Classifying Traumatic Brain Injury Severity
There are many different kinds of brain injuries from a medical perspective. Concussions, penetrating brain injuries, contusions, and other injury classifications are critical for a doctor’s work. However, from a legal perspective, traumatic brain injuries are classified by severity. The three levels of traumatic brain injury severity are classified using the following:
Mild Brain Injury
Mild injuries are serious but often don’t leave victims with permanent consequences. Some common symptoms of mild brain injuries could include:
- Vomiting and Dizziness
- Mild Memory Loss
- Brief or no loss of consciousness
Moderate Brain Injury
Moderate brain injuries can leave more lasting consequences. Some of the symptoms of a moderate brain injury could include:
- Signs of brain trauma, which present in a huge variety of ways
- Bleeding or contusions to the brain
- Signs of injury on neuroimaging (CT scans, PET scans, etc.)
- Loss of consciousness for up to 24 hours
Severe Brain Injury
Severe brain injuries almost always have long-lasting or permanent consequences. Signs of a severe brain injury could include the following:
- Signs of severe injury on neuroimaging
- Loss of sleep/wake cycle during loss of consciousness
- Unconsciousness exceeding 24 hours
How a Brain Injury Affects Quality of Life
Any moderate or severe TBI is likely to affect the victim’s quality of life negatively. A 2013 study published by the National Library of Medicine found that just over 75% of TBI victims reported diminished quality of life regarding memory, capacity for thought, leisure activities, and capacity to work and receive income. Additionally, many victims reported a loss of agency due to the need for assistance in home settings due to the challenges of a long-term brain injury.
How Expensive is a Brain Injury?
Given the specialized and delicate care required to operate on and treat brain injuries, treatment and care costs can become prohibitively high very quickly. The average hospital stay for a traumatic brain injury rests around $50,000 for three days of hospital care, but costs can quickly skyrocket for extended treatment periods, surgery, physical and cognitive therapy, and more.
Another factor worth considering in TBI cases is the abstract cost of lost income. Typically, you can expect to make a set income in a year or even a lifetime. If you suddenly lose that economic opportunity due to the persistent problems from a brain injury, you’ve taken on an enormous financial cost that you likely were not prepared for.
Evidence Used in Traumatic Brain Injury Cases
The evidence used to prove a traumatic brain injury occurred due to an accident is most useful when collected as soon after the accident as possible. Some of this evidence is the kind that is useful in any personal injury case; pictures of the accident scene, video footage of the accident occurring, witness testimonies, and police reports can all confirm fault in an accident.
However, TBI cases especially show why it is crucial to consult a medical professional directly following an accident. A doctor will likely notice signs of a TBI immediately and order the correct tests and treatments. However, they also take extended notes and might use neuroimaging to show that an injury recently occurred. All of this is valuable evidence in proving a TBI happened because of the at-fault party.