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What are the degrees of traumatic brain injuries?

There are many people in Florida who have suffered traumatic brain injuries. A traumatic brain injury is defined by Florida law as a blow to the head or the brain that is caused by an external force, which results in an "altered state of consciousness or anatomic motor sensory, cognitive or behavioral deficits." After a person has suffered a traumatic brain injury, he or she may need a significant period of time to recover or may never fully recover at all.

According to the definition, the traumatic brain injury must be caused by an external force. The leading cause of brain injuries in adults in Florida is falls. The next leading cause is car accidents, followed by shootings and assaults. For minors, the leading cause of brain injuries is car accidents. Pedestrian accidents, such as a child being hit by a car, shootings and falls are the next leading causes of brain injuries for minors.

However, there are varying degrees of brain injuries. A mild brain injury is generally referred to as a concussion. These injuries generally result in an altered state of consciousness, which can last anywhere from a few seconds to 30 minutes. Loss of memory surrounding the actual impact is also common.

A moderate brain injury is one resulting in loss of consciousness that may persist for only a few minutes up to a few hours. These injuries also can result in the loss of memory for days or weeks after the injury. Both mild and moderate brain injuries can result in long-term consequences, as well.

A person who suffers a severe brain injury will remain in a coma for at least a few days and sometimes for much longer. The long-term problems that a person may encounter will vary according to many factors, which, in turn, determine the level of unconsciousness. These factors include if the victim is able to open his or her eyes, how well he or she can communicate and the degree of motor skills that he or she has.

Brain injuries, whether mild, moderate or severe, can have a significant impact on a person's life. As stated above, many times, these injuries are caused by accidents that sometimes occur as a result of the fault of others. This is only general information and not legal advice. If one suffers a traumatic brain injury caused by another person, attorneys may be able to guide one through the process of receiving compensation.

Source: Brain Injury Association of Florida, Inc., "Learning about traumatic brain injury", accessed on Nov. 3, 2014

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