Traumatic brain injuries and acquired brain injuries often produce the same symptoms and require similar care. However, these two types of brain injuries differ in terms of how the injury is sustained.

Acquired Brain Injury

An acquired brain injury is typically caused by some sort of internal occurrence. The Brain Injury Association of America defines acquired brain injury as an injury to the brain that has occurred after birth and is “not hereditary, congenital, degenerative, or induced by birth trauma.” Acquired brain injuries can be broken down into two groups: anoxic and hypoxic. Hypoxic brain injuries occur when the brain only gets a small amount of oxygen that is not enough for the brain to function. Anoxic brain injuries occur when he brain does not get any oxygen. There are three types of anoxic brain injuries:

  • Anoxic anoxia takes place when the brain is supplied with no oxygen
  • Anemic anoxia occurs when the blood does not have enough oxygen in it Brain injury from blood that does not carry enough oxygen
  • Toxic anoxia happens oxygen in the blood is blocked from being used by toxins. Brain injury from toxins or metabolites that block oxygen in the blood from being us

Examples of causes of acquired brain injury include a stroke, exposure to toxic substances, medication misuse, and non-fatal drowning accidents. As mentioned, acquired brain injuries do not include degenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s.

Traumatic Brain Injury

A traumatic brain injury results from external force to the head such as a blow, shake, or bump. For example, you could sustain a traumatic brain injury in a car accident or in a fall. A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury. A traumatic brain injury can also result from penetration of the brain by a foreign object or by part of the skull. This could occur from a gunshot wound in the head, for example.

While it is common to see brain injuries classified into groups like acquired and traumatic brain injuries, sometimes acquired brain injuries are considered to be the umbrella category that includes injuries like traumatic brain injuries and also injuries stemming from events like a stroke. In any classification scheme, it may be possible to bring a lawsuit to be compensated for your brain injury. The type of brain injury — whether acquired or traumatic — will have an impact on what type of case is brought and what evidence will need to be gathered.

In acquired brain injuries and in some traumatic brain injuries where there are no external bruises, lacerations, or bleeding, it can be difficult to recognize and evaluate the extent of damage to the brain. For this reason, it is critical to keep track of your symptoms and keep in mind that symptoms may appear over time depending on the severity of the brain injury. This is also the reason why you need an experienced personal injury lawyer who can fully communicate the extent of your injuries to a judge or jury as not all brain injuries can be observed by simply looking at someone.

Andy Gillin received his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of California at Berkeley and his law degree from the University of Chicago. He is the managing partner of GJEL Accident Attorneys and has written and lectured in the field of plaintiffs’ personal injury law for numerous organizations. Andy is a highly recognized wrongful death lawyer in California.