Understanding Acquired Brain Injury and Its Consequences - Diamond and Diamond Lawyers

Understanding Acquired Brain Injury and Its Consequences


Acquired brain injury is not something you hear or read about, but it afflicts more than 1.5 million people in Canada. Half of the 160,000 brain injuries suffered each year are the result of motor vehicle accidents and falls. ABI is responsible more disabilities in children and adults than any other cause. Preventing brain injuries requires an understanding of how occur and the extent of the damage they can cause.

What is acquired brain injury?

An acquired brain injury is defined as any damage to the brain occurring after birth and not the result of a congenital or a degenerative disease. Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is an ABI resulting from some form of trauma to the brain. Common causes of TBI include the following:

  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Brain surgery
  • Sports injuries
  • Falls
  • Assaultive conduct
  • Gunshot wounds

An ABI can also be the result of circumstances other than trauma, including the following:

  • Tumor
  • Stroke
  • Heart attack
  • Lack of oxygen
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Seizure
  • Exposure to toxic substances
  • Substance abuse

Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are classified as acquired brain injuries because they would fall into the category of degenerative or congenital diseases.

Is a concussion categorized as an ABI?

A concussion is a form of TBI caused by any trauma to the head or body that causes the brain to move within the skull. It is this movement that causes the damage to the brain. Prompt diagnosis is essential because not allowing the brain to heal can cause more harm.

Sports-related concussions are a growing concern in Canada. Government statistics show that 39 percent of children between 10 and 18 years of age who sought treatment in emergency departments of hospitals for injuries suffered in sports were diagnosed with concussions.

Depending upon the severity of the concussion, some of the effects on the victim include the following:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Nausea
  • Impaired memory or concentration
  • Headache
  • Irritability
  • Amnesia
  • Impaired vision
  • Balance impairment

Concussions are difficult to diagnose because there might not be any noticeable signs of trauma, such as a bruise or laceration. For example, the sudden stopping of a car in a collision can cause an occupant’s head to violently move. This motion can cause the brain to move about within the skull. A concussion may not be visible on an X-ray, CT scan or MRI, so diagnosis depends upon doctors observing and evaluating the victim to identify signs of a concussion.

Consequences of ABI

ABI may affect multiple portions of the brain, so the how it affects a person can vary greatly from one victim to another and can range from moderate to severe. The severity of the ABI generally determines the extent of the consequences associated with it.

A person suffering from an ABI may experience physical, psychosocial and cognitive consequences. It is estimated that 10 percent of brain injuries are moderate and another 10 percent are severe. Concussions are the least severe form of ABI.

Cognitive impairment resulting from an ABI may include difficulty recalling learned material, impaired problem solving and slowed speech. Physical limitations may include anything from temporary or permanent difficulty walking to paralysis.

Individuals suffering the effects of an ABI may exhibit signs of depression and have difficulty relating to other people in social or family settings. This can make it difficult for members of the victim’s family who must learn how to deal with the changed behaviour of a loved one.

Ontario personal injury lawyers

The personal injury lawyers at Diamond and Diamond have years of experience successfully handling claims for compensation for individuals suffering acquired brain injuries due to the negligent conduct of another party.  If you or a loved one has been injured, call their 24/7 injury hotline at 1-800-567-HURT or visit their website to speak to someone now. They offer free consultations and case evaluations to injury victims throughout Ontario.

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