Knowledgeable Vancouver brain injury lawyers will have experience in dealing with serious brain injury cases. A “traumatic brain injury” or “TBI” is an injury to the brain caused by an external force such as a motor vehicle accident. A TBI can range in seriousness and is typically classified as mild, moderate, or severe based on the degree of symptoms the injured person experiences. This post will look at some of the ways that the seriousness of a brain injury is measured.
Measuring the severity of traumatic brain injury
The Glasgow Coma Scale (“GCS”) is a very commonly used system for classifying brain injury severity. The GCS grades the injured person’s level of consciousness on a scale based on tests of eye, verbal and motor responses. The lowest possible GCS is 3 (where the injured person does not open their eyes, makes no sounds, and makes no movements), while the highest possible GCS is 15 (the injured person is fully awake and oriented). Generally speaking, a GCS score of 13 or above is associated with a mild brain injury, a GCS score of 9–12 is associated with a moderate brain injury, and a GCS score of 8 or below is associated with a severe brain injury. While the GCS grading system is widely used, it has limited ability to predict outcomes of a brain injury in the long term.
Brain imaging results (e.g., MRI or CT scan) should also be taken into consideration, as they reveal any abnormalities caused by the injury within the brain and complicating factors such as skull fracture, intracranial hemorrhage, and brain edema.
Other indicators of severity of brain injury
Other indicators of the severity of a brain injury that may better predict long-term outcomes include the duration of loss of consciousness and post-traumatic amnesia (“PTA”) following the injury. PTA is a state of confusion that occurs following a traumatic brain injury in which the injured person is disoriented and unable to remember events that occur after the injury. PTA may be brief, resolving within a short period of time, it may last for several days or weeks following the accident – or, in the most serious cases, PTA can be permanent.
Examples of evaluating motor vehicle accident brain injury
For example, if after the motor vehicle accident, the injured person has brief loss of consciousness for a few seconds or minutes, PTA for less than 1 hour following the accident, and brain imaging shows no abnormalities, the TBI is considered to be mild. On the other end of the spectrum, if the injured person has a loss of consciousness or coma that lasts for more than 24 hours after the motor vehicle accident, PTA that lasts for more than 24 hours, and abnormal brain imaging results, the TBI is severe.
Symptoms related to seriousness of brain injury
A brain-inured person may experience cognitive issues, communicative difficulties, physical, and psychosocial/emotional consequences after a brain injury. The types of symptoms and the severity of consequences experienced by the accident victim, both in the immediate aftermath and over the long term, will vary depending on the seriousness of the brain injury. An accident victim who sustained a mild TBI such as a concussion may experience headaches, concentration problems, and irritability that resolve within a few days or weeks of the car accident, whereas an accident victim who sustained a severe TBI may have difficulties with executive function (planning, reasoning, decision-making) or sense of touch, temperature, movement, position that last for months, years, or the rest of his or her life.
Get legal advice from top Vancouver brain injury lawyers
If you or a loved one has suffered a brain injury as a result of a motor vehicle accident, contact Simpson, Thomas & Associates at (604) 689-8888 to request a free consultation. We have considerable experience handling ICBC claims involving traumatic brain injuries, ranging from concussions/mTBI to severe traumatic brain injuries. Our highly experienced Vancouver personal injury lawyers will assist you in getting the help you need and develop your claim against ICBC to get the compensation you deserve.