All it takes is a moment of inattention to cause a devastating injury to another person. A driver who parks and, without checking the bike lane, opens her door in front of a cyclist; a store manager who delays fixing a broken hand railing; a truck driver who looks down at his phone sends a quick text to his wife—each of these scenarios happens on a daily basis. In many instances, catastrophe is avoided. In others, the negligent party causes a serious injury or fatality. The head is the most fragile yet heavily armoured part of the body. The brain, which is encased in cerebrospinal fluid and solid bone that is seven millimetres thick, is prone to serious injury even when a blow does not fracture the skull.
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A Skull Fracture Is a Life-Threatening Condition
When the skull is fractured, the trauma that the victim experiences is often life-threatening or fatal. If you were injured by a negligent driver, business owner, property owner, or other party, you deserve to be fully compensated for your vast injuries. If you are a loved one of someone who was killed by a careless or reckless party, you also deserve to be heavily compensated. For civil justice, the Barrie skull injury lawyers at Preszler Law Firm are here for you to depend on in your time of need. Our experienced lawyers will examine your case and get started on filing a personal injury or wrongful death claim at once.
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What Is a Skull Fracture?
A skull fracture is an extremely serious injury. While not all skull fractures coincide with brain injuries, they quite often do. According to the Merck Manual, symptoms of a skull fracture include pain, leaking fluid from the nose and/or ears, bruising behind the ears or eyes, and brain injury symptoms such as nausea, unconsciousness, confusion, anxiety, seizure, loss of balance, speech impediment, vomiting, and memory loss. There are four types of skull fractures:
- Simple Fracture—The skull if fractured by the skin is not torn
- Linear Fracture—The fracture is a thin, straight line fully through the entire depth of the skull
- Compound Fracture—The fracture exposes the brain
- Depressed Fracture—The skull is fractured and pushing inwards onto the brain
- Basal Fracture—The fracture is at the base of the skull
- Comminuted Fracture—A complex fracture including splintering bone and torn skin
Furthermore, when the skin is not torn the fracture is called a closed wound, and if the skin is torn, the fracture is referred to as an open wound. A depressed fracture poses a serious risk of brain damage and death due to the pressure that it puts directly on the brain. Additionally, depressed fractures and compound skull fractures are at an increased risk of infection due to the brain being exposed to the outside. Basal fractures to the back of the skull put the victim at further risk of traumatic brain injury, irreversible brain damage, and death.
Recovery from a Fractured Skull
Each skull fracture is different. Some require minimal treatment while other victims must undergo multiple-hour surgeries to remove foreign objects, clean the wound, remove fractured or splintered bone, put bone fragments back into place, insert metal wire or mesh to hold the fragments in place, and stitch the wound back up. If the brain is damaged, brain surgery may be required to remove dead brain tissue or address blood clotting or bleeding. The most simple type of skull fracture to treat is a closed linear fracture, which usually does not require surgery. An open fracture will almost always require antibiotics to prevent infection. The timeline for recovery depends on the type of fracture and any potential traumatic brain injury (TBI). Most patients are admitted to the hospital for observation for at least a few days, and pain will begin to subside for most patients at five to 10 days, according to NHS. However, it takes many months for the skull to fully heal, and potentially much longer to recover from a TBI. During this recovery period, the victim’s quality of life is substantially reduced by severe headaches, nausea, being confined to a bed when cerebrospinal fluid continues to leak out of their ears and nose, and not being able to work, play, or be with their family.
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The Brain Has Four Main Levels of Protection, Including the Skull
The brain has four levels of protection. Starting with the innermost protective layer, we have the meninges, which covers the brain and gives it structure and strength. Without the meninges, which consists of three different materials of membranes, the brain would have no structure and essentially collapse on itself due to the weight of gravity.
Next is the blood-brain barrier, which is a thin layer of cells that sits right against the brain that stops blood-borne toxins from entering. The next layer of protection is cerebrospinal fluid or CSF. CSF has many functions, including buffering or cushioning the brain. In fact, the meninges contain both the blood-brain barrier and CSF, and therefore are spread out ranging from the brain itself to the skull. Finally, the skull is the strongest layer of protection, averaging 6.5 millimetres in thickness for men and 7.1 millimetres for women, according to Occupational Health and Safety. The periosteum, outer layer of skin, and hair protect the skull itself. To fracture a skull and cause a traumatic brain injury the amount of force necessary is at least 520 pounds per square inch, according to a study and reported by NBC News. While this force sounds incredibly high, it can quite easily occur during a slip and fall, car crash, bicycle collision, or other incidents in which one party fails to uphold their duty of care to the other.
A Barrie Skull Fracture Lawyer Is Here to Help
Skull fractures are always very serious injuries. The recovery period can last from weeks to years when the fracture is accompanied by a serious TBI. Victims of negligence deserve to be compensated by the at-fault party, whether they are a driver, company, or property owner. To take immediate action, call Barrie law offices of Preszler Law Firm at 1-800-JUSTICE today to schedule a free consultation with a Barrie skull injury lawyer.