The skull is the first line of defense to keep your brain safe from harm, but like any other bone, it can break with enough force. Even if you avoid a traumatic brain injury in an accident, damage to the skull itself can also have expensive consequences, from mounting medical costs to difficulty paying bills when you can’t return to work. If you are the victim of an accident and suffer a skull fracture, you need a Richmond brain injury attorney who understands the difficulties caused by these injuries to help you recover damages.
Types of Skull Fractures and How They Occur
Skull fractures are often directly caused by negligent behavior, from distracted truck driving to store managers who fail to address broken handrails or wet floors. Head trauma resulting in a skull fracture is typically seen from:
- Physical assault with fists, blunt/sharp objects, or gunfire during purposeful acts of violence.
- Slip and fall accidents involving poorly lit stairs, wet floors, or debris left in store aisles.
- Sports accidents like violent collisions during football or falling off a skateboard or bicycle.
- Vehicle crashes involving cars, trucks, busses, or motorcycles.
An accident or physical violence victim may suffer from any of these main skull fracture types:
- Basilar fractures take place at the base of the skull and often involve the spine. This type of fracture can give physical signs such as spinal fluid or blood leaking from the ears or nose.
- Depressed fractures occur when the broken part of the skull presses downward onto the brain.
- Linear fractures are usually the least dangerous, as these thin cracks in straight lines don’t usually cause pressure on the brain or lead to significant side effects.
- Diastatic fractures are often more serious than linear, as the crack traverses and widens sutures that separate areas of the skull.
- Open fractures, also known as compound fractures, are the easiest to identify as bone fragments clearly puncture through the skin. This type may involve a direct cut on the brain if the skull struck something sharp.
The specific type of fracture you suffer can radically change what symptoms you experience after the accident. For instance, some fractures create dangerous pressure on the brain, which often must be treated with surgery. Additionally, there is a serious risk of infection if something directly penetrates the skull. There are also frequently long-term effects on adolescent victims as their skulls and brains are still growing.
Repercussions of a Skull Fracture
Many of these fractures may not be immediately visible after the accident, especially in the case of “closed” injuries where the skull isn’t obviously punctured. You could have a skull fracture and not realize it, as it is possible to sustain damage to the bone without any visible cuts or bruises on the skin. Because of this possibility, you should always get checked out by medical professionals after any head injury.
While some fractures heal on their own, any head wound where the skull is damaged may cause serious and, in some cases, permanent changes to your daily life. If your skull fracture leads to internal swelling or bleeding, you may experience a serious traumatic brain injury. Skull fractures and traumatic brain injuries can bring about physical, mental, and emotional repercussions, such as:
- Behavioral changes, from general irritability to serious depression and sudden angry outbursts.
- Cognitive issues like difficulty understanding concepts, carrying on a conversation, or judging distances and time.
- Having a shunt installed to relieve pressure on the brain, as well as other types of brain surgeries
- Headache, which may be persistent.
- Memory issues.
- Physical challenges like stiff neck, frequent nausea, vomiting, loss of balance, or recurring pain.
- Ongoing therapies to assist in language, behavior, and occupational difficulties.
- Vision problems, from blurry vision to loss of eyesight.
After suffering a skull fracture, you have a legal right to recover damages stemming from these issues, as well as other out-of-pocket medical costs and any loss of wages when you can’t work while recovering.
Call an Experienced Injury Attorney Right Away If You Suffer Head Trauma
You already have enough to deal with between paying bills, getting to doctor appointments, and working through your physical recovery. Let an attorney handle the legal issues by helping you fight for the full compensation you are owed. Call us to schedule a consultation so we can find out if an investigation is needed to prove negligence and either seek a settlement from insurance or take the at-fault party to court.