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4 ways a traumatic brain injury can change your life

A traumatic brain injury is one of the worst injuries you can suffer in a car accident. Not only are brain injuries different for everyone, but they can last for life. This is something you may never fully overcome. You could be hit when you're in your 20s and have symptoms for life, needing long-term care, rehabilitation and medication for decades to come. Below are a few examples of how a TBI can change your life:

1. Lasting physical and mental symptoms


One woman was at a stoplight when another driver ran the red and hit her. She has recovered in many ways, but still has lasting symptoms. Some, like cognitive fatigue, are mental symptoms. Others, like consistent headaches, are physical. Either way, since her crash happened back in 1996 - more than two decades ago - it's very clear that it changed the course of her life. She may never go back to the life that she knew before the crash.

2. Derailed careers and hobbies

Another woman was in an accident just two years later, in 1998. A semitruck did not slow down and stop in time, and it rear-ended her vehicle. Before the accident, she'd hoped that she could join the U.S. Equestrian team. In a split second, that dream was taken away from her. She now has "cognitive slips" and can't get by without a service dog. She'll never be able to follow through on what she'd worked so hard for back in the late 90s.

3. Hidden symptoms

Symptoms aren't always obvious. When one woman was involved in a four-car accident, she didn't show any signs right away and didn't take a trip to the hospital. She had a concussion, a closed head injury, and had no idea. Only months later did she find out how badly she'd been hurt.

Seven years after that, she was still trying to overcome the symptoms and took heart in the fact that she saw improvement, though she did note that a lot of people don't fully understand how bad head injuries like concussions can be, thinking of them as mild injuries. As her case shows, even "mild" injuries can stretch on for years.

4. Lost skills

In some cases, those who are hurt have to relearn skills. One man wound up in a coma for four weeks with a brain injury. After he woke up, he had a long road ahead of him. He couldn't talk or walk, and he had to relearn both abilities. That accident happened in 1989, and he's still rehabbing and seeing lasting issues - like a bit of a limp when he's walking or issues with emotional control.

Brain injuries can be horrific, and, as these examples show, recovery can be an incredibly long process. When you're going through this, you must know your rights to financial compensation, both for your medical bills and for everything you've lost.

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