A common -- and serious -- injury that occurs in accidents involving an impact to the head is a traumatic brain injury (TBI). In many of these cases the victim believes he or she is well aware of the extent of their injuries -- or lack thereof -- until after it's too late and the case is settled.
Following a serious accident it is possible that the TBI may be overlooked -- only to have the signs surface later on. Although fragile bones can mend, a TBI can leave a victim's life irrevocably changed, permanently damaging their relationships, work, mental capacity and quality of life.
Here are some signs that may let you know if you are suffering from a traumatic brain injury, and steps you can take to protect your rights to compensation.
Brain injuries are sorted in to two categories -- mild and severe. A traumatic brain injury is considered mild if loss of consciousness lasts for less than 30 minutes. Although the majority of TBIs are considered mild, up to 15% of victims will experience symptoms for a year or more.
Signs of a mild TBI include:
Many of the victims of mild TBI will eventually regain a full quality of life. Those who suffer from a moderate to severe traumatic brain injury will often lose consciousness for longer than an hour.
Within days signs of a serious TBI may begin to appear:
It is important to note that the signs of TBI may not be immediately apparent. Depending on the severity of the brain injury symptoms can develop over several days or even weeks after the event. To be on the conservative side it is best to speak to your doctor if you notice any behavioral or physical changes following a significant blow to the head. A thorough neurological examination or a brain imaging scan should reveal any damage to the brain's surface.
Although it is not physically seen, the effects of brain injuries are far reaching. If you were injured in a car accident – or other type of accident -- and believe that you may have sustained a brain injury, it's important to maintain medical records and document the effects of the injury on your daily life in a journal.
You may also want to talk to an injury attorney, because calculating the damages (monetary compensation) for these types of injuries is tricky. You will need to discuss with your attorney the potential negligence that resulted in your injury, whether a settlement can be reached, or if a personal injury lawsuit may be the right option.
To learn more about your options for pursuing a personal injury claim, take some time to get informed on the subject. You will benefit from educating yourself before you choose to meet with local attorneys about your case. Start with the following overview articles: