medical attention.

Remember - if an injury is not treated the risk of permanent damage greatly increases. Symptoms must always be taken seriously, no matter how trivial they may first appear.

What about brain damage? How does it occur?

Brain damage is usually the result of a severe impact injury to the head. It is caused by tearing and bruising to the brain surface as it bumps against the skull, and blood vessels and nerves can rip. Such injuries can cause a build up of fluid in the head, which, in turn, will put pressure on the brain and can cause brain damage.

It is also important to remember that brain injuries can occur due to a wide range of conditions. These include:

  • Illnesses
  • Injuries
  • Adverse effects of medical treatment
  • Hypoxia (shortage of oxygen)
  • Poisoning such as alcohol and heavy metal poisoning (eg mercury)
  • Infection
  • Neurological illness
  • Chemotherapy
  • Aneurysms

Is it advisable to get an x-ray even if I feel fine?

Yes. An accident involving impact to the head can cause a fracture of the skull, which is an injury that can be relatively symptomless and will only show up under x-ray. Therefore it is advisable that an x-ray is taken for anything more than a mild injury.

If I have suffered a head injury, what sort of treatment can I expect?

Every year in Britain more than one million people visit A&E departments with a head injury, while 135,000 of those visitors have sustained injuries serious enough for them to be hospitalised.

Treatment of head injuries can be varied, and may include:

  • Observation
  • First aid, including stitching of wound
  • Medication, including painkillers and antibiotics
  • For urgent cases, surgery to decompress the brain or remove blood clots is also required. It is also often necessary to repair damaged tissues or to stop bleeding.

What is the most common cause of severe head injuries and how can they be prevented?

Accidents on the UK's road are by far the most common cause of severe head injuries. However, injuries suffered as a result of falls, assault and accidents either at home or at work are also very common.

The risk of accidents can be greatly reduced by being aware of potential dangers, and taking protective measures such as wearing headgear when on bicycles or playing high-impact contact sports.

Some facts and figures about head injuries

Below are some of the key findings of a recent study of head injuries by NICE.

The report found that:

  • Of all hospital admissions surveyed, 75 per cent were male admission and 33% were children under the age of 15
  • 70-88 per cent of all people that suffer a head injury are male
  • 10-19 per cent are aged 65 or over
  • Falls and assaults are the most common cause of minor head injury (22-43 per cent and 30-50 per cent respectively)
  • Road traffic accidents account for 25 per cent of all minor head injuries, but are the leading cause of moderate to severe head injuries
  • Alcohol may be involved in up to 65 per cent of all adult head injuries reported

Please contact one of our experienced head and brain injury consultants to discuss your compensation claim.

Source: NICE clinical guideline for head injury

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