In our personal injury practice, it is common for clients to come to us with complaints of dizziness, headaches and confusion following a car crash. We are always suspicious that these symptoms might indicate a concussion or brain injury, whether they hit their head in the crash or lost consciousness, and even if the doctor at the emergency room did not diagnose a brain injury.
This is because brain injuries can be difficult to diagnose. Traditional imaging like MRI and CT are good at finding the presence of blood from torn blood vessels. However, they are unable to detect microscopic damage to the more delicate axons of the brain; it is these axons that communicate with one another for normal brain function. Further, from the perspective of the casual medical provider, the person’s behavior seems normal. Because of this, the most reliable source of information for understanding the extent of someone’s brain injury is from careful interviews with the patient, close friends and family.
Although every individual’s experience with traumatic brain injury is unique, there are many common neuropsychological symptoms and emotions.
- Intellectual problems
Many people who have had a brain injury will experience changes in their thinking (cognitive) skills. It may be more difficult to focus and take longer to process their thoughts. Other cognitive problems might include trouble with memory, learning, reasoning, judgment, attention or concentration, executive functioning, problem-solving, multitasking, organization, planning, decision-making, and/or beginning or finishing tasks.
- Communication problems
Language and communication problems are common following a traumatic brain injury. These problems can cause frustration, conflict and misunderstanding for people with a brain injury, as well as family members, friends and care providers. Communication problems may include difficulty understanding speech or writing; difficulty speaking or writing; inability to organize thoughts and ideas; as well as trouble following and participating in conversations.
- Social problems
Someone with a brain injury may have social problems caused by trouble with turn taking or topic selection in conversations; problems with changes in tone, pitch or emphasis to express emotions, attitudes or subtle differences in meaning; difficulty understanding nonverbal signals; trouble reading cues from listeners; trouble starting or stopping conversations; and/or
inability to use the muscles needed to form words. These social problems lead to challenges maintaining relationships.
- Behavioral changes
People who’ve experienced a brain injury often experience changes in behaviors. These may include:difficulty with self-control, lack of awareness of abilities, risky behavior, difficulty in social situations, and/or verbal or physical outbursts.
- Emotional changes
Emotional changes a brain injury sufferer may experience include: depression; anxiety; mood swings; irritability; lack of empathy for others; anger; fear; and/or insomnia.
- Sensory problems
Someone with a brain injury may have problems involving their senses, which may include: persistent ringing in the ears; difficulty recognizing objects; impaired hand-eye coordination; blind spots or double vision; a bitter taste, a bad smell or difficulty smelling; skin tingling, pain or itching; and/or trouble with balance or dizziness.
Although brain damage is permanent, there are treatments available to help the injured person manage symptoms and adapt to his condition, including speech therapy, physical therapy, recreational therapy, occupational therapy, adaptive equipment training and counseling.
Looking for guidance with a potential traumatic brain injury case? Our experienced team of attorneys here at Fulmer Sill can assist. We may be able to help you recover compensation for economic damages, as well as any intangible losses, such as loss of life’s enjoyment. Please contact us at (405)510-0077 for a free consultation or request a case review here.