There are three levels of brain injury, classified based on severity. These levels include:
Doctors use a special scale called the Glasgow Coma Scale to determine the severity and level of brain injury a patient suffers. This scale requires doctors to evaluate the patient’s response to certain stimuli.
Mild Traumatic Brain Injuries
After a mild traumatic brain injury, the victim may not lose consciousness or may lose consciousness for less than 30 minutes. Because there is no extended loss of consciousness, some mild traumatic brain injuries go undiagnosed. Symptoms can be minor or not appear until hours later. Some are so minor that it may be difficult to determine if there were brain injuries even with medical imaging. Most common concussions are mild traumatic brain injuries.
The victim of a mild traumatic brain injury may have a headache and be confused or disoriented. When he or she goes to the emergency department or to see their doctor, the doctor will look closely at their mental functioning in addition to their reaction to stimuli.
While a mild traumatic brain injury is the least serious, it can affect cognition either temporarily or permanently. Most people recover fully, but some may not.
Moderate Traumatic Brain Injuries
Moderate traumatic brain injuries can cause a loss of consciousness that lasts several hours. This is one reason they are much more difficult to overlook than a mild brain injury. Those with moderate brain injuries also appear confused and disoriented for several days or weeks. Other complications may last for much longer or even lead to permanent impairments. These complications may be:
Doctors will likely recommend inpatient treatment and rehabilitation or outpatient therapy to regain strength and redevelop skills or learn to live with new impairments caused by a moderate traumatic brain injury. Recovery can take several months, and the victim may miss extended time from work.
Severe Traumatic Brain Injuries
Severe traumatic brain injuries cause the victim to go into a coma for a few days to several months or longer. Death may result in some cases. While permanent brain damage and lasting impairment is not a certainty, most people with severe brain injuries suffer some type of cognitive, physical, or behavioral changes because of their accident.
Severe brain injuries most commonly occur from hard hits (closed head wounds) or penetrating injuries (open head injuries). The victims will require extended inpatient care followed by inpatient rehabilitation. Ongoing care for help regaining independence and relearning skills is necessary in most cases. Many who suffer severe traumatic brain injuries cannot return to their previous job and may qualify for disability benefits.
Understanding the Glasgow Coma Scale
The tool doctors use to evaluate the severity of a traumatic brain injury is the Glasgow Coma Scale. The Glasgow Coma Scale allows doctors to standardize the classification of injuries and communicate with patients, therapists, and other caregivers about the severity of the patient’s injuries.
To use this scale, the doctor evaluates the patient’s response to several types of stimuli and records the corresponding number from the scale. By adding up these numbers, the doctor can determine the patient’s score:
- A mild injury will have a score between 13 and 15
- A moderate brain injury will score between 8 and 13
- A severe injury will result in a score of 8 or below
Recovering From a Traumatic Brain Injury
Some who suffer from mild traumatic brain injuries do not require hospitalization, rehabilitation, or ongoing care. However, most with moderate or severe injuries will need rehabilitation and therapy and may require ongoing care for months or years following an injury.
Rehabilitation may include inpatient care at special facilities for those with brain injuries. Inpatient or outpatient therapies may include:
- Physical therapy
- Speech therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Cognitive therapy
- Behavioral therapy
Pursuing Compensation After a Traumatic Brain Injury
If your loved one suffered a traumatic brain injury because of negligence or medical malpractice, you might be eligible to pursue damages based on the facts of their case. At Newsome | Melton, our brain injury attorneys can review your case for free and help you understand your legal options.
We may be able to help you pursue compensation for a wide range of expenses and losses. This may include:
- Medical care costs
- Rehabilitation and therapy
- Ongoing care costs
- Lost wages
- Diminished earning capacity
- Out-of-pocket costs
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Wrongful death damages
The Newsome | Melton team can evaluate your loved one’s accident and pursue an out-of-court settlement or litigate your case. Call us today at (800) 917-5888 to get started.