Many people know about the immediate effects of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). There are headaches, blackouts, feelings of confusion, mood swings, and sensitivity to light and noise.
For many, concussion symptoms will go away within a month. But for others, their effects can last for multiple months and even years. If you’re dealing with long-term concussion symptoms, we don’t have to tell you about their toll on your daily life. They can cost you emotionally, cognitively, physically, and financially.
In this article, we’ll explore some of these costs and talk about how you can get compensation with the help of a traumatic brain injury lawyer if you are bearing this burden due to the carelessness or negligence of others.
What are TBIs?
Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are brain dysfunctions caused by an outside force, usually a blow or jolt to the head. Concussions are the most common types of TBIs and occur when the brain is shaken or jolted within the skull. This can result in the brain bruising, swelling, and/or bleeding.
Another type of TBI is a penetrating injury, which occurs when an object (such as a bullet, shrapnel, etc.) enters the brain, damaging brain tissue, nerves, and/or blood vessels.
What are Common TBI Symptoms?
Mild TBI symptoms may include:
- Loss of consciousness
- Lack of balance
- Difficulty speaking
- Memory problems
Moderate to severe TBI symptoms may include:
- Loss of consciousness for a prolonged period (several minutes to hours)
- Headache that persists and/or worsens
- Prolonged vomiting
- Convulsions or seizures
- Dilation of one or both pupils
- Inability to awaken from sleep
- Weakness or numbness in fingers and toes
- Profound confusion
- Agitation or combative behavior
- Slurred speech
What are the Common Causes of TBIs?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that the top causes of TBIs are falls. Other common causes include car accidents, assaults, firearm injuries, and sports injuries.
Why Are My Concussion Symptoms Lingering?
You may know someone who got a concussion, had a headache for about a week, and then moved on with their life. So why won’t your TBI symptoms go away?
If your symptoms persist, you may have post-concussion syndrome. More studies are needed to understand why some people develop this syndrome. Current research shows that it is more common in women, but this may be because more women seek treatment for it.
Post-concussion syndrome is linked to age; older TBI victims are at greater risk for developing post-concussion syndrome. People who have had previous TBIs may also be at greater risk for post-concussion syndrome.
How do I Get Diagnosed?
Since symptoms are vague and may be attributed to other sources, there’s no definitive test for post-concussion syndrome. Your doctor will review your symptoms and medical history related to your head injury. They may also order a CT scan or MRI of your head to see if there are visible signs of brain trauma.
How Post-Concussion Syndrome Can Change Your Life
Mental Health. Concussions can cause mood swings, leaving you crying for no reason or filled with rage over the smallest things. They can cause you to become irritable and agitated. Things that never bothered you before may grate on your nerves.
They can cause you to feel anxious and fearful about specific situations or the future in general. They can cause depression, leaving you sad and empty and unable to enjoy the things that once made you happy.
This can happen in people who had no mental health problems before. For those who struggled with mental health before their TBI, a brain injury can kick these struggles into high gear.
Why? Concussions can come with an avalanche of stress that triggers mental health problems. You may feel stressed out about how to get the proper treatment and feel frustrated if treatment is not working as well or quickly as you would like. The cost of treatment can strain your budget and cause additional worry.
The inability to do all that you used to do (participate in social gatherings, keep up with school work, perform well on the job, etc.) can leave you with a profound sense of loss and fear for the future.
If the people around you have not experienced post-concussion syndrome, they may not be very empathetic, causing feelings of abandonment and isolation.
Cognitive Health. Cognition refers to your ability to sort, comprehend, retain, and use information. A TBI can affect your ability to concentrate. You may find that you are restless, easily distracted, and have trouble sticking to and finishing tasks.
TBIs can also delay your ability to process information. You may find that you don’t follow conversations or television shows as easily and take longer to understand written information. You may also have slower reaction times, which can affect your driving.
TBIs can make it difficult for you to accomplish tasks because you can’t easily break big jobs into smaller ones. You may have trouble recalling information, thinking of the right word, or solving problems. TBIs can also cause you to speak or act impulsively or inappropriately.
Physical Health. TBIs can cause mobility problems, weakness or paralysis, fatigue, difficulty with speech, seizures, and sensory impairment. This can affect your ability to work, drive, and participate in everyday life with loved ones. TBIs can also disrupt your sleep patterns. You may be so tired you can hardly stay awake or have trouble falling asleep. Both are common outcomes of TBIs.
Finances. When you have a TBI, medical bills can pile up. There are initial evaluations with doctor visits and testing (may include CT scans and MRIs). There may be ongoing therapy and rehabilitation costs, as well as prescription drug costs. Some TBIs may require adaptive equipment (wheelchairs, etc.), home modifications, and in-home care.
If your TBI leaves you unable to work in the same capacity as before your injury or unable to work at all, you may experience lost wages.
Do I Have Legal Recourse After a TBI?
Yes! If your injury occurred due to the negligence of another person, laws are in place to help you recover compensation for your losses. You may be able to get compensation for medical care, rehabilitation, diminished or lost wages, and potentially even pain and suffering.
A qualified traumatic brain injury attorney here in Las Vegas can help you fight for the compensation that you deserve. Not only does this compensation include past losses, but an attorney can also help you calculate future financial losses based on your injury and how it could continue to affect your life.
Without the help of an experienced TBI attorney, you might settle with an insurance company only to find out later that your award doesn’t begin to cover the ongoing costs of your lingering TBI.