How does a brain injury impact a patient?

Written on behalf of Abramson Smith Waldsmith LLP

There are many symptoms of traumatic brain injuries that can have long-term, if not life-long, consequences. For patients first experiencing an injury, it can be unclear how much they’ll recover and if they have a chance of recovery at all. Many people only recover significantly through the first year or two following an accident, with extremely small, incremental recoveries after that.

There are a number of different possible symptoms patients could face following a moderate-to-severe traumatic brain injury. Some can be life-altering, while others are simply an aggravation throughout the recovery process. Here’s a little more about what patients might expect after an injury.

Motor deficits and the disabilities traumatic brain injuries cause

Some of the most common examples of the deficits caused by moderate-to-severe TBIs include:

  • Paralysis
  • Problems talking
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Vision problems
  • Loss of fine motor skills
  • Trouble with social relationships
  • Trouble with memory
  • Trouble with cognition
  • Difficulty moving objects or carrying things
  • Spasticity
  • Uncontrolled movements
  • The inability to maintain or keep a job or go to school
  • Trouble interacting socially
  • Trouble being part of social activities
  • Difficulties maintaining and making new business or personal relationships

These are a few issues that occur depending on the type of injury and part of the brain impacted. More specifically, there are cognitive and physical effects. There are also sensory, perceptual, speech and language issues that might occur.

Physical issues that emerge due to a traumatic brain injury may surprise you. Some include:

  • A loss of vision
  • Diplopia, the weakness of the eye muscles
  • Photophobia, or intolerance to light
  • Anosmia, loss of smell
  • Chronic bad tastes in the mouth
  • A loss of hearing
  • Tinnitus
  • Intolerance to sounds

Social effects might include:

  • Depression
  • Aggression
  • Irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Dependent behaviors
  • Lack of inhibitions

For people struggling with these issues, good medical care is a key component to getting back to as much of a normal life as possible. Some people benefit from occupational therapies. Others benefit from taking prescription medications. Typically, it’s a combination of therapies that provide the best outcome for patients and their families.

For those who suffer brain injuries, it’s important not to take a settlement too early. Taking a settlement in the early stages of the injury makes it impossible to know how well you’ll recover over time. You may find that you need more care than expected, which is why it’s necessary to delay taking a settlement or to allow for a higher settlement to cover potential needs later in life.

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