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What is the process of recovery and rehabilitation for a traumatic brain injury?

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One of the most serious injuries a person can receive is one involving brain trauma.  The brain governs everything, from our behaviour and personality, to our ability to eat, walk and sleep.  An injury to the brain can have long term repercussions on a victim’s life, and result in the need for intensive/costly therapy and rehabilitation to make a full recovery. 

The process of recovery and rehabilitation can be long, and support, both financial and emotional, is essential for both the victim and their family.

Causes of Traumatic Brain Injuries

Below are some statistics which illustrate the prevalence of traumatic brain injuries in the United Kingdom.

  • In the period 2013-14, 348,934 people were admitted to for brain injuries[1]
  • There are 10,000-20,000 cases of serious brain injuries per year
  • Men are 1.6 as likely to sustain this type of trauma as women
  • Across the UK, there are an estimated 500,000 people (aged 16 - 74) living with long term disabilities because of a traumatic brain injury

The Consequences of a Severe Brain Injury

Brain injuries are the number one cause of death and disability worldwide[2].

Brian injuries are usually categorised as mild, moderate or severe.  Mild traumatic brain injuries can cause cognitive problems such as headaches, mood swings, loss of memory and difficulty concentrating, even though the MRI and CAT scans show normal brain functionality.  A severe brain injury is more serious and can result in the victim being in a coma, left with speech and movement difficulties as well as significant emotional problems. In some cases, the patient can live in a vegetative state for many years.

These consequences of a brain injury are caused by the damage to the nerve cells in specific parts of the brain.  If the brain has suffered major damage, the nerve cells can no longer send messages to each other in the usual way, producing cognitive, emotional and/or behaviour difficulties which can take years to improve (or may never improve at all).

It cannot be stated enough that the consequences of a traumatic brain injury, even a mild one, can be long-lasting and affect every aspect of a victim’s life.  Imagine suddenly having to learn to walk and talk again.  Or losing part of your memory or finding yourself unable to continue in your chosen profession due to being left unable to concentrate for long periods of time or tolerate the everyday noise generated in a normal office environment.  Victims lives can be changed forever in an instant and a whole host of unforeseen challenges can emerge such as:

  • Having to take extended leave from employment
  • Being required to fund medical and rehabilitation costs
  • Unimaginable strain on loved ones having to copy with caring for the victim

Making a successful claim for compensation can alleviate the financial pressure caused by some of these challenges.

Types of rehabilitation for traumatic brain injury

Brain cells cannot regenerate once they have been destroyed.  However, as a testament to how remarkable the brain is, it can reorganise itself to regain lost functionality.  This is known as ‘plasticity’[3]

With professional rehabilitation, other areas of the brain can be encouraged to take over the activities of the damaged areas.  New pathways are established as the patient engages and repeats certain activities.

How long does rehabilitation and recovery from a traumatic brain injury take?

It is almost impossible to tell in the first weeks or months after a traumatic brain injury is received how long rehabilitation and recovery will take.  It is only after around six months that a clearer picture of the long-term effects of the injury start to form.

Experts suggest waiting at least a year before making any big decisions following a traumatic brain injury[4].  After 12 months, your medical team will have a good understanding of any long-term disabilities you are likely to suffer. 

Remember, the psychological impact of a traumatic brain injury can also take some time to recover from.  Some victims suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, caused by the incident that caused their head injury.  If you are struggling with this, you need to seek specialist counselling to help you deal with and move on from its effects.

Contact our experienced brain injury legal experts

To recover from even a mild brain injury, it is likely that a victim will need to try and gain some form of compensation to pay for lost wages and rehabilitation.  If an individual receives a catastrophic brain injury, then money may be needed to alter living arrangements and pay for round-the-clock care.  If a third party’s negligence is responsible for causing brain damage to another, then it is only fair and reasonable that they victim receive the compensation they deserve to try and rebuild their often-shattered lives.

At IBB, our personal injury team, led by accredited brain injury solicitor, Malcolm Underhill, has the expertise and knowledge to advise and represent those who have suffered a traumatic brain injury and wish to claim compensation for negligence. To talk about how we might be able to help, please phone us on 0333 123 9099, email us at enquiries@ibbclaims.co.uk  or fill in our contact form.  Any discussions you have with us will be in the strictest of confidence

You may also be interested in

What Happens to the Brain at the Time of Injury 

 

[1] https://www.headway.org.uk/news/national-news/female-head-injuries-on-the-rise-reports-charity/

[2] http://ukabif.org.uk/data/

[3] https://www.headway.org.uk/about-brain-injury/individuals/rehabilitation-and-continuing-care/rehabilitation/

[4] https://www.headway.org.uk/about-brain-injury/individuals/rehabilitation-and-continuing-care/rehabilitation/

The information contained within our Blog Articles is provided as general information only. It does not constitute legal or professional advice or seek to be an exhaustive statement of the law and should not be relied on or treated as a substitute for specific advice relevant to particular circumstances. For further details, please see our terms of use policy.