Is Traumatic Brain Injury the Same as a Concussion?

A concussion occurs as a result of a sudden back and forth movement of the head and brain and can happen even if you do not strike your head forcefully or lose consciousness. The sudden jarring or whiplash effect of a car accident can be enough to cause a concussion. There may be cuts or bruises on your head or face after a car accident, or there may be no visible signs that you may have sustained a concussion. In fact, it is not uncommon for car accident victims to suffer a concussion and not realize it. Many ask whether a concussion is the same as a traumatic brain injury – the answer is yes; a concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury.

Concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury

A concussion is classified as a mild traumatic brain injury (“mTBI”). A concussion is the most common type of brain injury following a car accident. While the classification suggests that it is “mild”, this is only relative to severe traumatic brain injury which causes catastrophic brain damage (for example, when a car accident victim sustains a severe traumatic brain injury and needs to re-learn basic functions like how to walk and talk). That being said, do not let the term “mild” mislead you – mTBI such as a concussion can also have very serious consequences. In most cases, those who suffer mTBI go on to a full recovery, but for the unfortunate few, the symptoms can last indefinitely, and have a devastating impact.

Symptoms of a concussion (mild traumatic brain injury)

Symptoms of concussion can be mild to severe, depending on factors such as the seriousness of the brain injury, the age of the injured person, and whether they have previously suffered a concussion or brain injury (there can be a cumulative effect of multiple brain injuries). Initial symptoms typically include headaches, dizziness, memory loss and nausea. These symptoms often render the injured person unable to return to a normal level of functioning in their day-to-day lives and may last for days, weeks, or even months following the motor vehicle accident that caused the injury. This is called post-concussive syndrome. If, in the weeks after a concussion you still feel as if you are not functioning as well as you did before the injury, it may be a sign of a more serious brain injury and should be discussed with your doctor.

Other signs of traumatic brain injury

Other signs of mTBI include personality change, irritability, mood swings and loss of emotional control, apathy or lack of motivation, forgetfulness, or poor concentration, word finding problems, and difficulties planning and organizing (executive functions). Depending on the seriousness of the brain injury, these signs or symptoms may not develop until some time after the car accident. Signs that a mild traumatic brain injury has been sustained can be subtle and difficult to detect, even to those close to the accident victim. In other cases, it is a loved one or companion that notices the effects of a concussion when dealing with a person who has suffered the injury. It is very important that you let your doctor know immediately about any cognitive or personality changes you experience following a car accident, even if they are mild. This will lay the foundation for establishing that you suffered mTBI, and also alert your doctor to take whatever treatment steps are deemed necessary.

Get legal advice from a top Vancouver brain injury lawyer

If you have an ICBC claim and believe you suffered a brain injury, contact Simpson, Thomas & Associates at (604) 239-2943 to request a free consultation. We have considerable experience handling 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.

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