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5 things you may not know about traumatic brain injuries

Violent car accidents often lead to traumatic brain injuries. These can be open or closed injuries. They can happen with or without obvious visual signs. And they impact everyone differently.

When a loved one suffers from a TBI, the road to healing can be very long. It is important for family members to know exactly what to expect. Here are five things you may not have known:

1. Recovery has its ups and downs

This is not always a linear process. Someone may not show any signs of movement at first, for instance, and then manage to make a fist. Family members feel great about the progress but then the person cannot do it again. Did they regress? Shouldn't they still have that skill? Perhaps. Perhaps not. Remember that there are many ups and downs. Behavior can be inconsistent.

2. Someone's personality can change

You expect the person to return to normal when they heal and recover. As physical healing progresses, though, you feel like their personality just isn't the same. They're more irritable. They're less social. They just don't seem like the same person. The unfortunate reality is that some brain injuries can change someone's personality forever. This is a common complaint from family members who knew them best.

3. The first 6 months are key

That first half of a year after the accident is perhaps the most indicative of how complete the recovery will be. Things happen relatively quickly. Most drastic changes happen in this time. That's not to say that more healing and recovery cannot happen a year or two after the incident, but it is both slower and less common. This is why getting proper medical care immediately is so critical.

4. Secondary issues can make the initial damage worse

Going through a car accident is not likely to cause just one injury. A person may have complications and secondary issues that make the initial brain injury worse than it would have been otherwise. Common examples are bleeding on the brain and swelling, which can kill brain cells.

5. Brain injuries are common

People often feel alone, but they shouldn't. Around 2.6 million Americans suffer from brain injuries annually. Some come from car accidents, some come from falls in the workplace, some come from strokes and others come from tumors -- and that is just to name a handful of causes. Do not feel alone. Support is out there, research is being done every day and medical knowledge is only getting better.

Your legal options

When a loved one suffers a serious brain injury, it can change the entire family's lives forever. You need to know if you have a legal right to seek compensation for extensive medical treatment, rehabilitation, lost wages, funeral bills and many other costs.

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Cubbon & Associates Co., L.P.A.

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