Diagnosing Traumatic Brain Injuries

traumatic brain injury is one of the most troubling and frustrating consequences of car accidents. Car accident victims who suffer from a traumatic brain injury often find difficulty getting appropriate treatment and fair compensation because many of the symptoms of a traumatic brain injury are similar to the symptoms of other medical conditions. As a result, mild traumatic brain injuries are often misdiagnosed and/or insurance companies will try to minimize compensation because of a lack of diagnostic certainly.

Not all brain injuries are associated with a loss of consciousness. Many result in much more subtle changes. Therefore, knowing whether you have suffered a brain injury is not always an easy determination to make. Some common signs and symptoms suggestive of a possible brain injury after a car accident include:

  • Nausea – Dizziness and vomiting are two common symptoms associated with a brain injury. This is generally at its peak shortly after the accident but can linger for weeks, or even years. Prompt medical attention is highly recommended if the nausea or vomiting is very severe immediately after an  accident.
  • Behavioural changes – Structural changes to the brain will often result in large or subtle personality changes after a brain injury. These can take time to develop and may only be noticed by the victim’s friends and family (who know them best). In additional to the structural changes, often a person’s behavioural changes will lead to depression and anxiety and difficulty sleeping at night. As a result, a loved one with a traumatic brain injury may seem more withdrawn or emotional.
  • Memory Issues – This should not come as a surprise to most. Memory loss is a frequent consequence of a brain injury. A car accident victim may not remember the details of the accident and may be confused about past details or life events. Sometimes the memory loss can be permanent. Because short term memory loss is also associated with psychological factors (like PTSD after a car accident), the symptom itself isn’t entirely diagnostic of a brain injury.

A traumatic brain injury, even mild/subtle ones, will often result in negative consequences to the person’s life. Income levels are often affected and treatment regimes can be expensive. If the brain injury is caused by the negligence of another person, insurance compensation may be available for an injury victim who has suffered  the brain injury. However, because these injuries can be subtle and difficult to prove, insurance companies are often reluctant to pay fair compensation. Working with an experienced personal injury lawyer will help make sure you prove what needs to be proved.

A person involved in a car accident may not know that he or she has suffered a mild traumatic brain injury. The only information that a client may have is that he or she has been experiencing generalized fatigue since the car accident. An experienced lawyer will recognize the potential that this person may have suffered a mild brain injury and will do appropriate investigations, such as:

  • Knowing what questions to ask: it is important to ask about the three main signs and symptoms mentioned above. If the car accident victim answers in the affirmative to one or more, then there is a chance that he or she has suffered a brain injury and further investigation should take place.
  • Medical Records: The person’s medical records, including any notes or records from paramedics and other emergency personnel, can also provide important clues about whether the accident may have resulted in a brain injury. Obviously, medical records that indicate the person suffered trauma to the head should be a “red flag” warranting further investigation, as should any mention of unconsciousness, memory loss, headaches, and/or dizziness and confusion.
  • Independent Medical Tests: There are experts specifically trained to assist in diagnosing traumatic brain injuries. The most appropriate of such specialists are generally neuropsychologists who conduct a thorough review of the victim’s medical records and perform specific neuropsychological testing to help determine the presence of any cognitive deficiencies.

While it can be difficult to diagnose a traumatic brain injury in a timely manner, most doctors will agree that doing so is vital to the health of the car accident victim. Mild traumatic brain injury victims often make a good recovery, but the prognosis of any brain injury victim is dependent in part on the amount of time that elapses between the injury and the commencement of treatment. In other words, the sooner a brain injury victim is diagnosed and able to begin receiving appropriate treatment, the greater the odds that the victim will be able to make a good recovery.

If you or a loved one was injured in an accident and believe that a brain injury may have resulted, it is important to speak with your doctor for prompt diagnosis and treatment and a personal injury lawyer experienced with brain injuries to help you recover compensation for income losses and necessary treatment or care. Feel welcome to call the Halifax personal injury lawyers at Valent Legal for more advice on the topic of traumatic brain injuries.


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