Anatomy of a Head Injury
The deadliest injury in any accident is a head injury, mostly because the head itself is what stands between the world and the brain. Superficial head injuries bleed a lot, but they are not particularly dangerous. It is when the brain is involved that trouble starts. Most injuries that affect the brain due to accidents are called traumatic brain injuries.
The head is composed of a bony receptacle, namely the skull, and it is designed much like a helmet is. Some areas are thicker and some are more vulnerable. But while the bony protection is there to deflect the force of a blow to the head, violent movement can cause the brain to literally slide forcefully forward and back. This can lead to serious brain damage even while the skin and bones of the head remain intact, and there is no apparent injury. This is called a closed head injury, and it is the leading cause of death in very small children, the so-called “shaken baby” syndrome.
A skull fracture, on the other hand, is a more obvious head injury, and will certainly have some brain involvement. The severity of the injury is determined by the location, because some parts of the skull are thinner than others and breaks more easily. A skull fracture could be linear or a starburst, depending on how the force was applied. A starburst pattern normally indicates a blunt instrument or striking surface. A skull fracture could also be penetrating, meaning an object pushed through the bone and into the brain, such as in gunshot wounds, or depressed, meaning a part of the skull has caved in and is pressing into the brain.
Death is not necessarily the result for any of these types of head injury, but even when it appears to be superficial, such as a small laceration, care should be taken to ensure that the brain has not been involved. Some patients who seem perfectly all right collapse and die as they leave the hospital; others with penetrating head injury survive and even recover completely. If you have suffered a head injury as a result of the negligent actions of others, get medical attention immediately. As soon as possible afterwards consult with a personal injury lawyer to get compensation for your injuries.