In popular media, characters often shake off head trauma as though it caused relatively little impact. They might fall unconscious one moment, only to wake up moments later with no impairment.
However, in real life, head trauma can prove much more serious.
According to the CDC, more than 220,000 people suffer severe head trauma and traumatic brain injury each year. Those injuries may lead to everything from short-term disability to serious, longer-term complications that can impact the rest of a victim’s life.
Common Symptoms Associated With Head Trauma or Brain Injury
Traumatic brain injury can interfere with every area of your life: work, home, relationships, and even hobbies.
#1. Physical Symptoms
Following severe head trauma, you may have several physical symptoms, varying depending on the severity of your injury and which part of the brain is impacted. Some patients with traumatic brain injury suffer from ongoing headaches, dizziness, nausea, or vertigo. Brain injuries can also cause tunnel vision or ringing in the ears.
Dealing with the physical symptoms of traumatic brain injury can prove exceptionally challenging, especially if you have a severe injury. Patients with traumatic brain injury often need to spend significant time in recovery while those symptoms resolve. While dealing with the physical symptoms, many patients need to stay out of work and may even require help with essential self-care.
#2. Sleep Disturbances
People react to head injuries in various ways. Some patients find themselves sleeping considerably more as the body tries to heal itself, while others may discover they have a hard time sleeping at all. Sleep deprivation can make dealing with other brain injury symptoms more difficult since lack of sleep may exacerbate many of those symptoms. Patients who require more sleep may find that increased sleep interferes with their ability to engage in activities they once enjoyed.
#3. Long-Term Memory Loss
Many people with traumatic brain injury find that it interferes with their long-term memories. Some patients have holes in their memories often described in popular media: complete amnesia related to the past or specific events in the past. Many people who have suffered a severe head injury discover that they do not remember the event that caused it. Eventually, some patients may recover the memories lost because of a TBI.
#4. Short-Term Memory Loss
Short-term memory loss can cause more problems for patients with traumatic brain injury than the loss of long-term memories. Short-term memory loss makes it difficult for patients to remember what tasks they have just completed or even how to complete those tasks.
They might forget where to find specific items in their cabinets or how to follow steps that will allow them to complete processes at work. Short-term memory loss can make it difficult and even unsafe for many workers to return to their jobs. They may have a tough time taking on those relatively routine tasks.
Short-term memory loss can also make it very unsafe for patients with traumatic brain injury to take care of themselves. A patient with traumatic brain injury may not have the capacity to cook or remember whether he has taken a shower recently. Some patients may also have a hard time determining how to take care of basic cleaning tasks or dealing with those tasks on their own effectively.
#5. Deficits in Focus and Concentration
Focus and concentration can be essential to many tasks most people take for granted. You need to focus to handle work tasks and may also need focus to enjoy activities from playing a video game to reading a book to watching a movie. You need focus and concentration to aid in your ability to cook a meal for your family or get through chores necessary to keep your household running smoothly.
Unfortunately, a traumatic brain injury can interfere, making it difficult for the victim to manage those tasks. Deficits in focus and concentration can also make it extremely difficult to follow a conversation, interfering with relationships and interactions with friends.
#6. Cognitive Processing Challenges
Head trauma can interfere with the victim’s cognitive ability to process in several ways. Some victims with brain injuries note language difficulties: having difficulty choosing the right word for a specific object or struggling to think creatively.
Cognitive processing challenges can range from mild to severe, from simply interfering with basic recall and occasional activities to disrupting simple routine tasks. In some cases, patients with cognitive processing challenges may have difficulty completing work tasks or problem-solving at home.
#7. Emotional Control Challenges
Brain injuries can interfere with the brain’s ability to control and respond to emotional challenges. Brain injuries can impact emotional control in a couple of different ways.
First, a brain injury may make the victim experience emotion at a higher rate than usual. Minor emotional stimuli can cause an extreme overreaction. On the other hand, sometimes, brain injuries will cause the victim to react inappropriately to emotional stimuli. For example, the victim might start to laugh uncontrollably in reaction to a negative situation or cry about something that should have caused anger.
Furthermore, brain injuries can cause victims to suffer from immense mood swings without warning. Sometimes, it can prove difficult to predict how the victim will respond to any stimuli, mainly since those behaviors may occur without any obvious trigger.
