Personal Injury Claims for TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) Following an Accident

Head trauma in an accident can lead to serious brain injury, and in a personal injury case, determining compensation can be tricky. Here are some important ways to protect your rights.

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.

Severity of the Injury

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.

Mild TBI

Signs of a mild TBI include:

  • Problems with coordination
  • Excessive sleep or depression
  • Changes in mood, violent outbursts
  • Difficulty formulating thoughts or sentences, memory loss
  • Sensory issues (loss of smell, bad taste in mouth, sensitivity to lights or sound etc)
  • Nausea
  • Seizures

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.

Moderate to Severe TBI

Within days signs of a serious TBI may begin to appear:

  • Clear fluid that drains from ears
  • Dilated pupils (one or both eyes)
  • Depression
  • Habitual bouts of nausea or vomiting
  • Difficulty speaking or walking, confusion
  • Irritability, combative behavior
  • Clear fluid that drains from either the nose or ears

Symptoms May Take Days or Weeks to Show Up

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.

How to Proceed with a Personal Injury Claim for a TBI

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.

As with all areas of personal injury, you may be able to collect monetary compensation for costs of therapy and medical visits, loss of income, reduced quality of life, and the pain you've suffered.

Next Steps

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:

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