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What is an acquired brain injury?

Virginians may be most familiar with the type of brain injuries known as traumatic brain injuries. A traumatic brain injury is caused when an external force is applied to the head, causing an injury, as often occurs in a car accident or sports injury. There is, however, another form of brain injury less commonly known, but that may also give rise to a legal cause of action. Acquired brain injuries can also be major injuries warranting a damages award for the victim.

Acquired brain injuries are not caused by an external force. There are two primary types of acquired brain injuries. When the brain is completely deprived of oxygen, a condition known as anoxia, death or significant damage to the brain can result.

In contrast to anoxia, a person with a hypoxic brain injury, another type of acquired brain injury, still receives some oxygen to his or her brain, but an insufficient amount. A person with a hypoxic brain injury will experience cell death, which could lead to other injuries and potentially even death if not properly treated.

Patients and families may wonder whether they have legal recourse after an acquired brain injury. Fortunately, the answer is often yes. A person who has suffered an acquired brain injury may be able to bring a lawsuit against a medical provider if the injury was caused by the provider's failure to provide proper care. If you or a loved one has experienced an acquired brain injury, it may be wise to seek legal counsel to discuss your rights and options for recovery.

Source: FindLaw, "Types of Brain Injury," accessed Dec. 26, 2015

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