One of the most common brain injuries is a concussion. Each year, millions of people sustain concussions in serious personal injury accidents, including but not limited to motor vehicle crashes, slip and falls, construction accidents, falls from height, and scaffold accidents. But what is a concussion? And how do you know if you have one?
To help better answer these questions and shine a spotlight on traumatic brain injuries, health officials created National Concussion Awareness Day, which takes place on Sept. 16, 2022. This day-long event was created "to start a conversation to increase concussion awareness nationally, raise funds for brain injury charitable organizations, and show support for those suffering."
What is a concussion?
A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI). Because other types of brain injuries can be more serious, concussions are sometimes referred to as mild TBIs (mTBI). But don't let the name fool you. There's usually nothing mild or ordinary about a concussion.
When you sustain a concussion, your brain suffers damage than can change you physically, mentally, and cognitively, the word used for how a brain functions. Concussions often temporarily change how your brain works. But in certain circumstances, a concussion can leave you with permanent brain damage.
What causes a concussion?
Concussions often occur in two ways: a direct blow to the head or if the brain is violently shaken and bounces off the inside of the skull. In terms of accidents that cause concussions, many people sustain concussions when they slip and fall and hit their heads.
In fact, 48 percent of people who sustain a head injury and require emergency room medical care injured their head in a slip and fall accident, according to the Concussion Legacy Foundation.
According to the Concussion Legacy Foundation, being struck by an object – such as falling building materials on a New York City construction site – accounts for 17 percent of all concussions.
How do I know if I have a concussion?
There are many common warning signs and symptoms of a concussion. If you sustain a blow to the head or suspect you have a concussion, see a doctor right away, especially if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Poor balance
- Frequent headaches
- Chronic neck pain
- Difficulty concentrating or thinking
- Feeling extremely tired
- Difficulty remembering common words
It's also important to understand that some concussion symptoms don't happen immediately. For example, if you sustained a head injury, you might not experience any of these symptoms for several hours or days after your injury. It's also worth mentioning that you don't need to lose consciousness or get "knocked out" to suffer a concussion or traumatic brain injury. In short, you can never be too careful with your health. As such, it's always in your interest to seek medical attention if you're experiencing concussion symptoms.
Types of concussions
Medical professionals categorize concussions into several different types, including:
- Grade 1 concussion – Sometimes referred to as a moderate concussion, grade 1 concussions involve no loss of consciousness and symptoms that last less than 15 minutes.
- Grade 2 concussion – A moderate concussion with symptoms that last longer than 15 minutes but that do not result in a loss of consciousness.
- Grade 3 concussion – A severe concussion that results in a loss of consciousness.
Doctors also sometimes classify concussions based on how a brain injury affects a person, such as:
- Cognitive concussion, which causes cognitive issues, including trouble concentrating or thinking clearly.
- Vestibular concussion, which interferes with a person's balance and center of gravity.
- Ocular concussion, which results in vision loss or vision-related problems.
- Cervical concussion, which results in medical issues and pain in the neck, back, and spinal cord.
- Anxiety-related concussion, which causes sudden mood changes, including depression.
Who's at risk?
While anyone can sustain a concussion, certain people are more at risk. In particular, teenagers and older adults are most at risk of sustaining a concussion or another type of traumatic brain injury.
Each year, teenagers sustain an estimated 2.5 million concussions. And of those teenagers, more than one million sustain two or more concussions in a single year, according to the Concussion Legacy Foundation.
Adults over 75 also frequently sustain concussions. This age group, particularly, has the highest hospitalization rate and the death rate for concussion-related injuries. Specifically, 32 percent of people hospitalized for a concussion are over 75, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). And 28 percent of people who die from a concussion are 75 years old.
When to contact a brain injury lawyer for help
You might think you don't need a brain injury attorney if you or a loved one sustained a concussion in an accident. But unfortunately, concussion claims can quickly become complicated legal cases because your brain injury threatens the insurance company's bottom line. As such, it's common for insurance adjusters to make unfair settlement offers.
At Keogh Crispi, P.C., Attorney Pat James Crispi can deal with the insurance company and aggressively advocate for the compensation you deserve.
For instance, in one case, our law firm secured $5 million for a security guard who suffered a cognitive disorder and impaired mobility from a traumatic brain injury after being knocked unconscious by a section of a two-component wall that fell and hit him.
To see how an experienced New York City brain injury attorney can help you, contact our law firm and schedule a free consultation. Our office is in Manhattan, and we proudly serve clients throughout New York.