Medical Issues: The Symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injury - What to Look For

Traumatic brain injuries: What symptoms to look for

Each year, approximately 1.5 million Americans suffer a traumatic brain injury (TBI) of some degree. For decades, the brain injury attorneys at Allen & Allen have worked with clients that have suffered brain injuries caused by the negligence of others. Because many of our clients have sustained this type of injury, our attorneys are accustomed to seeing the many and varied causes and manifestations surrounding this issue.

a doctor checks brain scans for traumatic brain injury

Of course, we are not physicians, and do not diagnose brain injuries. However, we try to remain alert to the possibility that a client may have sustained an unrecognized brain injury in addition to more obvious injuries like a broken leg, lacerated spleen, or shoulder and neck strain. Surprisingly, brain injuries can be difficult to diagnose.

What causes a traumatic brain injury?

Distress can occur due to the result of:

  • Falls
  • Product defects
  • Car crashes
  • Motorcycle wrecks
  • Truck accidents
  • Sporting injury
  • Active combat
  • Assault

These are just a few causes from a myriad of possibilities. Symptoms of traumatic brain injury can range from subtle effects to more obvious signs. Patients and even health care providers often fail to recognize the more subtle symptoms of a mild brain injury; often they assume that these symptoms are either exaggerated or related to other medical conditions. Sometimes even family members may notice a change in a relative’s behavior or listen to their complaints, but chalk it up to just “getting older”.

woman getting a ct scan to check for a brain injury

The truth is that traumatic brain injuries may be revealed through a wide variety of physical and psychological symptoms. Sometimes it takes modern technology, such as an MRI or a CT scan, to pinpoint or document an issue. However, the most important thing for the injured person and their family to do is to pay attention to any possible symptoms and act immediately to seek medical help when they suspect a possible brain injury.

What are the signs and symptoms of a brain injury?

Typical signs and symptoms of mild traumatic brain injuries (like a concussion) may include some of the following:

  • Loss of consciousness, usually for a brief period at the time of injury
  • Vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness or loss of balance
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Memory problems
  • Amnesia for events occurring just before or after an injury
  • Changes in mood or behavior
  • Confusion
  • Blurred vision, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), or a bad taste in the mouth

man with a headache caused by a brain injury

What are the signs and symptoms of a more severe brain injury?

It’s easier to recognize and diagnose persons who have suffered moderate to severe traumatic brain injuries because many are hospitalized immediately after an injury and undergo extensive testing. Moreover, their symptoms are likely to be more obvious, including:

  • Seizures or convulsions
  • Continued vomiting or nausea
  • Persistent headaches
  • Combativeness and/or agitation
  • Loss of coordination
  • Slurring of speech
  • Dilation of one or both pupils of the eye
  • Profound confusion
  • Weakness or numbness in arms or legs
  • An inability to awaken from sleep

Always keep in mind that some signs of serious traumatic brain injury come on gradually – weeks or months after an initial injury. For example, an elderly person may fall and hit their head, but the signs and symptoms of a developing subdural hematoma may not become obvious for many weeks. When they do, the patient and/or their family must act quickly to get appropriate, potentially lifesaving medical care.

How can I tell if my child has suffered a brain injury?

Children may be harder to diagnose because they are often too young to communicate effectively. For this reason, parents should look for changes in a child’s normal behavior such as:

  • Altered sleep patterns
  • Deteriorating academic performance at school
  • Loss of interest in favorite toys or activities
  • Listless behavior and unusual crankiness
  • Refusal to eat

Even a mild brain injury can have adverse effects on a person’s daily activities, employment, and enjoyment of life. For this reason, the sooner a diagnosis is made and treatment begins, the sooner a brain-injured person can move towards recovery.

If you or a loved one have suffered a traumatic brain injury caused by the negligence of another, you may be entitled to compensation. Reach out to Allen & Allen today for a free consultation to discuss your unique situation at 866-388-1307.