Anyone can suffer a concussion or traumatic brain injury (TBI) if hit on the head or if the brain hits against the skull, such as when whiplash occurs. A few of the most common reasons why individuals suffer brain injuries are due to automobile accidents, sports-related injuries, or fights.
The worst part is that many of these brain injuries go untreated or misdiagnosed, especially because it can be hard to pinpoint symptoms in the beginning. Untreated concussions and other brain injuries can cause further, more severe problems, including depression.
Difficulties in Diagnosing TBI
Even after an injury has occurred, it can be challenging to assess the brain’s condition and know of future complications the patient may suffer. Most medical personnel will initially look for short-term effects on the overall health and well-being of the patient.
However, medical complications may still occur even after the patient believes they have recovered. For this reason, it is critical to be aware of the signs and symptoms of a concussion (which is a form of TBI).
Know that not all traumatic brain injuries are classified the same. There are three different types of brain injuries: mild, moderate, and severe. These classifications depend on the severity of the damage as well as the symptoms the patient is experiencing, such as loss of consciousness or affected speech.
In fact, mild traumatic brain injuries and concussions can often be the hardest to treat, since these injuries have the least detectable symptoms and may be misdiagnosed for something less severe.
What Happens If a Concussion Goes Untreated?
An untreated concussion can lead to serious long-term health effects that range from physical difficulties to emotional and mental issues. One of the first symptoms that people suffer from is depression. Mood changes and irritability often occur, and the patient can become frustrated in him or herself, especially during the recovery process.
All of these changes may lead to feelings of depression and sadness, which can continue to have a downward effect on the patient. Accident victims may also experience strains in relationships after a traumatic brain injury, as their partner and loved ones will also need to make adjustments.
Besides depression, patients may suffer from such symptoms as:
- Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
- Being clumsy or forgetful
- Frequent headaches
More severe symptoms include a loss of vision or hearing, as well as stuttering or having a loss of speech.
Patients who have suffered a traumatic brain injury may also notice mental difficulties, such as being easily distracted, having a hard time remembering things, or struggling to read or write. Behavioral changes may also emerge much later after the accident or injury (sometimes several days or even weeks later).
Indeed, no one purposely leaves a traumatic brain injury untreated. Unfortunately, it is hard to diagnose symptoms in the beginning and know what symptoms the patient may suffer. Also, many of the symptoms associated with traumatic brain injuries can be misdiagnosed for other symptoms.
How Might an Untreated Concussion Affect One’s Life?
As you can imagine, the symptoms that accompany TBI can be life-changing and will affect many different areas of a person’s life. A person with an untreated concussion may struggle with aspects of daily living, such as:
- Work Performance: Brain injuries can significantly impair focus, attention, and coordination. These impairments can negatively affect job performance, attendance, and productivity.
- Academics: Younger patients or people enrolled in school may find it difficult to concentrate, read, retain information, or take tests. It is not uncommon for concussion and TBI patients to miss weeks or sometimes months of study.
- Sports and Athletic Performance: TBI can also cause severe physical symptoms like dizziness, vertigo, difficulties with balance, and even heart rate irregularities. These can all require a break from participation in sports or other hobbies.
- Socialization: As mentioned, emotional and psychological symptoms can make it tough to interact with friends and loved ones. Brain fog, fatigue, and confusion may make it harder to attend events.
Thus, a person who has suffered a brain injury without proper treatment may experience long-term problems in many aspects of life. Pursuing legal action may be crucial to helping a patient get their life back on track. Financial compensation from a settlement can often help offset various costs. These include not only standard medical fees, but other financial losses such as lost wages, a lost ability to generate income, and pain and suffering.
Contact an Experienced Brain Injury Attorney
The best thing to do if you experience a brain injury is to see a doctor regularly and keep a log of any symptoms that occur. You may want to ask a loved one to help you monitor any changes, as they may be able to detect behavioral changes you might not notice.
If someone is at fault for an untreated concussion or for the injury itself, you may be entitled to legal compensation. Contact our office to find out if you may be able to recover the cost of treatment and ongoing care from the responsible party.
Our attorneys have the experience needed to help you pursue justice for your injuries. We are internationally recognized for our knowledge of the laws covering TBI, especially regarding therapy and recovery. Call us today at (757) 244-7000 for a free, no-obligation consultation.