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Causes of Traumatic Brain Injury

Causes of Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs)

PhillyLaw is well-versed in representing individuals who have suffered traumatic brain injuries, aiding them in their pursuit of the financial compensation they rightfully deserve. Whether you have suffered a mild traumatic brain injury or a severe TBI, the experienced brain injury lawyers at PhillyLaw are here to help. Contact us for a free consultation to learn more about your rights to recover compensation for your or your loved one’s traumatic brain injury case.

Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) can arise from a variety of incidents, the most prevalent being falls.


Falls lead to traumatic brain injuries through direct impacts to the head or by jarring movements that cause the brain to collide with the inner walls of the skull. Such incidents can occur in everyday environments like homes, playgrounds, or workplaces. When an individual falls, the sudden halt of motion can create a violent shake or a direct collision, resulting in the brain tissue being bruised or damaged. This damage can disrupt normal brain functions, leading to temporary or permanent impairments. The severity of the injury largely depends on the force of the impact and the nature of the fall, with harder surfaces or greater heights typically resulting in more severe conditions. This risk is notably high among children and the elderly, where even a seemingly minor slip can lead to significant head injury.

Motor Vehicle Accidents

Another leading cause of TBIs is motor vehicle crashes. High-speed motor vehicle crashes can cause occupants to suffer from blunt force trauma to the head, either from striking a part of the vehicle’s interior or from the sheer force of rapid deceleration. These impacts can lead to both closed and open head injuries, varying widely in severity but often resulting in significant, life-altering consequences for the individual involved. PhillyLaw’s team of personal injury attorneys has extensive experience in handling cases involving traumatic brain injuries resulting from car, motorcycle, and truck accidents, striving to secure the compensation victims need for their recovery and rehabilitation.

Sports Injuries

In the realm of contact sports such as football, hockey, and boxing, athletes willingly place themselves in high-risk situations where collisions are not just possible but often an inherent part of the game. These collisions, whether between players or with objects like pucks, balls, or hard surfaces, can exert significant force on the skull and brain and cause head injuries. The rapid acceleration and deceleration of the head during impact can cause the brain to move violently within the skull, leading to bruising, tearing of brain tissue, and blood vessel damage.

Repeated impacts, a common occurrence in many sports, can exacerbate the damage, leading to chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) — a severe, degenerative brain condition. Despite the wearing of protective gear such as helmets, the risk of TBIs cannot be entirely eliminated due to the nature and intensity of the impacts involved.

Violent Acts

Violent assaults, including gunshot wounds to the head, shakings in infants (often referred to as shaken baby syndrome), and other forms of domestic violence, are tragic sources of traumatic brain injuries.

Explosive Blasts

Explosive blasts and military combat are significant causes of TBIs among military personnel. Each of these situations underscores the importance of safety measures and protective equipment in mitigating the risk of brain injuries.

Types of Traumatic Brain Injury

Head injuries known as traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are categorized based on severity and the nature of the injury, ranging from mild TBI to severe traumatic brain injury.


A concussion is the most common type of traumatic brain injury (TBI) and usually a mild traumatic brain injury, often resulting from a blow to the head that causes the brain to move rapidly back and forth. This impact can lead to temporary loss of normal brain function.


A contusion is a closed head injury and refers to bruising of the brain tissue, usually caused by a direct impact to the head. A contusion can be moderate or severe TBI, and large contusions may require surgical removal.

Diffuse Axonal Injury

Diffuse axonal injury (DAI) occurs when the brain rapidly shifts inside the skull, causing tearing of brain tissue. This type of severe traumatic brain injury can lead to widespread brain damage and is often seen in vehicle accidents.

Penetrating TBI

A penetrating injury or open head injury happens when an object, such as a bullet or shrapnel, enters the brain, causing a direct pathway of damage. A penetrating injury is a severe TBI and often leads to severe outcomes and requires immediate medical attention.

Skull Fractures

Skull fractures occur when the bone of the skull cracks or breaks. Depending on the impact’s severity, these may range from simple, hairline fractures to complex fractures that involve splintering, depression, or tearing of the membrane covering the brain. Skull fractures can significantly compound the severity of a traumatic brain injury due to potential brain tissue, blood vessel, and nerve damage. These injuries often require immediate medical intervention to prevent further severe TBI and are sometimes followed by surgery to repair the skull and ensure the safety of the underlying brain tissue.

Anoxic Brain Injury

Though not caused by a direct impact, an anoxic brain injury occurs when the brain does not receive enough oxygen, leading to cell death. Anoxic injuries can be secondary effects of traumatic brain injuries.

