A traumatic brain injury occurs when the head is struck, jarred, knocked, concussed and/or penetrated by an object, resulting in impaired brain function. Brain injuries may be primary or secondary:

  • Primary injury: occurs immediately from an impact to the head or from the brain striking the skull, or,
  • Secondary injury: not caused by the immediate impact; often delayed and subsequent to the original head injury.1

Brain injuries may be mild, moderate or severe:

Mild traumatic brain injuries may or may not result in a loss of consciousness. Symptoms often include confusion, disorientation, headache, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, dizziness, balance loss and sleep changes. As well, blurred vision, ringing in the ears and sensitivity to light may occur.2

Moderate to severe traumatic brain injuries are often characterized by the above symptoms as well as any or all of the following, which may occur within hours or days of the injury: loss of consciousness, persistent and worsening headaches, episodic vomiting or nausea, convulsions, seizures, pupil dilation, coordination loss, fluid draining, numbness in fingers and toes, slurred speech and coma.2

Head Injuries Contribute to Approximately Thirty-Percent of All Deaths in the United States

According to data provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), head injuries are a significant and common cause of death in the United States. The statistics are compelling:

  • 138 head injury deaths occur on a daily basis,
  • At least 50,000 deaths were associated with traumatic brain injury (TBI) in 2010,
  • “In 2010, about 2.5 million emergency department (ED) visits, hospitalizations, or deaths were associated with TBI – either alone or in combination with other injuries – in the United States.”

Common Causes of Head and Brain Injuries

The CDC categorizes brain injury causes in the following manner:

  • Falls – 40.5%
  • Unknown/other – 19.0%,
  • Struck by/against – 15.5%
  • Motor vehicle traffic – 14.3%
  • Assaults – 10%

Within these categories, head injuries are commonly caused by car, truck, motorcycle, pedestrian, bicycle and recreational vehicle accidents, aviation and public transportation accidents, boating and swimming accidents, slip, trip and fall accidents on private and public property, workplace accidents, sporting and athletic accidents, medical errors and more. Discuss your specific circumstances with a qualified personal injury and medical malpractice attorney, for you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.

Diagnosing and Treating Head Injuries

If a head injury occurs or is suspected, the injured party should immediately be taken to the closest hospital emergency room for diagnosis and treatment. A thorough diagnostic evaluation conducted in accordance with present medical protocols is mandatory. This may include, but certainly is not limited to, the following:

  • A complete medical history and physical exam
  • Neurological, neuropsychological assessment
  • Neurosurgical intervention
  • CT scan
  • PET scan
  • MRI, fMRI
  • DTI
  • X ray
  • Any and all other diagnostic measures

If your head injury was not diagnosed, was improperly diagnosed, or was improperly treated, you may be in a position to pursue compensation for your injuries, which may include past and future medical expenses, past and future lost income, pain and suffering, and much more.

Michels & Lew, California Head and Brain Injury Medical Malpractice and Personal Injury Attorneys

If you sustained a head injury as a result of the negligence of another, or if your head injury was improperly treated or diagnosed, it is advisable to discuss your case with a qualified and experienced personal injury and medical malpractice attorney immediately, for you may be able to pursue compensation for your injuries. We help injured victims and the families of deceased victims recover the compensation they deserve to help them become whole again.

For a complimentary consultation, please call Michels & Lew at 800.639.1400. Remember, there are no fees unless we recover money on your behalf through a settlement or court award.


  1. .Silver JM. McAllister TW, Yodofsky SC, eds. Textbook of Traumatic Brain Injury. Arlington, Va. American Psychiatric Publishing. 2005. Arlington, VA: 27-39.
  2. www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/traumatic-brain-injury/basics/symptoms/con-20029302
  3. www.cdc.gov/traumaticbraininjury/get_the_facts.html