Unintentional injuries, such as motor vehicle accidents, are the leading cause of disability and death in children and adolescents in the United States. Unintentional injuries often lead to brain injuries. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the two age groups at greatest risk for brain injury are age 0-4 and 15-19. Common causes for brain injury in children and adolescents are motor vehicle crashes, falls, sports injuries, physical abuse, and more.
Just like an adult brain injury, a child brain injury can range from mild to severe. The recovery time for a child can be hard to predict, but with early diagnosis and ongoing interventions, the severity of a child's symptoms may decrease. Symptoms can vary greatly depending on the extent and location of the brain injury. Impairments in multiple areas is common for children.
While the symptoms of a brain injury in children are similar to those of adults, the functional impact can be very different, since the brain of a child is still developing. In fact, the rational part of a teen’s brain does not fully develop until age 25 or so. Adults think with their prefrontal cortex, the rational part, that responds to situations with good judgment and an awareness of long-term consequences. Teens, on the other hand, process information with the amygdala, the emotional part.
The cognitive impairments of children with a brain injury may not be immediately obvious after the injury, but may become more apparent as the child gets older. This can create enormous challenges in the child's day-to-day life and their overall ability to learn, think, and develop socially appropriate behaviors.
Children will often have physical impairments, such as change in speech, vision, hearing, etc., while also displaying many cognitive impairments, like short term memory, slowed thinking, low attention span, etc. Additionally, children with brain injuries experience emotional impairments as well, including mood swings, anxiety, depression, low self esteem, restlessness, etc.
For more information on child brain injuries, we encourage you to visit the Brain Injury Association of America website.
If your child has experienced a brain injury and you have questions about compensation, contact Kaufman Law. We can discuss your situation for FREE and determine if you have a potential case.