Head injuries have both short and long-term effects. They can be caused by a number of different types of accidents, and they can be more debilitating than almost any other type of injury. As a serious type of head injury, blunt force head trauma can have an enormous impact on the victim’s life.
Below, we’ll examine the causes and effects of blunt force trauma to the head. For more information about legal steps to take after a traumatic brain injury, please contact the Chicago personal injury law firm of Thomas Law Offices.
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Defining Blunt Force Head Trauma
Blunt force head trauma is a type of non-penetrating traumatic brain injury (TBI). This type of head trauma occurs when the skull is struck or makes contact forcefully with a blunt (non-sharp) object or surface (like a concrete floor). Because the skull is not penetrated, there is no stabbing or piercing of the brain. You can think of blunt force trauma like a hammer to a thumb versus a penetrating injury like a nail being driven through.
A violent blow to the head can result in bruising, torn tissue, bleeding, blood vessel damage, and other serious physical effects on the brain.
Does Blunt Force Trauma Kill Instantly?
Depending on the severity of the blunt force head trauma, the victim may experience effects ranging from a mild, short-term headache to death.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Blunt Force Trauma to the Head?
Unfortunately, serious brain injuries are not uncommon in Chicago and across the country. Johns Hopkins Medicine has estimated that roughly 1.7 million people suffer brain injuries every year in the United States. The most common causes of blunt force head trauma include:
- Falls from heights and slip and fall accidents
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Criminal acts of violence
- Workplace injuries
- Sports injuries
Children, older and vulnerable adults, and unhelmeted athletes and riders are at an increased risk of serious injury in the event of an accident.
Falls are the most common cause of TBIs in the United States. Falls from scaffolding or ladders on a work site, falls among the elderly in nursing homes, slip and falls on hazardous premises, and falls from school playground equipment are only a few examples of the types of accidents that commonly cause blunt force head trauma in victims.
Motor Vehicle Accidents
Another leading cause of TBIs in the U.S., passenger car accidents, commercial truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, and pedestrian or bicyclist struck-by-car accidents, result in thousands of head injuries every year. Vehicle accidents don’t discriminate—victims of crash-related head injuries span all ages and demographics. Motorcyclists and bicyclists not wearing protective headgear at the time of the accident usually suffer the most adverse outcomes.
Acts of Physical Violence
Crimes like battery, aggravated assault, sexual assault, robbery, and attempted murder frequently involve blunt force trauma to the head. Sustaining a traumatic brain injury through forceful assault is a deeply scarring experience that can impact every part of a person’s life. Victims of violence may incur severe psychological injuries like PTSD along with any physical injuries suffered in the attack.
Roofers, emergency first responders, manufacturing professionals, loggers, and, most especially construction workers, are most vulnerable to head injuries based on their job duties. Falls from heights, vehicle accidents, explosions, heavy machinery failures, and other work-related accidents are very serious risks that many laborers in these industries face each time they clock in. CDC research shows that approximately one out of four (25%) occupational deaths in the construction industry result from TBIs.
A 2017 research study revealed that a staggering 99% of former National Football League (NFL) players studied in the research project exhibited signs of brain damage. American football is not the only sport in which players risk blunt force head trauma on a daily basis. Equestrian sports, cycling, basketball, baseball, soccer, rugby, ice hockey, field hockey, lacrosse, skateboarding, skiing and snowboarding, and other sports all put athletes at high risk of head injury.
What Are the Most Common Side Effects of Blunt Force Head Trauma?
Because the brain controls all manner of body functions, the effects of blunt force trauma to the head can be wide-ranging and far-reaching. A minor TBI is most commonly associated with headaches, nausea, fatigue, and other mild symptoms that disappear in a few days or weeks. Acute head trauma, on the other hand, may result in coma, brain death, fatality, or a permanent vegetative state.
The effects of blunt force head trauma can generally be divided into symptoms that are physical, cognitive or behavioral, and sensory.
- Chronic headaches or migraines
- Loss of balance and coordination
- Drowsiness and fatigue
- Nausea and vomiting
- Seizures or convulsions
- Dilated pupils
- Muscle weakness
- Numbness in the extremities
- Clear fluid draining from the nose or ears
- Body temperature and blood pressure fluctuations
Cognitive and Behavioral Effects
- Loss of consciousness
- Inability to wake up or stay awake
- Changes in sleep habits
- Confusion, memory loss, and difficulty concentrating
- Mood changes
- Unusually aggressive behaviors
- Slurred speech
- Sensitivity to light and sound
- Blurred vision
- Ringing in the ears
- Loss of smell
- Odd taste in the mouth
- Impaired hand-eye coordination
- Skin tingling
- Double vision or blind spots
- Inability to recognize common objects
The Effects of Blunt Force Head Trauma on Children
The “resilience” of young children is mentioned often when it comes to injuries, especially those sustained during play. While there is truth behind this mindset, a TBI suffered by a young child should never be brushed aside or taken lightly.
Many children—toddlers and infants in particular—don’t have the capability or vocabulary to verbalize what they’re experiencing. As a parent or caregiver, it’s your duty to be on the lookout for any symptoms that could indicate a child requires medical attention after a blunt force head injury. This might include:
- Inconsolable crying
- Unusually persistent irritability
- Changes in eating/nursing habits
- Inability to focus or pay attention
- Lack of interest in favorite activities
- Extreme drowsiness
Can I Sue Another Party for Blunt Force Head Trauma?
In Chicago, when another person’s or company’s negligence causes you to suffer personal injury, you have the legal right to seek justice under Illinois civil law. You will need to prove that the other party acted negligently, that you were injured as a result, and that the injury left you with damages like medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, and more.
In the case of a head injury, you may be able to pursue legal action against:
- A negligent driver
- A negligent commercial vehicle operator and/or their employer
- A manufacturing company responsible for a faulty product
- A business or property owner who did not provide adequate security measures
- A business or property owner who allowed dangerous conditions to exist on a property
- A school, daycare, camp, or other institution responsible for a child’s injuries
- A third-party company or contractor responsible for workplace injuries
- The perpetrator of a violent crime
- Other parties whose actions or omissions caused you to suffer preventable injuries
Get Legal Help After a Preventable Traumatic Head Injury
If you or a loved one suffered blunt force head trauma in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you have legal options. Our experienced personal injury attorneys are available to discuss your next steps.
We’ll start by scheduling a free consultation with a lawyer who specializes in cases like yours. Whether you or a loved one suffered a TBI in a workplace injury, car accident, motorcycle accident, or incident of nursing home abuse, Thomas Law Offices has the right legal advocate for you.
Don’t wait to learn how you can fulfill your legal rights. Illinois places a strict statute of limitations on all Chicago personal injury cases. Contact us today to move forward with your recovery.