The gold standard for studies of people before and after traumatic brain injuries determined that individuals were three times as likely to suffer a mental or personality disorder (PD) following their TBI. Researchers observed that

The most common post-TBI PDs were: borderline, avoidant, paranoid, obsessive-compulsive and narcissistic. Men were more likely to be diagnosed with antisocial PD and narcissistic PD. Individuals with pre-TBI PDs were at greater risk of acquiring additional psychopathology post-TBI. Personality traits endorsed by more than 30% of the sample post-TBI reflected loss of self-confidence, attempts to cope with cognitive and interpersonal failures and negative affect.

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You do not need to be a licensed psychiatrist who can cite the DSM-5 the way others quote Shakespeare to understand that short- and long-term difficulties for TBI victims go far beyond headaches and dizziness. And as personal injury lawyers who work with families in Virginia and North Carolina, we know that a serious change in behavior and personality takes a terrible toll on loved ones.

We regularly hear about the sudden onset of relationship-destroying issues like

  • Insomnia,
  • Agitation,
  • Alternating episodes of mania and depression,
  • Substance abuse and addiction,
  • Emotional outbursts,
  • Rages,
  • Lack of judgment,
  • Poor impulse control,
  • Loss of respect for the law and authorities.
  • Aggressiveness, and
  • Violence.

Problems may escalate over time, and cures can be impossible to find when the cause is irreparable damage to the frontal lobe of the brain. A traumatic brain injury sometimes literally takes away the person who existed before an accident.

And make no mistake: A concussion can be a life-altering TBI, especially when a person has suffered more than one serious brain injury. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention technically classifies a concussion as a mild TBI, but the symptoms can be devastating.

When we take a case for a client who is suffering from a brain injury, we push for a settlement or jury award that includes funds for lifelong physical, mental and behavioral care. Since a TBI negatively affects every aspect of a person’s life—sometimes for the rest of their life—compensation paid by the negligent or reckless party that inflicted the brain injury should cover all the damages.

EJL