If you were involved in an auto accident that caused a traumatic brain injury (TBI), you will join one of over 5 million Americans who are challenged by the effects of their brain injuries. It's estimated that 1.7 million additional victims suffer brain injuries every year.
When you suffer a brain injury, you could experience emotional, physical and behavioral changes. Victims can suffer adverse symptoms even when the TBI didn't fracture or otherwise break the integrity of the skull or cause unconsciousness.
Motor vehicle accidents are common causes of mild, moderate and severe brain injuries. A concussion is an example of a mild TBI. Doctors determine the level of injury by the amount of time the victim was unconscious following the incident, coupled with the degree of memory loss experienced. However, the level of injury is not directly related to expected patient outcomes.
What you should expect
There is a vast range of symptoms that TBI patients suffer. Some patients might experience some or all of the following physical changes:
- Problems with balance and coordination
- Blurred vision
- Motor impairment
- Changing sleep patterns
- Altered sensory perception
- Loss of control of bladder and/or bowels
- Problems swallowing
- Speech difficulties
- Sexual changes
Those are not the only unwelcome changes that may result from a brain injury. Often, the behavioral and personality changes are even harder to accept.
Some TBI patients can struggle to communicate with others. They may have to stop talking and search for a word and can easily get frustrated with trying to form sentences.
Even the thought processes of a TBI patient can become jumbled. They may have problems with executive functioning like reasoning and applying logic as well as with focusing.
Sometimes a TBI patient's memory returns intact after a short recovery period. Other times, these memories are lost to the patient forever. Naturally, not being able to remember your family members and loved ones can be very depressing. Mood swings, inappropriate anger and outbursts are common in TBI patients.
If all of this sounds overwhelming, it's understandable. However, you should know that there are steps that TBI patients can take to get compensation from the at-fault parties for the injuries and damages they suffered as a result of negligence.