What Is Considered a Catastrophic Brain Injury?

Defining Catastrophic Brain Injuries

A catastrophic brain injury is a severe trauma to the brain that results in extensive damage. The most critical consequence of a catastrophic brain injury is permanent loss of most brain function.

Think of the brain as the control center for everything we do, from thinking and feeling to moving and speaking. A catastrophic brain injury disrupts this central function in a way that can't be fully repaired.

Recognizing the Symptoms of a Severe Brain Injury

The severity of these symptoms often requires comprehensive medical care and can alter a person's life dramatically. Below, we outline what some of the symptoms of catastrophic brain injuries can include:

  • Impaired consciousness. Signs of which include:
    • Being in a coma. An extended period of unconsciousness where a person cannot be awakened.
    • Remaining in a vegetative state. A state of wakefulness without awareness of oneself or the environment. People in a vegetative state may open their eyes and show reflexes but lack consciousness.
  • Physical symptoms can include:
    • Seizure s.
    • Weakness or paralysis on one or both sides of the body.
    • Difficulty swallowing.
    • Loss of bladder or bowel control.
    • Abnormal breathing patterns.
  • Cognitive issues, which can include:
    • Severe memory problems, including amnesia (inability to form new memories) or forgetting large chunks of the past.
    • Difficulty with thinking, reasoning, and problem-solving.
    • Impaired judgment and decision-making skills.
    • Difficulty with language and communication, such as aphasia (inability to understand or speak language).
  • Sensory struggles like:
    • Vision problems, such as blindness, blurry vision, or double vision.
    • Hearing problems, such as deafness or tinnitus (ringing in the ears).
    • Loss of sensation or numbness in parts of the body.
  • Emotional and behavioral changes, such as:
    • Personality changes, such as becoming more aggressive or withdrawn.
    • Depression, anxiety, and other mental health problems.
    • Difficulty controlling emotions.
    • Changes in sleep patterns.

These symptoms reflect the profound and severe impact that catastrophic brain injuries have on an individual's function and quality of life. The loss of basic reflexes and responses underlines the critical nature of these injuries and the extensive care required to manage them.

Understanding these symptoms is crucial for early recognition and intervention, which can slightly improve outcomes in some cases. However, the road to recovery is often long and uncertain, highlighting the need for ongoing support and understanding for those affected.

Causes of Catastrophic Brain Injuries

Such injuries often result from events that cause significant trauma to the head or body, disrupting the normal function of the brain. These causes vary widely, encompassing both accidental and intentional incidents, each capable of inflicting severe damage to the brain's structure and functionality.

Common causes of catastrophic brain injuries include:

  • Falls. Trips and falls can happen at home, work, or in public places, affecting all age groups but particularly dangerous for the elderly.
  • Motor vehicle crashes. Collisions involving cars, motorcycles, bicycles, and pedestrians are a significant source of severe head injuries.
  • Firearm-related incidents. Gunshot wounds to the head are among the most lethal causes of traumatic brain injuries.
  • Physical assaults. Blows to the head from physical assaults, including domestic violence and sports injuries, can lead to catastrophic outcomes.
  • Sports injuries. High-impact or extreme sports can result in severe head traumas, even with protective gear.
  • Blast injuries. Explosions in military or industrial settings can cause devastating brain injuries due to the shockwave passing through the brain.
  • Being struck by or against an object. This includes incidents where the head hits an object, or an object hits the head, common in workplaces and during recreational activities.

Consult with Our Attorneys

JD Haas & Associates PLLC serves clients in Bloomington, Minneapolis, St. Paul, and beyond. If you or a loved one sustain a catastrophic brain injury due to someone else’s recklessness or negligence, our team can help with your case in the following ways:

  • Conduct a meticulous investigation of the accident to establish liability.
  • Collect and preserve evidence, such as police reports, medical records, witness statements, and accident scene photos.
  • Consult with medical staff to understand the full extent of the injury and future medical needs.
  • Negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf to obtain the maximum compensation you deserve.
  • Understand the tactics insurance companies use and know how to counter them.
  • Present a compelling case that justifies the full value of your claim.
  • Represent you in court if your case goes to trial.
  • Answer your questions and offer you peace of mind throughout the entirety of the process.
  • Handle the case legalities while you prioritize your recovery.

Schedule an initial consultation today by calling (952) 234-2925.