Acquired Brain Injury

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Acquired Brain Injury

An acquired brain injury is an injury to the brain that occurs after birth. It can happen to anyone at any time.

Acquired brain injury (ABI) can be catastrophic, resulting in cognitive, social, and psychological problems for the rest of the sufferer’s life.

This condition may be classified as a traumatic brain injury. However, TBIs are brain injuries caused to the victim by an external force. ABIs are a broader classification of injuries that include those caused by an external force as well as brain injuries caused by a medical condition like a stroke.

ABIs not usually classified as traumatic are those caused by infections, strokes, hypoxia, and medical errors. For example, the incorrect and excessive use of forceps or vacuums during childbirth may lead to an acquired brain injury.

If you or a family member ends up with an acquired brain injury due to the fault of another party, you should contact an experienced Virginia brain injury lawyer. The Smith Law Center has fought complicated brain injury cases on the behalf of clients for decades.

What are the Causes of Acquired Brain Injury?

Not all acquired brain injuries are caused by negligence, but conditions like anoxia and hypoxia caused by a deprivation of oxygen may be the fault of a third party like a doctor. The causes of acquired brain injury include:

·       near drowning

·       stroke

·       aneurysm

·       tumor

·       infectious diseases that affects the brain like meningitis

·       lack of oxygen supply to the brain

·       car accidents

·       Assaults

·       Falling objects.

·       Gunshots.

What is the Difference Between Traumatic and Non Traumatic Brain Injuries?

Every year, more than 50,000 people die of traumatic brain injuries. These injuries are often caused by blunt force trauma, falls, car wrecks, and sporting injuries.

A TBI is differentiated from a non-traumatic brain injury by the fact TBIs are caused by trauma to the head, as opposed to cancer, diseases, or tumors. TBIs can also lead to non-traumatic injuries, such as life-threatening swelling, but these injuries must be treated as secondary to the TBI itself.

Acquired Brain Infections

Brain infections can occur unexpectedly. A serious infection like a staph infection may spread through the blood to the brain. It can damage brain tissue. In some cases, a brain injury can allow in an infection, impairing brain function and health.

Meningitis, a disease more common in childhood, can cause an acquired brain infection. 

Encephalitis is an infection of the brain that may be caused by meningitis or another viral infection such as tick-borne infections or herpes. Encephalitis involves swelling of the brain tissue. The swelling can impede brain function until it recedes. The swelling may also damage tissue surrounding the brain, or result in other problems, such as fluid on the brain or oxygen loss.


A stroke temporarily cuts off blood supply to the brain. It is usually caused by a blood clot that narrows an artery or a vein and travels to an area that affects blood flow to the brain. Poor cardiovascular health is the most significant predictor of strokes, although it can affect people of all ages.

Some people suffer a mini-stroke, a condition that can cause minor brain damage. A mini-stroke is also called a transient ischemic attack. If you have suffered a mini-stroke, you are at increased risk of a full stroke.


Not all brain tumors are cancerous. However, even benign tumors can lead to brain damage. If a brain tumor pushes part of the brain or deprives it of oxygen, brain function may be affected. Brain surgery is a risky procedure that can cause more damage. In some cases, a doctor may not recommend surgery for a non-cancerous brain tumor.

Additional brain damage from surgery can be grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit. Tumors may also be caused by exposure to dangerous chemicals and substances.

Brain Hemorrhage

Brain hemorrhage is bleeding in the brain. Typically, hemorrhages are caused by other problems such as a sudden blow to the head, a tumor pressing on the brain, an infection or a ruptured blood vessel. When the bleeding spreads to other parts of the brain or deprives the brain of oxygen, the damage may be permanent.

Locked-In Syndrome

In extreme cases, a stroke can lead to locked-in syndrome. This is a rare neurological disorder. It entails complete paralysis of all voluntary muscles except for the ones that control the movements of the patient’s eyes. However, the patient remains fully conscious and literally locked into his or her own brain.

Locked-in syndrome entails the interruption of all the motor fibers running from grey matter in the patient’s brain via the spinal cord to muscles. It also damages the centers in the brainstem important for facial control and speaking.

Is Concussion an Acquired Brain Injury?

Acquired brain injuries occur from many different causes. You may end up with an ABI from a blow to the head when playing sports. A concussion can be an acquired brain injury. A concussion is also referred to as a mild traumatic brain injury.

The name is misleading. Concussions can have very serious consequences, particularly if they are not treated or an athlete continues playing. Concussions may also be caused by falls or car, truck or motorcycle accidents.

What Are the Long-Term Effects of Acquired Brain Injuries?

The long-term impacts of acquired brain injuries vary from patient to patient. However, they may include the following:

·       Ongoing headaches;

·       Fatigue or insomnia;

·       Cognitive issues;

·       Seizures and tremors;

·       Physical disabilities;

·       Slurred speech and verbal difficulties;

·       Sensory disorders;

·       Losing consciousness

·       Permanent disability;

·       Mood and personality to changes;

·       Coma or brain death.

Falls are the most common causes of acquired brain injuries, accounting for over half of ABIs. Elderly people and younger children are more vulnerable to falls.  The second most prevalent cause of ABIs is objects striking the head, followed by car crashes.

Contact a Virginia Injury Lawyer After an Acquired Brain Injury?

If you or a family member has suffered from an acquired brain injury, you may feel alone and not know where to turn. If a driver, a doctor, a business, a railroad or another entity was responsible for the brain injury, you may have grounds to file a lawsuit. The Smith Law Center has fought for the victims of brain injuries for decades. Please contact us today at 757.244.7000.