What is a closed head injury?

man with head and neck injuries being treated after car accidentIn a closed-head injury, the skull has remained intact, but the brain has suffered trauma from a blow to the head or as a result of the brain crashing against the skull. Contact sports, falls, and car accidents are the most common causes of this type of brain injury, with effects ranging from a concussion to permanent or even fatal brain damage.

Complications of a Closed Head Injury

Although the skull may remain intact, there can still be severe damage to the brain—and the victim may not show any immediate symptoms of the trauma until hours or days after the injury occurs. The most common symptoms include dizziness, light sensitivity, headaches, vision changes, difficulty concentrating, and sudden behavior changes.

A closed head injury could lead to dangerous conditions such as:

  • Brain bleeding. Head trauma can cause the brain to bleed inside the skull, causing conditions such as blood pooling (hematoma) or uncontrolled bleeding (hemorrhage). Both of these conditions are life-threatening emergencies that can be fatal if not treated quickly.
  • Brain swelling. A blow to the head can cause the brain to swell, increasing the pressure inside the skull and cutting off the flow of oxygen to the brain. If the pressure is not relieved, the victim could suffer permanent effects or even death.
  • Eye trauma. Swelling in the brain can compress the optic nerves or even press the eyes outward from their sockets, resulting in extreme pain and impaired vision. Doctors may attempt to relieve the pressure using diuretics, anti-seizure medications, or by opening a hole in the skull to give the brain tissue room to expand during healing.
  • Coma. If the brain has sustained severe damage, it may respond by shutting down into a prolonged state of unconsciousness in order to heal itself. A coma can help avoid permanent brain damage and preserve higher brain function, but there is no way to predict the patient’s prognosis until he or she is revived.

Treatments for a closed head injury can vary as widely as the injuries themselves, with patients having to endure prolonged time off work to rest, surgical interventions, and long-term rehabilitation. If someone in your family has suffered a severe head injury, our attorneys can listen to the details of your case and advise you on your rights—and we do not collect anything from you until after your case is won. Simply fill out the short contact form on this page or request a free copy of our book, The 10 Worst Mistakes You Can Make With Your Tennessee Injury Case.