The skull performs an essential function—to protect the brain from trauma. Fortunately, the skull is so strong that most knocks to the head cannot crack it. Indeed, many skull fractures are caused by violent accidents that generate tremendous force.
Skull injuries are serious. We have had clients suffer skull fractures in car accidents, falls from great heights, and violent attacks due to negligent security. If something penetrates the skull—such as a bullet or the tip of an ax—then a patient can suffer direct brain injury. However, even many “closed” skull fractures endanger the victim’s life. Contact our Miami personal injury attorneys to discuss your odds of receiving compensation following an accident.
Signs You Suffer a Skull Fracture
The brain is not always injured in a skull fracture accident, so some people are not immediately aware that their skull has cracked. Some of the more common symptoms to look for include:
- Tenderness in the skull
- Swelling around the point of impact
- Bleeding from nose or ears
Less often, you might experience headaches, vomiting, lightheadedness, and loss of coordination. These symptoms usually do not improve on their own but can worsen as the days pass.
If you knocked your head on something, go to the hospital just to be safe. A doctor can order an X-ray or CT scan to see if you have broken your skull.
Treating a Skull Fracture
Skull fractures present some unique problems for healing. With a broken leg, for example, a doctor can immobilize the limb by placing a cast on it. With serious breaks, the doctor might insert pins or screws to hold the bone fragments together before they fuse.
Most skull fractures do not cause pieces of bone to separate from the skull. Instead, a doctor will check to see whether the crack is so serious that cerebrospinal fluid is leaking from the brain. This is the liquid that floats around and cushions the brain. Any leak could be very dangerous, and surgery is warranted in that case to protect the patient’s life.
If any part of the skull is depressed, then the chances of brain damage also increase because bone has invaded the brain cavity. Surgery can remove any pressure on the brain and improve the overall appearance of the skull.
Many patients will only need pain medication as they wait for the skull to heal. However, a doctor might require that you limit your activity, and some victims cannot return to work.