Signs and Symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are caused by a blow to the head or a wound that penetrates the skull and damages the brain. They may range from fairly mild injuries, usually diagnosed as a concussion, to debilitating brain damage that puts a patient in a coma or a vegetative state.

The pain of a blow to the head or another type of head wound may be apparent to the victim and witnesses to the accident. But some signs or symptoms of a TBI that warrant concern may not appear until days or weeks after the accident. Even when they do appear, they are sometimes not so apparent.

It is important to seek medical attention immediately after any blow to the head. Many people die or suffer lasting complications because they shrug off an accident or are not aware of the signs and symptoms of a TBI.

The Abelson Law Firm in Washington DC helps TBI victims and their families seek compensation when their head and brain injuries are caused by someone else’s negligence. We are committed to seeking justice for victims of negligence and carelessness.

Contact us now online or by phone for a free review of your claim with no strings attached.

What to Look for If You Suspect TBI

A serious TBI may include bruising, torn tissue, bleeding and other physical damage to the brain. Because of the brain’s critical functions, a TBI can damage the victim’s cognitive (thinking) ability, as well as social and emotional functioning. A severe TBI can cause long-term complications or death.

A mild TBI may cause:

  • Loss of consciousness for a few seconds to a few minutes.
  • A state of confusion, disorientation or being dazed without loss of consciousness.
  • Headache.
  • Dizziness or loss of balance.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Memory or concentration problems.
  • Blurred vision.
  • Ringing in the ears.
  • A bad taste in the mouth.
  • Sensitivity to light or sound.
  • Mood changes or mood swings.
  • Feeling depressed or anxious.
  • Fatigue or drowsiness.
  • Difficulty sleeping.
  • Sleeping more than usual.

The symptoms of a moderate to severe TBI include the above symptoms of a mild TBI, and others that may appear within the first hours to days after a head injury, including:

  • Loss of consciousness from several minutes to hours.
  • Profound confusion.
  • Agitation, combativeness or other unusual behavior.
  • Slurred speech.
  • Inability to awaken from sleep.
  • Weakness or numbness in fingers and toes.
  • Loss of coordination.
  • Persistent headache or headache that worsens.
  • Repeated vomiting or nausea.
  • Convulsions or seizures.
  • Dilation of one or both pupils of the eyes.
  • Clear fluids draining from the nose or ears.

Potential problems with cognition (the ability to learn and process information) from a TBI include:

  • Confusion, losing track of time or place.
  • Difficulty concentrating and paying attention.
  • Trouble with memory and learning.
  • Trouble with verbal expression (putting thoughts into words).
  • Slowed thinking, acting, reading, speaking.
  • Becoming distracted easily.
  • Trouble doing more than one thing at a time (multitasking).
  • Lack of organization.

Symptoms of brain damage affecting emotional stability or social interaction include:

  • Generally heightened emotions.
  • Mood changes, irritability, sadness.
  • Decreased motivation.
  • Becoming easily overwhelmed.
  • Increased impulsiveness.
  • Becoming withdrawn.
  • Nervousness or anxiety.
  • Wanting to avoid social situations.

Injuries to the base of the skull can damage nerves that emerge directly from the brain (cranial nerves) and cause facial paralysis, vision problems, loss of taste and smell sensations and problems swallowing.

Damage to blood vessels in the brain could lead to a stroke, blood clots or other problems. Skull fractures or penetrating wounds can lead to infection of the tissue surrounding the brain (meningitis), which could spread to the rest of the nervous system.

A severe TBI may lead to changes in a person’s state of consciousness, awareness or responsiveness, including:

  • Coma – Extended unconsciousness and inability to respond to stimuli.
  • Vegetative state – Lack of awareness of surroundings, despite a possible ability to open eyes, make sounds, respond to reflexes or move.
  • Minimally conscious state – Some self-awareness or awareness of surroundings.
  • Locked-in state – Wakefulness and an awareness of surroundings, but no ability to speak or move.

Contact a Washington DC Attorney Experienced with TBI Cases

If you have suffered a blow to the head or an open head wound, see a doctor right away. If you are diagnosed with TBI from an accident that someone else caused, contact experienced legal help.

A personal injury attorney from the Abelson Law Firm in Washington DC may be able to help you obtain compensation for your medical bills, lost income and other losses caused by your injury.

Please contact us online or call us now for a free, no-obligation review of your case.


  • Mayo Clinic – Traumatic Brain Injury: Definition
  • Brain Injury Association of Washington, DC –  Symptoms

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