Blunt Force Head Trauma — Cause and Effect
Gregg Hollander | September 23, 2023 | Brain Injuries
Head injuries happen often. Traffic collisions, falls, and workplace accidents can produce a bump to the head or face. These injuries can fracture bones, damage soft tissues, and even injure your brain.
The result of head trauma will depend on the structures that got injured. Some common outcomes include pain, bleeding, confusion, and disfigurement. As a result, you may require expensive medical treatment. You could even suffer temporary or permanent disabilities from your head injury.
Causes of Blunt Force Head Trauma
Blunt force trauma happens when something impacts your head without leaving an open wound. Blunt force trauma is distinct from penetrating trauma. This term refers to an injury in which an object penetrates the tissues, leaving an open wound.
Blunt force trauma is also different from whiplash trauma. This type of injury happens when the head whips around, rapidly accelerating and decelerating. The whipping motion can result from a bump to the head, but not necessarily. It can also happen when your body changes directions rapidly in car accidents or other types of collisions.
Logically, blunt force trauma can happen when:
- Your head is stationary, and an object moves toward it
- Your head moves toward a stationary object
- Your head and the object move toward each other
For example, blunt-force head trauma could happen during a workplace accident in which a falling object strikes your head. Similarly, you could experience blunt force head trauma when you hit your head on the ground in a slip and fall accident.
You could even suffer blunt force trauma when wearing a helmet. If you get ejected during a motorcycle accident, you could suffer blunt force head trauma when your helmet hits the pavement.
How Common Are Blunt Force Head Injuries?
There is no database that shows all blunt force head injuries from all causes. But research has shown the frequency of these injuries in a few specific types of accidents, including:
Falls are a leading cause of blunt-force head injuries and the top cause of traumatic brain injuries. One out of five falls causes a bone fracture or head trauma. Across all ages, hundreds of thousands of people seek treatment every year for a fall-related head injury.
Falls can take two forms, both leading to a blunt-force head injury. In an elevated fall, the accident victim falls from one level to another. This type of fall includes falls from ladders or falls down a flight of stairs.
A same-level fall happens when you lose your footing and fall on the same level. This type of fall includes trip and fall accidents and slip and fall accidents.
Car accidents involve powerful forces. Your body will whip back and forth in a front-end or rear-end collision. Your head will strike the headrest. If you do not wear a seat belt, your head may hit the steering wheel or dashboard.
A side-impact crash is more likely to cause a head injury because your seat belt and airbag are not designed to prevent you from moving sideways. Your head can strike the door, door post, or window, producing a blunt-force injury.
Up to 55% of rear-end crash victims admitted to the hospital have head trauma, according to a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Over 80% of side-impact crash victims who require hospitalization have head trauma.
Motorcycle accidents can also cause head trauma. Motorcycles have no passenger compartment to protect riders. As a result, the rider’s head can strike another vehicle or the road in a collision. The forces involved are more powerful than just falling off the motorcycle. The rider can get ejected during the crash and strike the road with great force.
But motorcycle operators and passengers have control over their odds of suffering a blunt force head injury. Wearing a helmet can reduce a motorcyclist’s odds of a head injury by up to 69%
Potential Effects of Blunt Force Head Trauma
Blunt-force trauma can cause a range of head injuries depending on the structures that suffer damage. Some examples of head injuries from blunt force trauma include the following:
An impact on the head can break bones. Some fractures that can result from head trauma include:
- Skull fractures
- Orbital fracture
- Facial fractures
- Jaw fractures
Fractured bones will heal. But you could still suffer life-changing consequences. An orbital fracture could damage your eye and impair your vision. A jaw fracture could misalign your jaws and cause temporomandibular disorders. Facial fractures can permanently disfigure you.
Skull fractures are particularly dangerous if the bone fragments press into the brain. They can tear the brain tissues and lacerate blood vessels, leading to permanent brain damage, coma, or even death.
Brain injuries can take a wide range of forms. Mild brain injuries, called concussions, cause symptoms that last up to two months.
Some common concussion symptoms include:
- Slurred speech
- Blurry vision
Blunt head trauma can also cause more serious injuries, such as:
- Diffuse axonal injuries (DAIs)
- Cerebral contusions
- Subdural hematoma
These brain injuries can kill you or leave you with permanent physical, cognitive, or emotional disabilities.
Blunt trauma can cause dental fractures. When you have your teeth knocked out, a dentist might be able to replant them. The tooth must be relatively undamaged, and the replacement surgery must happen within a few hours of the injury. After roughly three hours, the surgery has a low chance of success.
When Can You Get Compensated For Blunt Force Head Trauma?
Blunt-force head trauma can support an injury claim in a few situations. If your head trauma happens at work, you can file a workers’ compensation claim. Your employer’s workers’ comp insurer should pay for 100% of your reasonable and necessary medical expenses and two-thirds of your wages up to a statutory limit.
If your injury happened due to someone else’s intentional or negligent actions, you can pursue a claim for all of your losses, including medical expenses, wage losses, diminished earnings, and pain and suffering. You should consult a personal injury lawyer to learn whether you have a claim and how much you can seek for the effects of your blunt-force head trauma.
Contact Our Brain Injury Law Firm in South Florida
If you’ve been injured in an accident, please contact our experienced brain injury lawyers in Florida at Hollander Law Firm Accident Injury Lawyers to schedule a free consultation today. We have three convenient locations in Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach.
Hollander Law Firm Accident Injury Lawyers – Boca Raton Law Office
7000 W Palmetto Park Rd #500
Boca Raton, FL 33433
Hollander Law Firm Accident Injury Lawyers – Fort Lauderdale Law Office
200 S.E. 6th Street #203
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
Hollander Law Firm Accident Injury Lawyers – West Palm Beach Law Office
319 Clematis St #203
West Palm Beach, FL 33401