One common type of trauma that often occurs in motor vehicle collisions, slip-and-fall incidents and other types of accidents is traumatic brain injury. Unlike other types of accident and personal injuries, such as broken bones, lacerations and bruises, brain injuries often result in long and difficult recoveries.

TBIs affect victims on multiple levels, including their psychological, physical, social and financial well-being.

How TBIs occur

The skull protects the brain but is not always ample enough shield against trauma. All it may take for a brain to become damaged is a blow to the head or the forceful back-and-forth movement of whiplash to bump the brain against the skull.

TBI can also occur when the brain is deprived of oxygen; the longer the loss of oxygen, the greater the severity of trauma.

Traumatic brain injury symptoms

Signs of mild TBIs which often result in short-term distress include loss of consciousness, forgetfulness, confusion, sleeplessness and mood changes. Mild TBIs often heal on their own.

Some TBIs are much more severe and the prognosis for recovery is not as optimistic. They can affect multiple body systems, cause paralysis and disability, impair cognitive and mental functions and reduce victims to a shell of their former selves.

There are circumstances when traumatic brain injuries are not immediately obvious. Some people who have them do not suffer a loss of consciousness. Gradual swelling from bruising or bleeding can lead to pressure inside the skull that causes damage days or weeks after the accident. Instead of immediate problems, victims may experience seizures or convulsions in the days after their accidents. Some TBI victims experience delayed symptoms of blurred vision, headaches, nausea, vomiting and weakness.

Because there may not be any outward symptoms, any person who sustains a blow to the head or whiplash may want to seek medical attention.