What Are the Symptoms of a Traumatic Brain Injury?

Brain injuries are commonly sustained in serious accidents. These severe injuries are often debilitating and can result in long-term health problems. Brain injuries cover a wide spectrum of severity, ranging from something mild, like a concussion, to something catastrophic, like a traumatic brain injury. Due to the fact that a concussion and a traumatic brain injury can manifest very similar symptoms, and since traumatic brain injuries, known as TBIs, are major injuries that shouldn’t go untreated, it is crucial to know the symptoms of a traumatic brain injury. 

How soon do TBI symptoms appear after an accident?

If you experience headaches, vomiting, or slurred speech after a car accident, even a minor one, you could have an undiagnosed TBI. Reach out to the Virginia Beach brain injury attorneys at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp for a free consultation to find out if you are entitled to damages. 

What is a Traumatic Brain Injury?

brain injuries

A TBI is an injury that occurs when a violent jolt or blow to the head causes a person’s brain to move inside their skull, causing damage. An object that penetrates the brain’s tissues, like a shattered piece of a fractured skull or a bullet, can also cause a traumatic brain injury. 

What Are the Symptoms of a Traumatic Brain Injury?


The major difference between a TBI and a concussion is that a TBI is very serious, and long-lasting if not permanent, whereas a concussion is usually fairly mild and temporary. Even so, concussions are considered to be a form of traumatic brain injury.

If you were recently injured in any type of accident, you need to be aware of some common symptoms of TBI, such as:  

  • Persistent headaches
  • Being unconscious for several hours
  • Seizures or convulsions
  • Vomiting or nausea 
  • Clear discharge from your ears or nose 
  • Dilated pupils
  • Extreme lethargy
  • Weakness or numbness in your fingers
  • Loss of coordination
  • Slurred speech
  • Confusion
  • Unexplained mood swings, agitation, and behavior that is out of character

The symptoms of less serious TBI closely mirror those of a severe TBI but are usually milder. These include:

  • Headaches
  • Exhaustion
  • Vomiting or nausea 
  • Vertigo, problems with coordination and balance
  • Slurred speech
  • Blurry vision
  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
  • Differences in taste or smell
  • Sensitivity to light and sound
  • Being unconscious for several minutes 
  • Disorientation, confusion
  • Inability to concentrate, memory loss
  • Insomnia
  • Depression or anxiety that did not previously exist
  • Erratic mood swings

The tricky part about a TBI is that its symptoms do not always manifest immediately after an accident. In fact, they can take several weeks to appear. A mild TBI can resolve itself in a few days. A more serious TBI, however, could take several months to heal or it could be permanent.

Admittedly, there is a good deal of overlap between the symptoms of a severe brain injury and a concussion, but the symptoms of a traumatic brain injury are much more debilitating and demand prompt medical care. Nevertheless, any form of traumatic brain injury should be immediately and correctly diagnosed and treated by a licensed medical professional.

TBI Statistics

Some important national statistics to keep in mind about TBIs are:

  • In 2017, the leading causes of TBI in the United States were motor vehicle accidents and accidental falls from a height. 
  • In 2017, most traumatic brain injuries befell adults 75 and older. The age group with the least instances of TBI was 55 to 64-year-olds.  
  • Children accounted for almost 8% of all TBIs that required hospitalization in 2017. 
  • In Virginia, more than 5,000 people were hospitalized for TBI, and over 1,600 of those resulted in a fatality in 2016.
  • More than a quarter of a million Virginians are currently disabled due to traumatic or non-traumatic (caused by a stroke) brain injuries.

Reach Out to a Virginia Beach Brain Injury Attorney

If you want to find out if you are owed damages for a traumatic brain injury or another accident-related injury, our lawyers are prepared to help. Schedule a free consultation with the Virginia Beach personal injury attorneys at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp by calling (833) 997-1774 or through the form on our website. 

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