How to Recognize and Treat a Mild Traumatic Brain Injury After an Accident

A Traumatic Brain Injury or “TBI” occurs when a sudden trauma causes damage to the brain (TBI may also be referred to as an Acquired Brain Injury or Intracranial Injury). TBIs can occur as a result of impact to the head or movements that cause the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth. TBIs can be caused by car accidents, slip-and-fall injuries or sporting injuries. For example, a car accident victim who did not hit his head may still have suffered a TBI when his body was thrown forward from the force of the collision, and then jerked back by his seatbelt.

Mild TBIs cause a brief change in mental status and can involve a short loss of consciousness or a period of confusion, disorientation and/or loss of memory. Concussions are a form of mild TBI. The effects of a mild TBI may not be revealed through MRI or CAT scans and so a mild TBI may not be undiagnosed when you are injured. The ongoing symptoms from a mild TBI – sometimes called post-concussive syndrome – can affect your cognitive, physical and emotional functioning.

Even if you are not diagnosed with a mild TBI after a car accident or slip-and-fall where you hit your head or were jostled, you may notice symptoms developing in the days or weeks after your injury. You should watch out for the following common symptoms of a mild TBI and tell your family doctor if you experience any of the following:

• Headaches;
• Fatigue;
• Problems with your vision;
• Sensitivity to light;
• Sensitivity to sound;
• Short-term memory loss or other difficulties with memory;
• Reduced attention and/or ability to concentrate;
• Troubled sleep patterns;
• Dizziness and loss of balance;
• Changes in mood, including irritability and feelings of depression;
• Feeling confused or lost;
• Reduced or delayed thinking abilities (feeling slower or “fuzzier” in your thinking);
• Nausea; and,
• Trouble remembering words in everyday conversations.

In addition to pain relievers and rest, there are ways to help treat and cope with your impairments following a mild TBI. There are numerous types of professionals – occupational therapists, physiotherapists, speech language pathologists, personal support workers, rehabilitation support workers and psychologists, to name a few – that can help you in your recovery from a mild TBI or assist with strategies to manage your symptoms.

If your TBI was caused by a car accident, you may be entitled to accident benefits from your insurance company. These benefits should cover the costs of treatment for your TBI, even if you were at fault for the collision. If you were injured in a car accident or slip-and-fall and experienced a mild TBI, you should speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer to help you access treatment for your injuries. If you are not at fault for your accident, your lawyer may also be able to bring a lawsuit against the person who caused your injury.

About the Authors

As a partner at Oatley Vigmond, Lara Fitzgerald-Husek uses her empathy, creativity, and trial experience to connect with her clients and help them move forward after trauma. Lara focuses her practice solely on personal injury, and she is determined to get her clients the best possible outcome—the one they deserve.

To learn more about Lara, please click here.