Can A Brain Injury Occur Without Loss of Consciousness?

Can A Brain Injury Occur Without Loss of Consciousness?

This a common question that we often get asked here at Dwyer Williams Cherkoss Personal Injury Attorneys. A client will come into our office and ask us: “Can a person sustain a brain injury without the loss of consciousness?”

While some medical professionals will tell you that you need a loss of consciousness for any significant level of brain injury to occur, we have seen evidence to the contrary.  Over the years through the many brain injury cases that we have covered, we have talked to doctors who strongly believe that you can obtain a significant brain injury without losing consciousness. With that said, let’s dive into this topic a little further to better understand how these brain injuries can occur.

How do brain injuries occur?

In most cases, it takes a direct strike to the head for a brain injury to occur. While medications and high fevers are other ways that brain injuries can occur, a direct blow to the head is the most common occurrence.  Another type of brain injury that we see often is a coup-contrecoup injury.

Here’s an easy way to break down a coup-contrecoup injury: think of the brain like a bowl of jelly. If you shake the bowl from side to side, you will see that jelly shake with the bowl from side to side as well. The brain essentially does the same thing when an accident takes place. Let’s say you are hit from behind in your car. When your head goes back and then whips forward, your brain is actually sloshing around in your skull. That sloshing action causes pressure as it reaches the terminal end of each direction and presses up against the inside of the skull. That pressure can cause neurological damage, even if it’s just microscopic. This can cause interference with the neuro-response of your brain, which can lead a person to have many brain-related deficiencies.

Imaging and various testing verify the injury type

MRI and CT scans are two of the main imaging tests that will help indicate if a brain injury took place. We have seen many cases where the person did not lose consciousness, yet the image results show a massive brain bleed in the head. This is often the case when there was a direct blow to the head.

In addition to the imaging tests, there are other testing types that will validate brain injuries. Testing such as pupil response, hearing response, and even taste response are thoroughly analyzed to see if a brain injury occurred. Often times, there are other observable changes that medical professionals will measure and observe over time; these include personality changes, cognitive changes and changes in fatigue. It is a combination of all of these test results that will help verify the level of a brain injury.  

The proper treatment is ESSENTIAL

As you can see, the answer to the title of this article is a resounding YES. Yes, a brain injury can occur without the loss of consciousness. In fact, brain injuries occur fairly frequently even when a person doesn’t lose consciousness. For that reason, a potential brain injury needs to be taken very seriously to ensure that the person is receiving the proper treatment — no matter how the injury occurred! The person’s state of consciousness during an accident should not affect the type of treatment that a person receives when it comes to a brain injury.

If you or anyone you know sustained a brain injury here in the state of Oregon, contact us today at Dwyer Williams Cherkoss Accident Injury Attorneys for a free case evaluation. You can also reach us directly at: 1-800-285-8678. With over 100 years of combined experience, our team of highly skilled personal injury attorneys will work hard to ensure that you receive the justice that you deserve!

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