Can Minor Brain Injuries Cause Permanent Damage?

One of the most serious injuries that an accident victim can suffer is a traumatic brain injury (TBI). According to national statistics, almost three million people suffer brain injuries each year. Almost 250,000 brain injury victims end up hospitalized each year. Approximately 60,000 of those victims die from those injuries, and for those who are fortunate enough to survive their injuries, more than 80,000 are left with long-term disabilities. Multiple studies have shown that even minor brain injuries can leave permanent brain damage.

In one of the studies which reached this conclusion, the research team compared the brains of people who had suffered mild to moderate brain injuries to the brains of people who had never suffered any brain injuries. Participants of the study were 16 to 68 years old. Forty-four members of the study group had mild brain injuries, nine had moderate injuries, and 33 participants had no brain injury.

All of the participants received a diffusion tensor imaging scan. This scan is more powerful than the MRI scans usually used to check for a brain injury. All of the 53 participants who were each dealing with a brain injury had their scans performed within six days of being injured.

The scans of the members of the group who had brain injuries showed damage to brain white matter, revealing a disruption of nerve axons – the part of the nerve which allows brain cells to transmit messages to other brain cells.

The participants were then tested on their thinking and memory skills.

Those tests revealed that participants who had received even a minor brain injury scored 25 percent lower in the memory and thinking skills testing than people who had no brain injuries.

A year later, 23 of the brain-injured study participants had another diffusion tensor imaging scan done and went through the same testing. This time, the test results for this group were the same as they had been the prior year for the group that did not have brain injuries. But their scans showed that there was still some brain damage present. The researchers concluded that even though there was still damage, the fact that the participants scored higher on the tests could indicate the brain may compensate for injuries.

A victim can suffer a brain injury in a car accident, slip and fall, participating in sports or other recreational activities, or by a weapon. Although the majority of studies on TBIs tend to focus on severe injuries, approximately 90 percent of brain injuries are mild to moderate. Depending on the severity of the injury, some victims may not even realize they have a brain injury right away, and it may take days for symptoms to begin to appear. A person who has suffered some type of blow to the head to watch for the following symptoms which may indicate a brain injury:

  • Blurred vision
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Lightheadedness
  • Ringing in ears
  • Vertigo

If a head injury victim shows any of these signs, they should see a doctor immediately. An undiagnosed or untreated brain injury can lead to more serious problems, and in some cases, can be fatal.

Contact Our Office Today

If you or a family member have suffered a brain injury due to someone else’s negligence, contact an experienced Virginia brain injury attorney to find out what compensation you may be entitled to for all the losses you have suffered because of the injury. Call Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp today to schedule a free and confidential consultation. We also provide a free brain injury guide that can help answer some of your questions regarding TBI and injury law.