Normally, when someone is injured as a result of an accident, they know it. They have pain, they are bleeding, or have any number of symptoms. But there is an injury that is often hidden, and which may not manifest itself until time passes, but which may be more devastating and long term than readily apparent injuries: Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).
What is TBI
TBI is a general term for any kind of acute injury to the brain. Most commonly we think of this as a concussion, but even a concussion can have a variety of meanings and differing levels of severity. Any impact to the head carries the risk of TBI.
When someone blacks out at the scene of an accident, most medical experts agree, he or she should be considered a risk for TBI. Note that many times accident victims do not know if they blacked out—they may simply have gaps in memory (for example, “I felt the impact and the next thing I remember I was in an ambulance”).
Any impact to the head should be taken very seriously–even when a victim insists they are fine. In many cases, the brain can swell over a period of minutes or hours, which can eventually be fatal. In many instances, a victim may seem normal in the minutes after the accident, only to deteriorate afterwards.
In most cases, TBI will take on a more insidious form. It can alter mood, memory, affect, and personality over time. Victims may experience lightheadedness, dizziness, headaches, blurred vision and other neurological symptoms.
Sometimes, the changes are such that only close family will notice them. TBI is easily dismissed as someone being “depressed,” or “cranky,” and surely, these are all possible effects of an injury. But TBI is more than just mental upset over an injury—TBI is an injury to the brain itself that causes cognitive changes.
TBI can be long term or short term. Many victims will recover from cognitive impairment, and revert back to –pre-injury functioning. But in more serious cases, the impairments can be permanent.
Too often, accident victims do not seek treatment for cognitive injury with the same diligence they do with physical injury. Many victims may be reticent to admit they are suffering mental disability or difficulty. But any time TBI is suspected, a victim should treat with a neurologist or similar provider. A doctor can document changes over time, and can perform testing to asses any loss of cognitive function.
Aside from being smart medical advice, seeking medical treatment also creates a record for a jury to see. Brain injuries cannot be seen the way a broken bone can. Many people and juries are skeptical of mental impairment. Thus, having a record of treatment can be vital to recovering for TBI.
Make sure your attorneys understand the different kinds of injuries that can result after a personal injury accident, and that they know how to prove those damages to a jury. Contact the attorneys of Brassel, Alexander & Rice, LLC today for a free consultation to discuss getting reparation for your injuries.