Classifying Brain Injuries

It is important to know that there are many types of brain injuries and that there are three levels of brain injury classification. In this post, we will discuss each of the types and levels of brain injury which can vary from patient to patient and can present unique challenges.

Brain Injury – What types are there?


Many people have heard about concussions or may even know someone who has suffered one.  These are the most common type of TBI and are caused when a sudden impact or movement causes the brain to move back and forth rapidly. This movement can damage brain cells and nerves. Healing time for a concussion can range from several months to several years.


A contusion is simply bleeding on the brain. It can be similar to bruises you get on your shin or other parts of your body. This type of injury is often a result of a localized injury from a direct impact to an area of the head.


This type of injury is where a person has two contusions; one at the site of impact and one at the opposite side of the brain. The impact essentially causes the brain to hit the opposite side of the skull which causes the other contusion.

Diffuse Axonal

This type of injury causes nerve tissue to be torn throughout the brain. The patient has experienced a sudden shaking or rotating motion of their head where the brain cannot keep up with the moving skull. The tearing of the nerve tissue causes neural pathways to be lost in the brain which cannot be rebuilt. The brain will often compensate and find alternative paths so brain function can continue.


Penetration injuries are severe and are usually associated with gunshot wounds, knife injuries, or the force from another sharp object. Not only if the brain tissue and neurons damaged by the sharp object, but skin, bone, and hair fragments are also forced into the brain on impact. This type of injury can have damage that extends to many areas of the brain.

Acquired Brain Injury

Unlike the types of injuries discussed above, acquired brain injuries are not typically the result of some external factor or impact. Damage to the brain is often caused by degenerative diseases, strokes, tumours or other internal mechanisms.  There are two types of acquired brain injury: anoxia (where the brain is deprived of oxygen) and hypoxic (the brain has some oxygen but not enough to support its many functions).

Brain Injury – What levels are there?

There are three levels of brain injury: mild, moderate, and severe. The level of brain injury is indicated using the Glasgow Coma Scale. This scale rates the patient’s ability to respond to verbal commands, motor stimuli, and to open their eyes. The scale ranges from 3-15 points. 3-8 points indicate a severe brain injury, 9-12 points indicate a moderate brain injury, and 13-15 points indicate a mild brain injury. Let’s look at each level of injury in further detail.

Mild TBI

This level of injury is ultimately a disruption of brain function for a period as a result of an accident. It can be difficult to show that the damage caused the impairments experienced by the patient. A person may experience loss of consciousness, confusion, or feel dazed which indicates that their brain function has been altered to some extent. Patients who suffer a Mild TBI can have a successful recovery.

Moderate TBI

A moderate TBI is often indicated by the person losing consciousness for a few minutes to a few hours, confusions that persist for days to weeks after the accident, and physical, cognitive, or emotional deficits. Patients who suffer a Moderate TBI can have a progressive recovery with appropriate treatments and accommodations for their limitations.

Severe TBI

Patients who have suffered a severe TBI have sustained significant trauma to their head. The impact ultimately causes their brain tissue to be damaged and destroyed which is often life-threatening and permanent. The patient will have long-lasting deficits and limitations that can affect their emotions, language, cognition, and behaviour. A person who has sustained multiple mild or moderate TBIs could also find themselves managing cumulate brain damage.

Brain Injury Lawyer

Due to the complexities and damaging effects of a TBI, it is essential for a patient to have a knowledgeable and understanding lawyer on their side. Jeff Mitchell is an experienced personal injury lawyer dedicated to representing brain injury victims after an accident. He works diligently to support TBI patients throughout their claim and their recovery.

Questions about brain injury claim?

Contact Jeff Mitchell for a free case review. Call toll-free: 1-855-670-1345 or 902-702-3452.