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How to Identify Symptoms of a Traumatic Brain Injury

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 1.7 million people suffer traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) every year in the United States. Furthermore, it is estimated that TBIs are responsible for about 1/3 of all accident-related fatalities each year. Traumatic brain injuries occur through a sudden force or jolt from a fall or an object hitting a person’s head. They can also result from an object penetrating a victims’ skull. While traumatic brain injuries can be mild (such as concussions), or severe, they often have noticeable symptoms. If you or a loved one experience signs of a traumatic brain injury, it is important to seek medical attention right away.

3 Types of Brain Injury

There are generally 3 types of traumatic brain injuries. The first type is a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI). This is usually known as a concussion, and is caused by a blow to the head. Mild traumatic brain injuries typically require rest, pain medication, and restricted activities during recovery.

The second type is a moderate traumatic brain injury. This involves a loss of consciousness for 20 minutes up to 6 hours. It also involves a Glasgow Coma Scale rating of 9 to 12. This is a more severe injury than a mild traumatic brain injury, and requires more extensive medical care.

The third type is called a severe traumatic brain injury. It includes a loss of consciousness for longer than 6 hours, as well as a Glasgow Coma Scale rating of 3 to 8. This is the most serious type of traumatic brain injury, and can even be fatal.

Symptoms of a traumatic brain injury fall into 4 broad categories. These include:

  • Physical symptoms. Victims of traumatic brain injuries will most likely experience a variety of physical symptoms. These include headaches, dizziness, seizures, and fatigue. Partial paralysis, appetite changes, insomnia, and other physical disorders can also occur after a traumatic brain injury. More severe TBIs may result in coma, chronic pain, and other physical symptoms. Treatment of these symptoms generally has the goal of reducing pain and helping the patient recover as comfortably as possible.
  • Cognitive symptoms. Because traumatic brain injuries affect the brain, cognitive abilities may be impaired. Patients may suffer from confusion, impulsiveness, and a slow information processing time. Furthermore, TBI patients may experience memory loss (called amnesia), as well as difficulty processing language. Much is still unknown about the cognitive impact of TBIs, but treatment often involves various therapies to help the patient maintain and strengthen cognitive functions.
  • Social/behavioral symptoms. Traumatic brain injuries can also affect a person’s emotional, social, and behavioral patterns. For example, a typically quiet and mellow person may become angry and easily irritable after suffering a TBI. Others may suffer from depression, anxiety, lack of awareness or motivation, disinhibition (lack of self-control or restraint), and aggression. A person’s behavior and emotions may change significantly, and these symptoms may be temporary or permanent.
  • Sensory symptoms. In addition to physical, cognitive, and social/behavioral symptoms, TBI patients may experience sensory symptoms. Blurred vision, blindness, or involuntary eye movements commonly affect a patient’s sense of sight. Furthermore, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), sensitivity to noise, and hearing loss may result from a TBI. Patients may also suffer a lost sense of taste and smell, and have difficulty interpreting touch sensations like temperature and texture.

Call Our San Francisco Brain Injury Lawyers Today at (415) 940-7176

Rouda Feder Tietjen & McGuinn represents clients who have suffered traumatic brain injuries due to someone else’s negligence. Our firm is committed to meeting the legal needs of clients in a timely manner. Whatever your situation, we can discuss your options for pursuing a settlement and guide you through the process. Since 1980, our San Francisco brain injury attorneys have fought on behalf of clients in a variety of lawsuits.

Contact us today for a free consultation.