There’s no such thing as a “minor” traumatic brain injury (TBI). Even a concussion has the potential to cause significant long-term damage if the victim doesn’t get prompt medical care. Serious brain injuries can lead to lifelong disabilities.
A lot of that has to do with the unique nature of the human brain. The true consequences of a TBI are rarely immediately apparent.
What makes the effects of a TBI hard to predict?
In the initial aftermath of an accident, it may be hard to get clear answers about a TBI victim’s odds of recovery or the extent of the damage. That’s because:
- Inflammation may cause additional damage: Inflammation is the body’s natural immunological response, but inflammation causes swelling. Swelling inside someone’s brain, however, can cause more damage as fragile brain matter is forced against the unforgiving boundaries of someone’s skull. Secondary damage can sometimes be worse than the initial blow.
- Cellular loss inside the brain cannot be repaired: Unlike other bodily tissues, the neurons in the brain cannot be easily regenerated. The brain essentially has to try to “rewire” around damaged cells through a process called neuroplasticity and create new connections. However, that isn’t always possible.
- Scar tissue can create additional problems: Scars actually stabilize injured areas, but they can also inhibit those new neuroplastic connections that the brain is trying to create during recovery. Scar tissue can also lead to additional medical issues like epilepsy and mesial temporal sclerosis.
Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are a major source of disability in the United States. They’re commonly associated with serious falls, gunshot wounds, violent attacks and motor vehicle wrecks – but they can happen in all kinds of ways. If you or a loved one has suffered a TBI, it may be wise to explore your options to seek the compensation you deserve.