How Do I Know if I Might Have Traumatic Brain Injury?


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), traumatic brain injury or TBI is a major cause of death and disability in the U.S. TBI occurs when a person hits their head on a stationary object or is struck in the head.

A TBI can result from an auto accident where the person hits their head on something inside the car such as the dashboard or windshield. They may be ejected from the vehicle and strike a tree headfirst.

In the case of a fall, it is often the head that first comes in contact with whatever breaks the fall, such as a sidewalk. There may even be a secondary impact on the brain as it ricochets inside the head.

In the case of an open head injury, an object such as a bullet may penetrate the skull and damage brain tissue.

The Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services sees its share of traumatic brain injuries that usually result from an automobile crash, an act of violence, a fall, or a sporting activity.

You may look fine and there may be no outward evidence of trauma, but what’s happening inside the brain may be another story.

What to Look for Following a TBI

When the brain is hit, damage can begin immediately. Often the brain may swell or bleed as a result of the injury.  An internal brain bleed or swelling inside a skull leaves no place for that blood or brain matter to expand.

The means to diagnose a TBI is through a CAT scan or an MRI which will show a brain swelling or a brain bleed.

Since the brain is involved in every aspect of the body, the damage can be multi-faceted.  The individual may experience cognitive and behavioral changes, changes to the senses, or emotions.  

The symptoms of a traumatic brain injury may include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Chronic headache
  • Confusion
  • Mood swings
  • Dizziness
  • Memory problems

The resulting effects may be partially determined by the severity of the impact and what area is impacted.

Mild, Moderate or Severe Impact

Please understand that the brain function may be affected by a TBI and that depends on what cells are damaged and to what extent. In some cases, the individual may not even lose consciousness, but the more severe impairments may be associated with the length of time the person is unconscious.

Depending on the classification of the brain injury as mild, moderate, or severe, you should consider the following:

  • Mild Injury: The majority of TBIs are mild but can still lead to a concussion or a loss of consciousness.  The individual may appear dazed and stare into space; he may not respond to questions or commands and have no memory of what happened; he may be experiencing a headache, dizziness, nausea and slurred speed. While not life-threatening, mild brain damage can still be serious.
  • Moderate Injury: This can result in a loss of consciousness from a short period of time such as a few minutes to a few hours.  That individual may spend days or weeks confused and not himself.
  • Severe Injury: There is no doubt that there is a brain injury in this case as the individual will lose consciousness or even slip into a coma for at least a few days and weeks to even a longer period.  When that individual awakens, he will have a marked difference in his cognitive abilities, his speech, his emotions, and behavior.

Your Personal Injury Advocate

Even though there was a one-time injury-causing event, the effects may be long-term.  For a child or adult, physical, cognitive, emotional functioning may be permanently altered. The family must adjust to a new normal with a child who has suffered a TBI including counseling, rehabilitation, and education.

If a breadwinner is the patient, financial burdens on the family may become enormous, and at a time when the medical bills are mounting.

It is at this time that you need an advocate like personal injury attorney Chip Nix to hold accountable the at-fault party and seek compensation for your damages. You have a limited time within which to act. Please schedule your appointment with Mr. Nix either online or in person at (334) 279-7770.

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