A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is the result of an impact to an individual's head that is strong enough to disrupt normal brain function. The severity of the injury is dependent on the force of the blow and the area that has been affected. Some will result in closed head injuries (concussions), while others will result in more serious open head injuries that are often times life-threatening. Anytime you or someone that you care about has experienced a blow to the head, it is important to look out for signs of serious damage. Symptoms do not always appear right away and can cause further damage if not treated.
How to Tell If Someone Has Suffered a Brain Injury
The only exact way to know if you or a family member has suffered serious damage is by seeking medical attention. Certain cognitive tests will be performed as well as scans to try and locate the damage and plan a course of action for treating it. The longer you wait, the worse it could be, as many brain injuries involve bleeding or swelling in the brain which can destroy healthy tissue if not treated.
How the symptoms appear and their severity is dependent on whether the brain injury is mild, moderate or severe. It should be noted that anytime someone loses consciousness after an impact to the head, medical attention is imperative even if they seem fine once they wake up.
- With a mild TBI a period of unconsciousness does not last more than 30 minutes if at all. This is known in the medical world as a concussion. The symptoms will appear almost immediately but are only temporary and will typically clear up within a week.
- A moderate TBI is when the unconscious period lasts for over 30 minutes. The symptoms are longer lasting, more serious and can sometimes be permanent if not treated in time.
- A person who suffers a severe TBI will be unconscious for over 24 hours with the symptoms being longer lasting. In many cases some of the symptoms will become permanent disabilities.
Some signs to look for after someone has received a blow to the head are:
- Unconsciousness– This is characterized as a period of time when the person is unresponsive to verbal or physical cues. Make note of how long this lasts and be sure to let the treating physician know.
- Memory Loss– It is not uncommon for someone to be unable to remember the events leading up to a blow to the head or even immediately following.
- Over-all Confusion– An individual with a brain injury will exhibit confused behavior. They may struggle to recall names quickly or forget where they just set down their drink.
- Short Term Memory Loss– This refers to a person's inability to recall new information, especially if a few days has passed since the injury occurred.
- Headaches– Frequent and debilitating headaches are an obvious sign of recent head trauma.
- Dizziness– You may notice your loved one needing to hold onto a chair or someone else when first standing up.
- Blurry Vision– Blurry vision is most often noted in head injuries that are experienced at the back of the head where the brains vision center is located.
- Vomiting– Not being able to keep food down is a sign of a recent trauma to the brain.
- Difficulty Speaking– In some cases, a person who is exhibiting signs or symptoms may not even realize it. They can talk to you as if nothing is wrong, yet to you their speech is incoherent.
- Sleep Difficulties– Major changes in sleep patterns should also be noted. This includes needing an excessive amount of sleep, or not being able to get enough sleep.
- Behavioral Changes– Overly emotional, displaying signs of anger or irrational fear are also common symptoms.
Accidental falls are the number one cause of brain injury, followed closely by vehicular accidents. And while falls usually result in mild injury, the force of impact from a car crash will usually result in a moderate or severe head injury. In some cases the events are so confusing that a patient does even know that they had hit their head in the car accident until they start exhibiting signs days later. This is why it is imperative that every car accident victim, no matter how small the accident seemed, is checked by a doctor.
If you notice signs in yourself or a loved one, immediately go to the hospital. While symptoms may sometimes take time to present, they are still doing what could be irreparable damage to the tissue of the brain. This could result in a permanent disability that calls for long term hospitalization and rehabilitation.
The brain is the most complicated organ inside of the human body and how injury affects it is still very much a mystery. Two individuals can receive the exact same forceful blow and yet have a wide variation in the extent of the injury and the symptoms it presents. Don't hesitate after a head trauma or if you note symptoms of one. Seek immediate medical attention in order to thwart off as much permanent damage as possible.
If you have suffered a TBI as a result of someone else's negligence, there may be an opportunity to obtain compensation for your various injuries and related cost-inducing traumas. Call (800) 838-6644 to obtain a free consultation from an attorney for incidences that occur in California.