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Head Injury: Types, Causes, and Symptoms

A head injury is any injury that results in trauma to the scalp, skull, or brain. Head injuries range from mild to severe and can result from a fall, a bump, blow, or jolt to the head from a car accident, physical assault, or sports injury. Even a seemingly minor head bump can be serious. Head injuries are a common cause of death and disability in adults and children, with 69,473 deaths in 2121 attributed to traumatic brain injuries.

Types of Head Injuries

There are several types of head injuries, ranging from mild to severe.


A concussion is caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head. It causes a brief change in mental status or consciousness resulting in confusion, amnesia, or dizziness. Most concussions are mild and temporary, although symptoms may last for days, weeks, or longer. Repeated concussions can result in long-lasting problems. People that play contact sports in California are more at risk of concussions.

Skull Fracture

A skull fracture is a break/crack in one of the skull’s bones. There are several types of skull fractures:

  • Diastatic skull fractures feature the widening of the sutures, the joints between the bony plates that form the skull.
  • Depressed skull fractures occur when fragments of broken skull bone press into the tissue of the brain. They require surgery to access and treat the injured brain tissue.
  • Linear skull fractures are breaks in the skull bone resembling a thin line. They may be minor and require no treatment.


A contusion is a bruise on the surface of the brain resulting from bleeding underneath the skull. It is often caused by a direct impact to the head and can result in coma or death if severe.

Diffuse Axonal Injury

Diffuse axonal injury involves widespread injury to axons, the fibers that allow neurons to transmit signals between different areas of the brain. This type of injury occurs when the brain shifts back and forth inside the skull, tearing and damaging axons. It typically results from violent shaking of the brain, which can happen in a serious car accident. A brain injury lawyer in California from Karns & Karns Personal Injury and Accident Attorneys can advise you about compensation if you have suffered this type of injury in a car accident or from playing sports.


A hematoma is a collection of blood that forms outside of blood vessels. There are several types of hematomas that can develop after a head injury:

  • Epidural hematomas develop between the tough outer membrane covering the brain (dura mater) and the skull. They can put dangerous pressure on the brain.
  • Subdural hematomas develop between the dura mater and the surface of the brain. They are often caused by tears in veins stretching from the brain’s surface.
  • Intracerebral hematomas develop between the brain’s gray and white matter. Blood collects inside the brain tissue itself.

Causes of Head Injuries

There are many possible causes and events that can result in head trauma:

  • Falls – Falling and hitting the head on a hard surface, such as the floor or ground, as well as falling down stairs. This is the most common cause of head injury.
  • Motor vehicle accidents – Collisions involving cars, motorcycles, bicycles, and pedestrians often cause head injuries.
  • Struck by or against an object – Being hit in the head by an object or hitting one’s head against something hard. For example, being hit in the head with a baseball or running into a wall.
  • Assault – Violent attacks such as hitting, kicking, or shaking cause impact and movement of the brain within the skull. Domestic violence often leads to head trauma.
  • Sports injuries – Contact sports such as football, boxing, hockey, rugby, and soccer can lead to head injuries. So can recreational activities like bicycling, skateboarding and horseback riding.
  • Explosions – The pressure waves and impact from blasts and explosions can cause head injuries. This frequently occurs in wartime.
  • Abuse – Violently shaking or hitting a baby or young child’s head can lead to hematomas, diffuse axonal injuries, and severe trauma.

Symptoms of Head Injuries

Head injury symptoms can appear immediately after the trauma or develop slowly over hours or days. The most common symptoms include:

  • Loss of consciousness – This occurs immediately after the injury in about 10% of head injuries. It may last for seconds to minutes.
  • Confusion and disorientation – Many head-injured patients experience confusion and an inability to focus or concentrate after the injury. Memory loss is also common.
  • Headache – Head pain is very common after a head injury and can worsen with rest, exertion, straining, coughing, or sneezing.
  • Dizziness – A feeling of lightheadedness and loss of balance often follows a head injury.
  • Nausea and vomiting – Nausea and vomiting are common right after a head injury and may persist for days or weeks.
  • Sensitivity to light and noise – Increased sensitivity to sensory stimuli is common after a concussion.
  • Delayed neurological symptoms – Symptoms like headache, memory problems, concentration difficulty, and dizziness may appear hours or days after the initial injury.
  • Vision problems – Blurred vision, double vision, and inability to focus the eyes can follow head trauma.

The effects of head injuries range from mild to severe disability and death. Seek emergency care for any serious head injury with symptoms like loss of consciousness, seizures, repeated vomiting, or worsening symptoms. Swift treatment is essential for the best outcome.

Work with a TBI Lawyer

If you suffer a traumatic brain injury (TBI) due to another’s negligence, working with an experienced personal injury accident lawyer who understands TBI cases, such as one of the team from Karns & Karns Personal Injury and Accident Attorneys in California, can help you seek compensation for damages.

A dedicated TBI attorney from Karns & Karns Personal Injury and Accident Attorneys, a personal injury law firm understands these complex injuries and gathers evidence to build the strongest case possible. We will investigate factors like accident details, medical reports, and financial losses stemming from your injury. A knowledgeable brain injury attorney California like us handles correspondence with insurance companies and legal proceedings. With our expertise guiding you, we aim to secure a favorable settlement or trial verdict.

Having a trusted TBI attorney like us on your side can alleviate stress during the legal process following a devastating brain injury. So, if you’re thinking, ‘What is my brain injury from an accident?’, contact Karns & Karns Personal Injury and Accident Attorneys today.