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What is a brain injury?

New Mexico residents might not be aware that, each year, medical officials nationwide encounter some 1.7 million cases of traumatic brain injury. This type of trauma occurs when an individual's brain is subjected to an external force sufficient enough to impair at least one of its various functions. A traumatic brain injury is classified as either opened or closed based on whether the skull fractures. While both types can present critical complications, a closed brain injury can potentially lead to brain swelling and the formulation of blood clots, both of which are grave conditions.

The symptoms that accompany a traumatic brain injury are related to the area of the brain impacted by the external force. Symptoms may include but are not limited to headaches, nausea, vomiting, cognitive difficulties, imbalance, coma and numbness on one side of the body. Open trauma may result in tearing of the brain tissue and subsequent nerve destruction, with permanent brain damage.

Brain trauma affects one or more of the many functions attributed to the brain. This may directly lead to cognitive, emotional, behavioral and physical impairment. These adverse effects, in turn, may pose several other indirect issues. For example, cognitive and physical impairment may lead to unemployment and stress in relationships. The brain injury victim's need for specialized care may be expensive and burdensome on the victim's friends and loved ones. Despite their costs, physical rehabilitation, vocational therapy and training to live independently may help victims of traumatic brain injury to improve their individual condition.

In many cases, people who suffer a traumatic brain injury due to an accident caused by another party's negligence, seek the counsel and representation of a personal injury attorney. With the attorney's help, victims may obtain financial compensation for damages related to their injuries.

Source: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, 'NINDS Traumatic Brain Injury Information Page"

http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/tbi/tbi.htm

Source: Findlaw, "Brain Injury Overview", September 30, 2014

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