People suffering traumatic brain injury (TBI) can appear normal. TBI victims may look perfectly fine. That’s why this condition is often called the “invisible injury.” Because TBI victims can look fine on the outside, these injuries present many special challenges. Because TBI is an “invisible injury,” friends, family and even medical professionals often fail to understand the injury or support the victim. This leaves many TBI victims suffering largely in silence.
Brain injuries can cause many different cognitive, emotional and behavioral problems affecting relationships and work. In our law practice, we have seen many of these impacts on individuals, families and jobs. One ability sometimes impacted by brain injury is referred to as “Impartial third-party punishment (TPP).” TPP is the ability to judge the severity of conduct and assess reasonable punishment. People suffering this problem — are more prone to misjudge when faced with situations involving disputes or requiring discipline.
In the larger context, patients suffering an impairment in TPP may also struggle with evaluating the intentions of others around them as well as with making other rational judgments. As humans, we are required to make these rational judgments throughout the day. This ability is necessary to function in every family and in many jobs. That’s what makes this injury very serious. As the director of brain research at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago says: