Acquired brain injury (ABI) is any type of brain injury not caused by a genetic condition or another congenital abnormality. An ABI can occur because of an accident or illness. They can range in severity from relatively minor to catastrophic. Those who suffer from this type of brain injury may experience physical, cognitive, emotional, and social deficits even after rehabilitation.
Understanding Acquired Brain Injuries
In a traumatic brain injury (TBI), which is a type of acquired brain injury, an external force causes a head injury and resulting trauma to the brain. Some examples include car accidents, falls, sports injuries, gunshots, and violent assaults.
Non-traumatic brain injuries are different. There are no blows to the head or other external causes. Nontraumatic ABIs occur because of medical conditions or accidents that cause problems inside the brain. Some examples include:
- Meningitis and other infectious diseases
- Heart attacks
- Crushing chest injuries
- Near drowning
- Other situations that prevent proper flow of oxygen to the brain
ABIs can be focal or diffuse injuries. In other words, they can affect only one area of your brain, as is the case with a brain tumor. Or they can affect a large part of it, which happens in many near drownings.
Every ABI is different, and those who suffer from this type of brain injury show different sets of symptoms with differing severity. Some of the most common signs of an ABI include:
- Loss of consciousness
- Poor concentration
- Slow response times
- Problems with short-term memory
- Vision problems, including double vision or impaired vision
- Sensory issues, including vision, touch, smell, and hearing
- Emotional and behavioral changes
- Sleep disturbances
- Epilepsy and seizures
Treatment and Recovery After an Acquired Brain Injury
Acquired brain injuries can be mild, moderate, or severe. The severity of an injury is just one factor that plays into how quickly — and how completely — a person recovers from an ABI.
Mild Brain Injuries
A mild brain injury may only cause loss of consciousness for a few minutes if at all. In some cases, mild acquired brain injuries may go undiagnosed. Identifying these injuries and seeking treatment is key. Most people with mild brain injuries recover within a few weeks and have few lasting impairments. They may, however, require therapy, treatment, and follow-up care.
Moderate Brain Injuries
Moderate brain injuries cause a longer loss of consciousness and are usually evident when first responders arrive. Dizziness and disorientation are common when the patient wakes up, and they may last for several hours or even days. Those with moderate brain injuries may need inpatient rehabilitation and therapy to regain their previous abilities. Recovery can take months or up to a year.
Severe Brain Injuries
Severe brain injuries cause extensive damage and may lead to lifelong impairments. In the worst cases, the person requires ongoing nursing care for the rest of their life. Often, those who suffer severe brain injuries need to relearn how to walk and talk, in addition to a number of other everyday tasks. Most people who suffer severe ABIs never fully recover, although many learn to live a fulfilling life despite their difficulties.
Patients who suffer an ABI may require therapy sessions to:
- Regain strength
- Relearn occupational skills
- Work on developing new cognitive connections to improve thinking and memory
- Face the emotional challenges associated with this type of injury
These therapies may continue after they go home. Many people with moderate or severe ABIs cannot return to work for several months, and some never return to their previous job.
Your Acquired Brain Injury May Support a Case for Compensation
While some acquired brain injuries occur because of a medical condition or disease, others may result from an injury caused by someone else’s negligence. An injury that occurred because of near drowning, choking, strangulation or other physical violence, or another personal injury accident could support a case for compensation.
If you or a loved one suffered this type of acquired brain injury, you qualify for a free case evaluation from a member of the Pintas & Mullins team. For more than two decades, Pintas & Mullins has protected the rights of personal injury accident victims and pursued compensation on their behalf. The team from Pintas & Mullins can:
- Evaluate the strength of your case
- Determine if you are eligible to seek compensation
- Explain and protect your rights
- Go after the compensation you deserve