Understanding traumatic brain injuries and recovery

Statistics show that around 1.4 million patients attend hospital in England and Wales every year with a recent head injury and that traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are the most common cause of death and disability in people under the age of 40. If you or a loved one has experienced a TBI it can be a lot to come to terms with. Aside from the potential physical changes, you may experience some cognitive and physiological ones too. 

But understanding traumatic brain injuries and what you can do to get your life back on track can be a helpful part of the recovery process. 

Doctor looking at her patient

  • What is a traumatic brain injury?

    A traumatic brain injury is the result of a blow to the head. This can be caused by anything from a simple trip to a major road accident. A TBI is further classified as mild, moderate or severe. 

    At Shoosmiths, we help people come to terms with moderate and severe traumatic brain injuries. We help them get the compensation they need to get the professional help they require.

  • What is a moderate TBI?
    A moderate TBI is the term used when a person experiences changes in brain function for longer than a few minutes following trauma. While initial symptoms may be similar to a mild TBI, the symptoms of a moderate TBI don't go away and may even get worse.
  • What is a severe TBI?
    A severe TBI refers to a person who experiences an extended period of unconsciousness or amnesia following trauma. A severe TBI may result in a wide range of short- or long-term challenges in brain function, motor function, sensory function and emotional state. 
  • What causes a TBI?

    Traumatic brain injuries are caused by external force and can include:

    • The head being struck by an object
    • The head striking an object
    • The brain undergoing an acceleration/deceleration movement without direct external trauma to the head
    • A foreign body penetrating the brain
    • Forces generated from events such as blasts or explosions
    • Other undefined forces

    Head injuries are the most common cause of death and disability in people aged 1-40, with men more likely to be admitted to hospital for a head injury. However, data reveals women are increasingly at risk and appear to be catching up with men. 

How can brain trauma affect someone?

Sadly, brain trauma can affect different people in myriad ways and no two TBI cases are the same. A traumatic brain injury can have wide-ranging physical and psychological effects. Some symptoms may appear immediately after the event, while others may appear hours, days or even weeks later. 

After a minor accident, there might not be any clear signs of brain trauma. Initially, you might feel dizzy, nauseous, confused or sensitive to light. But some tell-tale symptoms could start to appear in the hours and days after a blow to the head that will need medical attention as soon as possible.The NHS offers a guide of what to look out for.

Moderate to severe traumatic brain injuries can include any of the signs and symptoms of a mild injury, as well as a loss of consciousness, repeated vomiting or nausea, seizures, a loss of coordination, weakness or numbness in the extremities, and an inability to awake from sleep. 

It's also important to note that the effects of brain trauma aren't always physical. Several cognitive and mental symptoms could suggest a more traumatic brain injury, including confusion, agitation or other unusual behaviour, slurred speech or a coma. 

By getting medical attention quickly, you can give yourself the best chance of speeding up the traumatic brain injury recovery process. Headway, the brain injury association and an organisation that we work with, says most people who sustain a minor head injury can start to be symptom-free within two weeks.

What is the traumatic brain injury recovery process?

Of course, the traumatic brain injury recovery process is always dependent on how serious the injury is. Each injury is as different and unique as the person who suffers it. For mild traumatic brain injuries, the recovery time can be relatively quick and the effects short-lived. 

But our experience supporting brain injury compensation claims means we also know how much longer the severe traumatic brain injury recovery process can take. Even then, the effect of moderate or serious brain trauma can be permanent and life-changing.

The process of recovery may involve treatment for physical injuries, as well as occupational therapy or cognitive behavioural therapy to help an individual – and their loved ones – overcome, or adjust to, the impact of brain trauma.

How can rehabilitation help the recovery process?

The brain is a highly complex organ and to this day we are still learning and understanding how it works. As a result of this, rehabilitation after a brain injury is largely unpredictable as every injury is unique. 

Unlike most cells of the body, brain cells don't regenerate when they are destroyed. However, this does not mean that no recovery can occur. Rehabilitation aims to help the brain learn alternative ways of working to minimise the long-term impact of the injury. It also helps the survivor and the family cope successfully with any remaining disabilities. 

How compensation can help with the traumatic brain injury process

Above all, the focus of the traumatic brain injury recovery process should be on the health and wellbeing of the person affected. No matter how severe the injury or however long it takes, it’s important that someone can get back as normal a life as possible.

Of course, making a traumatic brain injury claim can’t undo any pain and suffering. But time is an important part of brain trauma recovery. So, in the first instance, the compensation you receive can cover any lost income or treatment costs for as long as it takes to get better.

We understand the compensation and initial care and treatment can be a real lifeline for someone’s severe traumatic brain injury recovery. 

If you or a loved one has suffered a traumatic brain injury that has affected your ability to live the life you once had, you may be able to make a claim. And that’s where we can help. 

We’ve helped numerous people who have been in a similar situation – such as Nicola Cooper, who suffered a brain injury after a road traffic accident– and we can do the same for you.

Talk to us in confidence about your experience by messaging us now.

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