Your car protects your body, your skull protects your brain; that’s how life is supposed to work. But nothing is perfect, and in the case of an automobile accident, you are never completely safe from serious, life-threatening injuries, and you are never completely safe from a traumatic brain injury.
A traumatic brain injury (TBI) occurs when the head suffers a severe, often-violent blow, bump, or jolt. They are also commonly known as concussions, brain injuries, or head trauma.
They are a common type of injury, and very often a deadly one, taking up a massive 30% of all injury-related deaths.
Even when death does not occur, long-term complications are extremely common with TBI, which is why contacting experienced Salt Lake City lawyers in the event of an automobile accident is always the right decision for you.
As well, a traumatic brain injury can be difficult to diagnose, so knowing the symptoms of a TBI can literally be the difference between life or death.
Mild TBI Symptoms
A TBI isn’t something easily diagnosed and isn’t something that can be seen on an MRI or CAT scan, but the symptoms of this type of injury are often present and should not be ignored:
- Loss of consciousness for less than 30 minutes;
- Headaches or head pain;
- Nausea or vomiting;
- Mood changes or mood swings;
- Fatigue, drowsiness, trouble sleeping, or sleeping more than usual;
- Speech problems;
- Dizziness or loss of balance;
- Ringing ears;
- Memory changes or concentration problems; and/or
- Loss of sense of smell.
While still a severe disorder, one which will most certainly change your life, a mild TBI is something that has a much brighter prognosis, where recovery is a lot more likely with time and patience.
Moderate-Severe TBI Symptoms
The worse the injury to your brain, the more severe your symptoms will appear, and the greater you are at risk to have permanent, life-threatening damage. Symptoms include more aggressive versions of those of above, as well as:
- Inability to wake up;
- Weakness or numbness in the extremities;
- Convulsions and seizures;
- Pupil dilation;
- Fluids draining from nose and ears;
- Loss of coordination;
- Agitation or aggression;
- Slurred speech;
Brain Effects & Loss of Consciousness
A big distinction between the various levels of traumatic brain injury is the actual effect that the injury has on the mental and conscious state.
Often after a TBI, patients exhibit post-traumatic amnesia, or PTA, to varying degrees. This often presents itself as confusion as to their present location and how they arrived at the hospital. They will often still recognize family and loved ones, however.
Consciousness Effects of Mild TBI
- A few second loss of consciousness;
- PTA for less than 1 hour of the TBI; and
- Normal brain imaging results.
Consciousness Effects of Moderate TBI
- 1–24 hours of loss of consciousness;
- PTA for 1–24 hours of the TBI; and
- Mildly abnormal brain imaging results.
Consciousness Effects of Severe TBI
- Loss of consciousness for more than 24 hours, leading to possible coma;
- PTA for more than 24 hours of the TBI; and
- Extremely abnormal brain imaging results.
Life After A Traumatic Brain Injury
While rehabilitation and recovery are possible, most people who suffer even a mild traumatic brain injury will face a difficult, challenging road ahead of them.
Because of the often permanent physical and mental damages and changes, everyday life will be forever altered. Daily tasks like cooking a meal, walking the dog, everyday chores, or even going to the bathroom on your own can become titanic ordeals. Not only is this physically more difficult, but its effects on one’s emotional state cannot be understated.
Energy becomes a major issue for a recovering patient as well. So much of the body’s energy will now be going to helping recover the damage done to it, so a recovering TBI patient might find themselves unable to cope with the various physical, mental, and emotional stresses that an uninjured person would have no problem in handling. Extreme fatigue is extremely common in those recovering from such a devastating injury, making one’s everyday life that much more difficult.
Mental faculties can also be permanently changed. Cognitive ability and memory can most definitely be damaged, meaning things both small and large can be forgotten, making daily life even more staggering. Personal relationships can forever be destroyed, as the person suffering the TBI might quite literally be a different person than they used to be.
Increased levels of sensitivity are common after suffering a TBI. The senses are affected heavily, such as one’s vision. A person’s field of vision might become blurred or double, or the eyes might not be able to focus as deeply as they once were. Victims might become incredibly sensitive to light, and could require special glasses and visual aides in order to cope.
TBI victims might become aurally sensitive as well, becoming hypersensitive to loud, abrasive sounds. Everyday sounds like the hum of a car’s engine might become a mental assault to such a person and could make the TBI sufferer retreat from noisy, public situations.
Family relationships can be flipped topsy turvy too since patients suffering a TBI often require permanent, intensive care from their loved ones, which it goes without saying will be taxing for everyone involved.
The Utah Lawyers Who Can Help You
Car accidents happen every day, and they’re not always just a simple scrape of your vehicle and a call to your insurance company. If your accident results in you suffering a traumatic brain injury, your life could forever change, and even the most mundane of everyday tasks or situations could become hurdles to overcome.
If you or a loved one have been the victim of a car accident that caused a TBI, contact Salt Lake City’s Siegfried & Jensen. With a proven track record in automobile accidents, we at Siegfried & Jensen are here to help you recoup any compensation you might be owed, and to make the difficult road ahead of living with a TBI a little bit easier for you.