Degrees of Brain Injury and Impairment

February 2, 2012

Brain Injuries

Short of death, a brain injury can be one of the worst injuries a person can possibly sustain. Statistically, young people, ages 15-25, and the elderly, those aged 70 or older, are at greater risk of a serious brain injury. Doctors classify traumatic brain injuries as being mild, moderate, or severe. Whichever level an individual’s brain trauma is categorized, there is the potential of significant, long-lasting damage. If you have had a brain injury, our Ohio lawyers experienced with traumatic brain injury cases are available to discuss the specifics of your case with you.

Glasgow Coma Scale and other classification methods

The Glasgow Coma Scale is the most widely used scale to assess traumatic brain injury, or TBI. The Glasgow Coma Scale measures a person’s reaction to a stimulus in three categories:

  • eye opening
  • verbal response
  • motor or movement response.

The individual receives points based on a number of factors, including whether the injured person responds to pain; makes sounds; follows commands; answers questions; and opens his/her eyes, etc.

Based on the response to the stimuli, the individual is given a score from 3-15. The more responsive the individual is, the higher the score. A score between 13 and 15 means the brain trauma was mild; 9 to 12 is considered to be moderate trauma and 3 to 9 is viewed as severe trauma. In general, only around 6-10% of brain injured patients have severe trauma. The vast majority of individuals with brain trauma, anywhere from 58-80%, have mild TBI.

In addition to the Glasgow Coma Scale, a brain injury’s severity can be determined by the following:

  • The location of the injury
  • The injury’s cause
  • Whether the person has abused drugs or alcohol
  • Whether the person lost consciousness, and if so for how long
  • Whether the individual suffers from psychiatric disorders
  • Whether the person experienced a change in mental status or loss of orientation

If the individual suffered a loss of consciousness combined with post-traumatic amnesia of anywhere from 30 minutes to 24 hours, the brain injury would likely be categorized as moderate. A loss of consciousness and post-traumatic amnesia of more than 24 hours may be classified as a severe brain injury.

Ohio lawyers experienced with brain injuries can assist you in determining the extent of your brain injury, and discussing with you your legal options.

Degrees of impairment

Individuals who suffer from TBI show differing degrees of brain impairment, depending on the extent and location of the injury. Impairments associated with a traumatic brain injury can be separated into three groups:

Cognitive impairments include deficits in language comprehension, attention and speech; concentration; insight; judgment; perception; short and long-term memory; reading and writing ability; planning; information processing; and reasoning.

Psycho-social-behavioral-emotional impairments include difficulty relating to others; excessive laughing or crying; reduction in ability to cope; agitation; struggling to control emotions; a lack of motivation; restlessness; self-centeredness; sexual dysfunction; denial; mood swings; fatigue; anxiety; depression; and loss of self-esteem.

Physical impairments include issues with speech, vision, hearing and other senses; headaches; lack of coordination; and other physical movement problems.

As you can see, a traumatic brain injury affects not just your ability to earn a living, but your inability to engage in regular daily activities, to relate to others, and to enjoy life.

If you or someone you love have experienced traumatic brain injury, Please contact the experienced lawyers at Slater & Zurz LLP for a FREE consultation by calling 1-800-297-9191 or send a Blog Message to schedule a time to talk.

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About slaterzurz

Slater & Zurz LLP is an Ohio law firm of highly experienced and respected attorneys. Over the last 40 years, we have developed a reputation for getting positive results for clients. We've been trusted with handling over 20,000 personal injury cases and our clients have received more than $120,000,000.

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