What Is Secondary Brain Injury?

Firm News | August 3, 2021

Understanding Secondary Brain Injuries

Brain injuries can have devastating effects on a victim. However, not all brain injuries are exactly alike. When a person sustains a bump or blow to the head or experiences oxygen deprivation, the signs and symptoms of a brain injury may not occur right away. In fact, secondary brain injuries involve changes that happen over a period of time, sometimes hours or days after an initial injury occurs. Here, our brain injury lawyers want to properly define secondary brain injuries and talk about the signs and symptoms that victims need to be aware of with these injuries.

The Difference Between A Secondary Brain Injury And A Primary Brain Injury

Primary brain injuries occur as a direct result of trauma to the brain. The damage that a person experiences immediately following head trauma is what most people associated with brain injuries. Primary brain injuries can be incredibly dangerous, and they can lead to major complications or even death. However, that is not always the case.

When a person sustains the blow to the head, they may experience an initial onset of pain that then subsides. Some people may feel no pain at all. However, this can be deceptive. It is not uncommon for a person who sustains a bump or blow to the head to think they have not been seriously injured and decide not to seek medical treatment.

Unfortunately, secondary brain injury symptoms often do not appear until hours after the initial injury. There are various types of secondary brain injuries that can occur that lead to significant and long-lasting complications for a victim. The type of secondary brain injury a person suffers from depends on the severity of the initial injury, how quickly a person receives medical care, and the effectiveness of the treatment.

Some of the most common types of secondary brain injuries include:

  • Brain swelling leading to increased pressure inside the skull
  • Lack of oxygen to the brain, causing brain damage
  • Chemical changes in the brain that can kill brain cells
  • Bleeding between the skull and the brain
  • Increased fluid buildup inside the skull
  • Low blood pressure
  • Insufficient blood flow to the head
  • Infections inside the skull

Symptoms Of A Secondary Brain Injury

It is important to point out that individuals who sustain a blow to the head should not wait until they start to develop symptoms before seeking medical care. It could be too late at that point. However, you do need to be aware of the most common symptoms that can develop that could indicate that a secondary brain injury is occurring:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Loss of coordination
  • Confusion
  • Agitation or other sudden behavioral changes
  • Any fluid draining from the nose or ears
  • Seizures
  • Vomiting or nausea
  • General fatigue
  • Persistent headache
  • Pupil dilation
  • Slurred speech
  • Numbness or weakness in the extremities

If you or a loved one begin experiencing any of these symptoms, you need to call 911 and get to the hospital as quickly as possible. Early medical intervention for a brain injury is absolutely crucial when it comes to preventing long-term or permanent brain damage. In the event your injury was caused by the careless or negligent actions of someone else, you need to make sure that you receive medical care because this is a crucial part of filing an insurance claim or taking the case to a personal injury jury.

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