Blunt force head trauma refers to physical injuries caused by non-penetrating blows from dull objects or surfaces. When blunt force trauma occurs, the surface of the injured organ remains intact, although there may be invisible internal damage.

When we think of blunt force trauma, we tend to think of damage inflicted by another person wielding a weapon like a hammer or a bat. Our view of the term is likely skewed due to it being so widely used to refer to assault crimes where the victim’s injuries are not entirely clear. 

In reality, blunt force trauma is not always caused by a second party. A driver hitting their head against the steering wheel during a car accident might result in blunt force head trauma.

Causes of Blunt Force Trauma to the Head

Blunt force head trauma can happen under many circumstances. While it’s true that victims of assault often suffer blunt force trauma, many incidents occur in everyday situations like in a vehicle or the workplace.

Motor vehicle accidents are the most common cause of blunt force head trauma. When vehicle accidents result in death, there is almost always evidence of blunt force trauma somewhere on the body. Other common causes of blunt force head trauma include sporting incidents, physical assaults, and falls.  

Blunt force trauma can occur in industrial workplaces such as factories and construction sites. A worker might suffer blunt force head trauma from a falling object or by slipping and falling

Symptoms of Blunt Force Head Trauma

The most common and tell-tale sign of blunt force head trauma is pain. Other symptoms include:

  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Bruising
  • Abrasions
  • Tenderness

Symptoms of blunt force head trauma vary depending on how hard the object hit the body or vice versa. Location is also a factor. For example, if you were to hit your head on a door frame accidentally, you would likely experience bruising and minimal pain, but abrasions and severe pain are less likely. If, on the other hand, you hit the door frame at speed, you will experience more severe symptoms. 

Forceful impact or impact on the back of the skull can cause a concussion. If a concussion occurs, the injured person may experience dizziness, confusion, loss of vision or blurred vision, memory loss, and nausea.

Brain Injury

In severe cases, blunt force head trauma can lead to brain injuries and even result in death. For instance, head trauma from a vehicle crash may not have penetrated the skin or skull, but the brain may have been jolted around during impact, causing it to crash into the sides of the skull. The collision between the brain and skull can cause internal bleeding, bruising, and torn nerve fibers.

Short and Long-term Effects

Effects of minor blunt force head trauma tend to be short and disappear within a few days to a few weeks. In cases of severe brain injury or chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), symptoms may take several years to develop. 

Symptoms of severe head trauma or CTE include:

  • Convulsion
  • Full or partial limb paralysis
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Irritability and personality changes
  • Confusion
  • Lessened motor skills
  • Drops in blood pressure
  • Blurred vision
  • Slurred speech
  • Migraines and headaches
  • Nausea and vomiting

Severe blunt force head trauma can cause long-term effects such as changes in speech, vision, taste, and smell, or speech and language difficulties. 

Treatment and Prevention of Blunt Force Trauma

If you encounter a person you believe has suffered blunt force head trauma, do not move them unless absolutely necessary. Do not move or shake them in an attempt to bring them to consciousness. 

Time is of the essence in cases of severe blunt force head trauma. Call for medical help as soon as possible, even if the victim is not feeling pain; they may have a surge of adrenaline or be in shock.

If you have sustained a head injury and experience any symptoms beyond minor pain and bruising, seek medical assistance. If your symptoms are severe, have someone take you to the nearest emergency room.

Most cases of blunt force head trauma are preventable. Wearing a helmet while playing sports or riding a bicycle or motorcycle can significantly diminish the chances of severe head trauma, as can wearing a seatbelt while driving. 

Damage Recovery For Head Injury Victims

If you or someone you know has suffered an injury from blunt force head trauma, you may be eligible to receive compensation, even beyond the cost of medical bills. Head injuries can have life-altering outcomes like loss of wages or continued medical care. If you require long-term use of medication or are unable to work due to your injury, contact an attorney. You may be able to recover damages for your physical and emotional losses. 

For more information, call our law firm at (212) 514-5007 or send us an email by visiting our contact us page.