Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) usually happen after a jolt or violent blow to the head. Penetration injuries like gunshot wounds can also cause damage that affects the brain. After an accident, it’s crucial to know the signs of a brain injury.
Mild TBI usually recovers with time. Moderate to severe brain injuries can have long-term or permanent effects. Some symptoms do not show up for days or months later.
If you notice any signs of a brain injury, see a doctor immediately. You should also get medical attention after an accident that could cause brain trauma.
How to Identify Signs of a Brain Injury
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), brain injury symptoms fall into four categories:
After an accident, it’s important to monitor someone for changes in any of these categories. Again, signs can take time to show up. Below, we’ll also cover dangerous signs that you need to see a doctor.
There are mild, moderate, and severe brain injuries. Let’s look at some of the symptoms for each type.
Signs of Mild Brain Injury
Mild concussions are common brain injuries. Family members and even doctors can overlook mild injuries. Someone might appear okay at first.
It’s important to watch someone closely after an accident. If the person seems “off” at all, go to the doctor.
Physical signs of a mild brain injury include:
- Losing consciousness for a few seconds to a few minutes
- Nausea or vomiting
- Trouble sleeping (or sleeping more)
- Speech issues
A mild brain injury can also affect someone’s senses. They might have:
- Ringing in the ears
- Blurred vision
- Changes in smell or taste
- Sensitivity to sound or light
You might also notice a difference in a person’s mood. They could experience:
- Feelings of anxiety or depression
- Mood swings
- Trouble concentrating or remembering
The term “mild” does not mean “no big deal.” Even a mild concussion needs prompt treatment.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), falls and auto accidents are the leading causes of brain injuries. After an accident, it’s vital for you and your loved ones to see a doctor. You will need to rule out brain-related injuries.
Signs of Moderate to Severe Brain Injury
Moderate to severe brain injuries can have more obvious signs. However, the symptoms can still take time to develop. Someone with a more severe brain injury can have mild signs, too.
Within hours to days after the injury, someone could have these signs.
- Headaches that stay or worsen
- Seizures or convulsions
- Loss of coordination
- Loss of consciousness for several minutes to many hours
- Pupil dilation
- Clear fluids draining from the ears or nose
- Recurring nausea or vomiting
- Numbness in the toes or fingers
- Not being able to wake up from sleep
Moderate or severe brain injuries can have more obvious mental symptoms. Those may include:
- Slurred speech
- Severe confusion
- Agitated or other unusual behavior
- Loss of muscle control
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, cognitive changes are most common in brain injuries. Many people have trouble learning or remembering new information. Someone could also have issues with:
- Organizing their thoughts
- Paying attention
- Completing tasks
- Doing activities
- Having good judgment
Even after someone seems to have recovered, they can experience issues years later. Sometimes, the problem will take years to develop fully.
Dangerous Brain Injury Signs in Adults
Some brain injuries can develop a blood clot that crowds the brain. Although this is rare, it’s dangerous. Get emergency medical attention for any of these symptoms:
- Slurred speech
- Convulsions or seizures
- Headaches that worsen or stay
- Inability to recognize places or people
- Numbness or weakness
- Repeated nausea or vomiting
- One eye pupil larger than the other
- Increased confusion or restlessness
- Loss of consciousness
- Unusual behavior
We have covered many of these symptoms above. Any sign of brain injury is a reason to see a doctor.
Dangerous Brain Injury Signs in Children
Children can also suffer from brain injuries after trauma to the head. Danger signs for kids include:
- Not nursing or eating
- Continuous crying
- Any of the danger signs for adults
Any brain injury is a severe injury. If you or a loved one has signs or a brain injury, get medical treatment immediately. It’s essential to diagnose a brain injury early on.
How a Doctor Diagnoses a Brain Injury
Doctors will often run imaging tests to look for head injuries. CT scans are common to look for bleeding, swelling, clotting, or fractures. Your doctor could also order an MRI scan. They’ll be able to see the brain in more detail with an MRI.
Your doctor will also use the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) for your head injury. This test looks at your mental status. The lower the GCS score, the more severe the damage.
Your doctor will ask you questions about your injuries. It’s best to bring someone you trust with you. You might not remember all of the details of your accident. A loved one who saw the collision is most helpful.
Talk to a Brain Injury Lawyer for Free Today
Brain injuries often result from traumatic accidents. If someone else caused your accident, you might be entitled to compensation. At John Foy & Associates, we fight for the right of brain injury victims.
We can handle the legal side of things after your accident. We’ll work to build a strong injury claim for your damages. Meanwhile, you can focus on healing.
Contact us today for a FREE, no-risk consultation. We do not charge a fee unless we win your case. Call (404) 400-4000 or contact us online to get started for FREE today.