What is a Brain Injury?

A brain injury is any damage to the brain that affects a person physically, cognitively, emotionally, or behaviorally. There are a number of ways to classify a brain injury based on factors such as when the injury occurred and what caused the brain injury. The purpose of this post is to review some of the brain injury classifications and discuss when you may need legal advice from a personal injury lawyer following a brain injury.

Acquired brain injury

Brain injuries can happen at birth, or later in a person’s life due to an illness or a trauma.

If an injury is caused to the brain after birth, it is known as an “acquired brain injury.” An acquired brain injury may cause partial or functional disability and the impairments caused by an acquired brain injury can be temporary or permanent.

Traumatic vs. non-traumatic brain injury

There are many possible causes of acquired brain injuries, and as such, within the category of acquired brain injury are two sub-categories: “traumatic brain injury” and “non-traumatic brain injury.” Whether a brain injury is considered traumatic or non-traumatic depends on the specific cause:

  • A non-traumatic brain injury is one involving no external force or action. Common causes are stroke, cancer, or brain infection.
  • A traumatic brain injury (or “TBI”) is an injury to the brain caused by an external force, such as an assault, a fall, or a blow to the head. One of the leading cause of traumatic brain injuries in North America is motor vehicle accidents.

Though caused by an external force to the head, a person who suffers a traumatic brain injury does not always sustain an open head wound, skull fracture, or even a loss of consciousness. In fact, a TBI can occur even if there is no contact with the head – for example, a driver or passengers can suffer a traumatic brain injury as a result of the back-and-forth motion of having their head jarred in a motor vehicle accident.

Mild traumatic brain injury vs. traumatic brain injury

Brain injuries can be further subcategorized into mild traumatic brain injuries (“mTBI”) and traumatic brain injuries (“TBI”). A full-blown traumatic brain injury, which is also referred to as a catastrophic brain injury, will have significant life-altering effects. In such cases, the brain injured person may need to relearn basic functions such as walking or talking. Impairments may be permanent. On the other end of the spectrum are mild traumatic brain injuries, which are only referred to as “mild” relative to a full-blown traumatic brain injury. A mild traumatic brain injury, such as a concussion, can have severe consequences such as personality change, irritability, mood swings and loss of emotional control, apathy or lack of motivation, poor memory, forgetfulness, poor concentration, word finding problems, and difficulties planning and organizing.

When legal advice from a personal injury lawyer is advisable

Generally speaking, if a brain injury has been caused by the wrongdoing of another person, for example, due to a slip and fall, a physical assault, or as a result of a careless driver, it is advisable to consult with a personal injury lawyer to discuss your options, including whether you have a claim for compensation for your brain injury. The effects of a brain injury can be severe and can have serious impacts on many aspects of a person’s life. A brain injured person may be entitled to claim compensation including rehabilitation and treatment costs, damages for past and future loss of income, and damages for pain, suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life.

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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