Many patients with a “mild” traumatic brain injury (TBI) continue to suffer problems lasting years beyond their initial injury. Sometimes, the problems are permanent. TBI patients suffering long-term problems know their injuries are anything but mild. They are serious. The word “mild” is a clinical term and it is deceiving. The problems these injury victims suffer are both serious and life-altering. This is what the Brain Injury Association of America says about the term “mild” when applied to a TBI:
The term “mild brain injury” can be misleading. The term “mild” is used in reference to the severity of the initial physical trauma that caused the injury. It does not indicate the severity of the consequences of the injury.
A guide published by the State of Michigan to help TBI victims with their recoveries lists many of the long-term problems these patients suffer. They include:
- Poor concentration
- Memory Problems
- Trouble Thinking
- Blurry Or Double Vision
- Sensitivity To Bright Light
At the Blackwell Law Firm we see long-term TBI problems daily in our personal injury cases. We know — Even a mild traumatic brain injury can cause lasting problems for the victim and his/her family. These effects can harm patients physically, mentally, emotionally and vocationally.
We’ve discussed traumatic brain injuries in numerous articles on our firm blog. Many of our articles fall within the broad topics of:
- Advocating for better diagnostic and medical tools. Many emergency rooms (ER) fail to evaluate or diagnose potential TBI cases. Beyond the ER, many doctors lack experience with TBIs. For many accident victims, like those suffering following a car accident, this leaves the patient and his/her family with little or no treatment guidance. In workers’ compensation cases where the employer’s insurance carrier picks the doctor, many insurance adjusters simply ignore the problem. For the insurance company, it’s a cost-saving measure. And, it’s a cost-cutting issue that harms the injury victim and his/her family.
- Informing loved ones about the impact of brain injuries upon a family. Our firm strongly believes — you should involve loved ones in brain injury cases. Loved ones are usually in the best position to observe cognitive, emotional and behavioral changes in the injured individual. Loved ones must also provide patience, care and understanding with the changes and recovery process of their injured family member.
- Preparing our cases to seek full compensation for the injuries suffered. It’s our goal. We believe lawyers should prepare their cases for trial. While most cases settle, preparation is key to maximizing the value for all clients. TBI cases are very different than simple car wrecks. These cases involve complex medical issues. That’s why a lawyer handling TBI cases must constantly study the research, must work with affected families and must fully prepare every part of the case.
These topics are important to us. They are important to our clients. We write about them frequently. We believe lawyers handling TBI cases should educate their clients and advocate for them.
A new study supports what we have known about the long-term nature of TBI problems. Problems can be long-lasting. The study was conducted by the Dutch Brain Foundation. This new study followed over 1100 TBI patients long-term. The patients came from three separate emergency rooms. The researchers excluded patients that could bias the study such as drug users and individuals with language barriers. While the majority of patients recovered over a period of six months, a significant percentage did not. Among the patients studied, 8% suffered severe disability six months after their injury. And, 22% suffered moderate disability. When 30% of patients diagnosed with a “mild” TBI continue to suffer long-term problems six months after their accident, that’s a huge issue. We believe the number of patients suffering problems is even greater. Why? Many patients are undiagnosed by the ER. Many other patients deny their problems for reasons of embarrassment, fear or pride. We believe many of these individuals (and their families) continue to suffer in silence.
Mild TBI injuries can present long-lasting (and even permanent) problems for injury victims. These injuries can create chronic cognitive and emotional issues. TBI victims and their families must work together to promote the recovery process.