August 21, 2020

Pitts Carr and Alex Weatherby

The Difference Between Acquired and Traumatic Brain Injuries

Brain injuries are no laughing matter. The emotional toll that a traumatic brain injury can have on a family or individual is incalculable, while the physical and financial toll can be equally burdensome.

The question of what is the difference between acquired and traumatic brain injury is a very common one, but the answer might surprise you. In fact, traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are actually a specific type of acquired brain injury. 

The Brain Injury Association of America divides brain injuries between two overall categories: acquired and non-acquired. An acquired brain injury is one that occurs after someone is born, while a non-acquired brain injury is one that someone is born with or that occurs during birth. Typically, congenital factors or degenerative disease cause non-acquired brain injuries. On the other hand, a large number of different sources can cause acquired brain injuries.

Traumatic vs Non-Traumatic Brain Injuries

Generally, an acquired brain injury falls into one of two categories: traumatic or non-traumatic. The key difference between the two categories of acquired brain injuries is whether the cause is internal or external. 

Non-Traumatic Brain Injuries

Internal factors cause non-traumatic brain injuries. Typically, non-traumatic brain injury causes include:

  • Strokes,
  • Hemorrhages,
  • Near-drowning experiences,
  • Drug overdoses,
  • Exposure to poisonous gas such as carbon monoxide,
  • Seizures, and
  • Electric shocks.

Very often a non-traumatic or internal brain injury is the result of decreased or non-existent oxygen flow to the brain due to one of the noted causes.

Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)

On the other side of acquired brain injuries are traumatic brain injuries (TBI). External factors cause traumatic brain injuries. Federal law defines a TBI as “an acquired injury to the brain caused by an external physical force, resulting in total or partial functional disability or psychosocial impairment, or both.” Traumatic brain injuries, including concussions, can be caused in many different ways, including:

  • Automobile accidents,
  • Assaults,
  • Sports injuries,
  • Slipping and falling,
  • Gunshots,
  • Explosions, and
  • Child abuse (shaken baby syndrome).

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), falls are by far the leading cause of traumatic brain injury in America at (48%), followed by being struck by or against an object (17%). Both of these categories themselves can arise out of many different incidents that can occur in our normal day-to-day activities, such as:

  • Being hit in the head by a ball in sports practice;
  • Being struck by a vehicle while crossing the street;
  • Slipping on ice on the sidewalk;
  • Slipping on a wet floor at the supermarket; and
  • Tripping over an obstruction at work.

These are all events that can occur in our daily routines without doing anything out of the ordinary. These daily routines, however, can be permanently changed by a traumatic brain injury. Furthermore, the cost of these injuries is huge. Traumatic brain injuries cost Georgians an estimated $1.5 billion annually in lost wages lost and medical costs.

Serious and Rare

TBIs are some of the most serious injuries that patients, and lawyers, deal with. The vast majority of trauma does not result in a TBI. Because it is rare, it is important to contact someone with experience.

Contact Our Team Today

If you or a loved one has suffered any type of brain injury, the team at Carr & Weatherby is here to help. We understand how difficult it is to suffer a brain injury or to watch a family member suffer. We aim to ease that suffering with legal advocacy founded on principles of integrity, honor, and efficiency. Here at Carr & Weatherby, we pride ourselves on caring for our clients as if they are part of our family. We have specific trial experience with brain injuries, and our practice focuses on personal injury specifically. With our expertise, attention to detail, and compassionate approach, we can help you through this life-altering event. Contact us today.