Brain injuries can impact a person’s life in numerous ways. The long-term effects of brain-stem injuries can include debilitating conditions. A person could require significant medical and personal care for the rest of their life.

Injuries to the brainstem are generally considered catastrophic injuries because of the chance of permanent impairments and disabilities. An injury to the brainstem often disrupts bodily functions for large areas of the body. Understanding the causes and effects of brain-stem injuries may help victims who are pursuing personal injury claims for damages caused by brain-stem injuries.

Why is the Brain-Stem Important?

The brainstem connects the brain to the spinal column. The brainstem relays messages from the brain to numerous areas of the body, thereby controlling several body functions. 

The brainstem is composed of three sections. Each section of the brainstem controls various bodily functions. An injury to any section of the brainstem could be devastating. 

The sections of the brainstem and the functions the sections control are:

  • Pons — This section of the brainstem regulates or controls bladder functions, posture, swallowing, equilibrium, and senses.
  • Medulla Oblongata — This section of the brainstem regulates or controls a person’s blood pressure, respiratory functions, and heart rate.
  • Midbrain — This section of the brainstem regulates or controls sleep, hearing, motor functions, vision, and temperature.

The long-term effects of a brain-stem injury depend on the severity and location of the injury. If critical bodily functions are disrupted, the person could require life-sustaining measures to prevent death. In severe cases, a person may not be able to survive if taken off life-support.

Because of the risk of life-threatening conditions and permanent impairments, immediate medical attention is required for a brain stem injury. Any injury to the base of the skull or the neck should be evaluated by a physician as soon as possible. Prompt identification of a brain-stem injury and immediate medical intervention can reduce the risk of death or permanent impairments. 

What are the Potential Effects of a Brain-Stem Injury?

The effects of a brain-stem injury vary widely. Some individuals may develop mild symptoms or conditions that go away with treatment and time. Other individuals can experience catastrophic effects because of a brain-stem injury.

Some of the potential effects of an injury to the brainstem include, but are not necessarily limited to:

  • Loss or interruption of bodily functions
  • Altered heart rate
  • Loss of sensation or smell
  • Breathing problems
  • Decreases in motor function
  • Coma
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Problems swallowing
  • Hearing loss
  • Lack of coordination or problems with balance
  • Dizziness, vomiting, and/or nausea
  • Insomnia 
  • Abnormal sleep patterns
  • Paralysis
  • Blurred vision
  • Slurred speech

Documenting the brain-stem injury and the effects of the injury are important in a personal injury case. Victims need medical evidence proving they sustained an injury before recovering compensation from the party or parties who caused the injury.

Common Causes of Brain-Stem Injuries

A brain-stem injury can result from trauma or an accident. Common situations or incidents that can result in an injury to the brainstem include:

If another party caused the incident or accident that led to the brain-stem injury, that party could be held liable for damages in a personal injury claim. A brain injury lawyer investigates the cause of the accident to identify the liable parties. The lawyer files claims against the party seeking compensation for injuries and damages.

Compensation for Damages Caused by a Brain-Stem Injury

The compensation you might receive for a brain-stem injury depends on the facts of your case. In most cases, an accident victim can receive compensation for:

  • Medical expenses
  • Loss of income
  • Pain and suffering
  • Permanent impairments
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

The severity of the injury and your financial losses are two crucial factors that impact the value of an injury claim. However, other factors could affect how much you receive for a brain-stem injury.

If you were partially to blame for the cause of your injury, your compensation could be reduced by your percentage of fault. The availability of insurance proceeds can also impact how much you receive for your claim.

Whether you hire an attorney to handle your claim can also impact the compensation you receive. Brain-stem injuries are complex personal injury cases. Having experienced counsel handling your case can improve your chance of maximum compensation for damages.