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What Is a Secondary Brain Injury?

The effects of a traumatic brain injury (TBI) can be severe. A TBI occurs when you suffer a blow or jolt to the head, which causes significant damage to the brain. In the long-term, a brain injury can impact memory, concentration, movement, learning, and more.

A TBI can be classified in many ways, which informs diagnosis, treatment, and outlook. One of the most fundamental is the difference between a primary and a secondary brain injury. 

Primary versus Secondary Brain Injuries

Primary brain injury refers to the sudden damage that the brain suffers at the time of the incident. For example, say that you are in a car accident when you suffer a TBI. The primary brain injury would occur during this time, such as an object penetrating your skull or your head hitting a hard surface.

On the other hand, secondary brain injuries develop in the hours or days after primary TBI. You could suffer from damage to the cells, chemicals, blood vessels, or tissues in the brain that causes further harm.

Primary brain injuries are considered to be complete at the time of the incident and often produce immediate symptoms and complications. In cases involving secondary brain injuries, you may emerge from the accident feeling uninjured. However, your brain is undergoing changes that could cause serious problems in the near future.

Secondary Brain Injury Symptoms

Brain injuries can occur due to acts of violence, medical negligence, sports injuries, and other types of accidents, particularly motor vehicle collisions. It can be difficult to know whether you sustained a TBI after these incidents.

Symptoms of a possible secondary brain injury include the following.

  • Memory loss 
  • Slurred speech
  • Severe and persistent headaches
  • Unexplained seizures or convulsions
  • A sudden loss of smell or hearing
  • Sensitivity to light or noise
  • Vision problems
  • Dizziness and fainting
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Sudden mood swings or personality changes
  • Inability to communicate with others

The risk of secondary brain injuries is one of the reasons why you should seek medical attention immediately after any type of head injury. By receiving treatment as soon as you can, your medical team can stabilize your condition and monitor you for signs of further damage.

Who Is Liable for a Secondary Brain Injury?

A secondary brain injury can have a significant physical, emotional, and financial impact on your life. You may need long-term medical care and disability accommodations to treat your injury, which can be very expensive. A TBI can impact your ability to go to work and earn the same wage as you did previously. 

If someone else’s actions are responsible for your secondary brain injury, you may have options to recover financial compensation to pay for these losses. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your TBI, you could pursue an insurance claim or lawsuit against the at-fault party.

Many types of individuals and entities can be liable for secondary brain injury, such as the following.

  • Motor vehicle drivers
  • Property owners
  • Construction companies
  • Medical professionals
  • Government agencies
  • Semi-truck drivers
  • Trucking companies

When these situations arise, it is important to discuss your legal options with an attorney. As soon as possible following your injury, contact a McAllen brain injury lawyer to strategize your next steps.