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Understanding traumatic brain injuries

Ranging from mild to severe, traumatic brain injuries have a wide range of characteristics. West Virginia residents may be interested in learning about how TBIs affect people in various ways depending on the severity of the injury.

The severity of a TBI depends on the extent of the injury the victim suffered. In most cases, a severe TBI is characterized by a period of unconsciousness or score on the coma rating scale and post-traumatic amnesia, or PTA. Victims of severe TBIs usually have abnormal brain imaging results and lose consciousness, suffer PTA or are in a coma longer than 24 hours. Some severely affected TBI patients may be left in a vegetative state, which differs from a coma in that the individuals are awake but not responsive to their environment. A persistent vegetative state is when the condition lasts more than 30 days.

Those who suffer moderate TBIs show abnormal brain imaging results and generally lose consciousness and/or suffer PTA for up to 24 hours. In mild cases of TBI, the victim experiences only a brief loss of consciousness lasting several seconds or minutes and suffers PTA for less than an hour.

All TBIs can cause cognitive, physiological and physical effects on victims. In mild cases of TBI, patients can have trouble remembering and concentrating and become confused or lost. They suffer from anxiety, depression, moodiness, fatigue, headaches, dizziness, vision problems and nausea. Moderate and severe cases of TBIs are associated with difficulty solving problems and organizing; lack of motivation and many physical problems affecting the senses, speech, bladder control and appetite. They also tend to experience chronic pain.

If a negligent driver caused a wreck that left a person with a brain injury, the victim's family might consider filing a claim for compensation. The suspected negligent driver may be liable for damages stemming from the crash such as medical expenses and future loss of income.

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