Challenges in emotional control can interfere with the victim’s work and personal relationships. The victim may develop a reputation for unprofessional behavior at work that can prove detrimental. Patients with brain injuries may have difficulty interacting appropriately with customers, especially difficult customers, leading to further upheaval.
Even close friends and family members may have a hard time interacting with the injured individual, which can, in some cases, cause permanent damage to relationships.
In addition to other potential emotional challenges, some patients with brain injuries suffer from increased anxiety levels. The brain injury can cause the patient to feel fearful about minor events or situations. Social anxiety may rise, especially if the patient realizes that they sometimes behave in unpredictable ways. Occasionally, patients with brain injury may suffer from such severe anxiety that they can’t be around others or engage in everyday activities.
Not only can brain injuries trigger an increase in depression, but losses associated with brain injuries can also lead to further depression. Patients with depression often have difficulty finding the motivation to participate in activities, including activities they once enjoyed. They may suffer from apathy or lack of engagement. Depression can also make it challenging to participate in therapy or take steps to increase their odds of a full recovery.
Even children with brain injuries can display a heavy level of apathy and lack of interest in the activities they enjoyed before the head trauma. The higher the level of trauma, the greater the likelihood that children and adult victims of head trauma will find it difficult to rebound.
#10. Personality Changes
Some patients with head injuries suffer from significant personality changes. Those changes can make it difficult for patients with brain injuries to maintain personal or professional relationships. Personality changes can cloud memories and make it difficult for patients to understand their previous choices. While some personality changes may resolve as the patient heals, others may continue long-term.
Do You Have the Right to Compensation After a Head Injury?
Following a head injury, you may face many costs and losses: high medical bills, difficulty concentrating on the activities you usually enjoy, and considerable trouble returning to work, especially if your job involves a high level of cognitive performance. Do you deserve compensation for those losses? The answer to that question hinges on who was at fault for the accident that caused your injury.
Did someone else’s negligence cause your accident and your injuries?
To determine whether you have the right to compensation, a lawyer will determine whether someone else’s negligence caused your injuries. That negligence could be anything from a distracted driver who caused a car accident to a construction company that allowed items to fall and hit you, causing your injuries.
Did you suffer a significant impact from the head trauma you sustained?
You have the right to an injury claim when you sustain head trauma caused by someone else. If you avoid injuries in the accident, you will typically not have grounds for an injury claim. However, if you sustained a concussion or brain injury, you may have the right to claim compensation for your losses.
Damages in a brain injury claim may include:
- Your medical costs, including the cost of any occupational therapy intended to help you cope with the limitations caused by a traumatic brain injury
- The wages you lost if your brain injury prevented you from working
- Pain and suffering, which, in the case of severe TBI, may prove substantial
How Can You Move Forward with a Head Injury Claim?
If you suffered a head injury in an accident caused by another party’s negligence, you can pursue compensation. The process of seeking that compensation may prove difficult, so a lawyer can be beneficial.
Start by contacting a lawyer.
Regardless of how your injury occurred, contact a lawyer as soon as possible to understand your next steps. Head trauma can occur from various accidents, including sporting and car accidents. You may find yourself dealing with an insurance company as you pursue the compensation you deserve. Insurance companies, however, may try to limit the compensation you can recover rather than paying out the amount you might deserve. An attorney can help handle the insurance company and give you a better idea of the compensation you really deserve for your injuries, which may help your claim be more effective.
Keep track of your medical bills and your doctor’s instructions.
Your doctor may provide you with information about your injuries and recovery. Keep track of all instructions given by your care provider, including your doctor’s estimate of how long it may take you to recover. While some people heal fairly quickly from minor head trauma, others may end up with limitations and challenges that last for the rest of their lives. Your doctor’s evidence can help establish the losses you face due to your head injury, while your medical bills can show financial losses as you recover from the injuries caused by someone else’s negligence.
Talk to a Lawyer About Your Head Trauma Claim
If another person’s negligence caused the accident that resulted in your head trauma, you have grounds for a head trauma claim. An attorney can make it easier to learn about your rights and move forward with that claim. Contact a brain injury lawyer as soon after the accident as possible to learn more about the compensation you may deserve for your injuries.