New York Epidural Hematoma
A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is an injury to the brain resulting from the impact of an external force. A fall, car accident, truck accident or brutality can produce a sufficient external force to create a TBI. The external force can be a direct impact or an acceleration-deceleration force, either way a head injury can occur.
Surprisingly, traumatic brain injuries are more common than you would think. According to the Centers of Disease Control, there are 1.7 million brain injuries every year in the U.S. They are so prevalent; the CDC has stated that TBI injuries are a serious public health problem in the United States. In the state of New York, the Department of Health has said that sadly, 2,000 people die every year from TBIs, and another 18,000 end up in the hospital.
A primary traumatic brain injury incurs at the time of the accident and may range from minor to life-threatening including permanent brain damage. Trauma to the brain can also create injuries, known as secondary injuries, which can sometimes arise minutes or even days after the accident. Such injuries can emanate from a change in the blood flow to the brain, a skull injury or from a change in cranial pressure (potentially creating the need for a medical procedure known as a craniotomy). Traumatic brain injury can vary from a mild concussion to a more serious bleeding in the brain, such as a subdural hematoma. Medical professionals rate the level of TBI severity through the use of the Glasgow Coma Scale, which assesses a person’s level of consciousness.
An epidural hematoma (EDH), or epidural hemorrhage, is a pooling of blood between the outer cerebral protective covering and the skull. This part of the brain is called the Dura. It’s essentially fluid which provides a shock absorbing effect to protect the delicate brain tissue. This area also contains blood vessels which transfer blood to and from the brain. When these vessels are lacerated or rupture, an epidural hemorrhage results. This pooling of blood can increase the cranial pressure, compress fragile brain tissue and potentially lead to death.
Trauma is the leading cause of epidural hematomas. Such trauma can result from a fall, brutal assault or auto accident. Often these injuries are caused by the negligent actions of other parties. In order for there to be a cause of action for negligence, four elements must be proven. First, there must have been a duty owed to the plaintiff. The defendant must have owed the plaintiff a duty to act reasonably under the circumstances. This duty must have been breached somehow, by the defendant’s actions or failure to act. This breach must have been the cause, in total or in part, for the injury that occurred. Finally, the plaintiff must have suffered damages.
It is important to note that the state of New York recognizes the concept of contributory negligence. This means that even if the plaintiff may have had a part in their injury, they can still recover against the defendant. This is set forth in New York Civil Practice L & R 1411.
Whether treated or left untreated, this type of brain injury can result in permanent brain damage. Epidural hematomas can become quite large in a relatively short period of time. The rapid increase in size reduces the internal area of the skull, pushes the brain out of its normal position, rips the Dura away from the interior surface of the skull and causes a massive headache.
Epidural hemorrhage patients may return to consciousness, known as a lucid period, and then suddenly descend into unconsciousness. The lucid period is essential to diagnosing an epidural hematoma.
Each New York Brain Injury Attorney at Stephen Bilkis & Associates, PLLC is aware that approximately 3% of TBI patients experience an epidural hematoma, of which 9% are comatose. Surgery is often utilized to relieve the elevated cranial pressure. The possibility of surgery depends on the patient’s neurological condition. In non-comatose patients, surgeons analyze the thickness and volume of the hematoma along with the patient’s Glasgow Coma Scale rating. Surgery is performed with a Glasgow Coma Scale rating of 9 or less and a hematoma thickness of 15mm or greater.
If you know someone suffering from the effects of an epidural hematoma, subdural hematoma or other type of brain damage including cerebral edema and brain swell, skull injury including skull fracture or orbital fracture contact our experienced and highly skilled New York Epidural Hematoma Injury Lawyers at Stephen Bilkis & Associates, PLLC to discuss your legal options. Contact us at 800.696.9529 or online to schedule your free consultation. Or stop by one of our many convenient office locations in County or Manhattan, Bronx, Queens, Westchester County, Staten Island, or in Suffolk Nassau County in Long Island.