Death from Traumatic Brain Injury

Traumatic brain injuries can be fatal, with the severity of the injury playing a crucial role in the outcome. TBI-related deaths often result from severe injuries where the damage to the brain is extensive enough to render vital functions non-operational. These deaths can occur immediately following the incident that caused the traumatic brain injury or after a prolonged period of complications such as swelling, bleeding, or infection in the brain. Motor vehicle accidents and violent acts are among the leading causes of traumatic brain injury-related fatalities. The loss of life due to a severe TBI underscores the critical need for preventive measures, timely and appropriate medical interventions, and awareness to mitigate the risks associated with a traumatic brain injury.

Understanding the various types of traumatic brain injuries highlights the complexity and seriousness of these conditions. It underscores the need for immediate medical attention and tailored treatment plans to address the specific needs of each affected individual.

Traumatic Brain Injury Symptoms

Traumatic brain injury symptoms can range widely depending on the severity of the injury, and they may appear immediately after the traumatic event or develop gradually over several hours to days. Symptoms of traumatic brain injury are typically grouped into four main categories: physical, cognitive, sensory, and emotional or behavioral.

Physical Symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injury

  • Headaches that can be persistent or worsening
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fatigue or drowsiness
  • Problems with speech
  • Difficulty sleeping or sleeping more than usual
  • Dizziness or loss of balance

Cognitive Symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injury

  • Memory or concentration problems
  • Mood changes or swings
  • Confusion about events
  • Feeling disoriented or getting lost easily
  • Difficulty organizing thoughts or actions
  • Severely altered consciousness

Sensory Symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injury

  • Blurred vision or double vision
  • Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
  • Changes in the ability to smell
  • Sensitivity to light or sound
  • A bad taste in the mouth

Emotional or Behavioral Symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injury

  • Depression or anxiety
  • Agitation, including aggression or combativeness
  • Impulsivity or acting without regard for consequences
  • Changes in personality or social inappropriateness
  • Apathy or lack of interest in usual activities

Recognizing these symptoms early and seeking professional medical care is crucial for managing the effects of a traumatic brain injury and facilitating recovery. Some symptoms can be immediate, while others may develop or become more apparent over time, highlighting the importance of careful monitoring following any head injury.

Diagnosis of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

The diagnosis of traumatic brain injury (TBI) involves a multifaceted approach that combines clinical evaluations, patient history, and a variety of diagnostic tools. Initially, in either a moderate or severe TBI, a healthcare provider will conduct a thorough physical examination and assess the patient’s neurological status using tools like the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) to determine the severity of the head injury. The GCS measures eye, verbal, and motor responses, yielding a score that helps guide treatment decisions for a traumatic brain injury.

Imaging Tests for Traumatic Brain Injury

  • Computed Tomography (CT) Scan: This is often the first imaging test performed in cases of suspected traumatic brain injury. A CT scan can quickly provide detailed images of the brain, revealing fractures, bleeding, bruising, and other signs of injury, including mild traumatic brain injury (TBI).
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): An MRI provides more detailed images than a CT scan and is particularly useful in identifying diffuse axonal injuries, small contusions, and other subtle brain injuries.

Additional Tests for Traumatic Brain Injury

  • Electroencephalogram (EEG): Though not routinely used in the initial diagnosis of traumatic brain injury, an EEG can monitor the electrical activity of the brain and detect abnormalities that might suggest seizures, which can after a severe TBI.
  • Neuropsychological Assessment: This involves a series of tests that evaluate cognitive functions such as memory, attention, problem-solving, and language skills. It helps to identify the impact of the traumatic brain injury on cognitive and emotional functioning and can help identify neurological disorders, ultimately guiding rehabilitation strategies.

The use of patient history, including details about the incident and symptoms experienced since the traumatic brain injury, coupled with the results of physical exams and diagnostic tests, provides a comprehensive overview that healthcare providers use to diagnose TBIs. This multifaceted diagnostic process is critical in creating an effective treatment plan tailored to the individual’s specific needs, aiming at the best possible recovery and rehabilitation outcomes for the traumatic brain injury.

PhillyLaw is Committed to Helping Victims of Traumatic Brain Injuries Seek Financial Compensation

PhillyLaw is dedicated to assisting victims of traumatic brain injuries in their pursuit of justice and financial compensation. Our experienced legal team understands the profound impact a moderate or severe TBI can have on an individual’s life and the lives of their family members. Navigating the complex legal system while recovering from such a significant traumatic brain injury can be overwhelming. Our traumatic brain injury lawyers are committed to providing compassionate, comprehensive legal support, aimed at securing the compensation you deserve for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages resulting from the injury. With PhillyLaw by your side, you can focus on your recovery from your traumatic brain injury while we handle the legal aspects of your claim, fighting tirelessly to achieve the best possible outcome for you and your family. Contact us today for your free consultation.