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Identifying Mild Traumatic Brain Injury

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March 29, 2016
Edward Smith

Identifying Mild Traumatic Brain Injury


Identifying Mild Traumatic Brain Injury

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Brain Injury Lawyer. Because many of the symptoms of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) closely mirror the symptoms of other illnesses or conditions. Knowing whether you have suffered a TBI is not always an easy determination to make. Not all TBIs result in a period of unconsciousness and forgetfulness: in fact, a mild TBI may not be accompanied by any loss of consciousness at all. Nevertheless, even a mild TBI can result in temporary and/or permanent difficulties and limitations.

As is true for many personal injuries that are caused by the negligent actions of another person, compensation may be available for an injury victim who has suffered a TBI (even if only a mild TBI). However, before any compensation can be awarded the existence of the TBI and the resulting injuries must be established. In situations where the victim’s TBI symptoms can be explained by other potential conditions, how does an injury victim and/or his or her attorney “prove” a TBI?

Diagnosing the “Undiagnosed” Traumatic Brain Injury

A client that appears for an initial interview regarding a personal injury case may not know that he or she has suffered a mild TBI. The only information that a client may have is that he or she slipped and fell or was involved in a car crash and has been experiencing general malaise since the accident. Family members or friends who accompany the client may not be able to provide much additional information except to confirm the victim suffered an injury and hasn’t been him- or herself since. Fortunately, there are several ways that an attorney can learn whether the potential client sitting in front of him or her may be a TBI victim:

  • Pre-Consultation Questionnaire: Some attorneys may send out a pre-consultation questionnaire to all potential clients (or a specific few) for the potential client to complete prior to meeting with the attorney. Some of the questions may ask whether the potential client has experienced specific symptoms that can indicate a TBI and whether the client has received any exam or treatment for TBI since the accident. The injured party frequently may not be aware of many symptoms such as forgetfulness, or sudden angry outbursts and for this reason, questionnaires should also be filled out by the spouse, parent or significant other.
  • Medical Records: The victim’s medical records (including any notes or records from first responders and emergency medical personnel) can also provide important clues to the attorney about whether the client/victim may be suffering from an undiagnosed TBI. Medical records that indicate the victim suffered a blow or other trauma to the head should be a “red flag” warranting further investigation, as should any mention of unconsciousness, memory loss, headaches, and/or dizziness and confusion. Records will also indicate whether medical personnel performed any tests to determine the presence of a TBI and, if so, the results of those tests.
  • Independent Medical Tests: From the questionnaire (and resulting interview with the client) and a thorough review of the client’s medical records the attorney will likely be able to decide whether further, TBI-specific testing is necessary. The attorney may refer the client to an independent doctor or other expert who specializes in head trauma for further examination. Many times, a Board Certified Neuropsychologist is an excellent choice.

Why Is It Important to Accurately Diagnose Mild Traumatic Brain Injuries?

 Accurately diagnosing any brain injury or TBI in a timely manner is essential to the health of the victim. Mild TBI victims generally make a good recovery, but the prognosis of any TBI victim is dependent in part on the amount of time that elapses between the injury and the commencement of treatment. In other words, the sooner a TBI victim is able to be seen by medical personnel and begin receiving treatment, the greater the odds that the victim will be able to make a recovery without any  severe lingering conditions or disabilities.

Beyond the health of the victim, it is important for head trauma victims/clients and their attorneys to know whether the client has suffered a TBI because this will affect the type of compensation the client should seek. A mild TBI may cause permanent disabilities or difficulties for the client. If these are not adequately identified in the client’s initial court filings and proven during the trial of the case, the client may be unable to obtain compensation for these losses.

Contact a Sacramento Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyer for Help

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Brain Injury Attorney.  I can help you or any family member seriously hurt in accidents in Sacramento and throughout Northern California. I’ve assisted those who have been seriously injured in car wrecks, pedestrian accidentsmotorcycle collisions and other personal injuries caused by the careless and negligent acts of others. Call me now at (916) 921-6400 in Sacramento for free, friendly advice.  Elsewhere, simply dial toll free at (800) 404-5400.

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