Lasting Effects of TBI

Long Term Effects of Traumatic Brain Injury

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) severity is typically classified as mild, moderate or severe. The severity of the injury is based on several factors including loss of consciousness, coma rating scale or score, brain imaging and post-traumatic amnesia. Mild, moderate and severe TBI may be characterized as follows:

Mild TBI

  • Brief loss of consciousness (seconds or minutes)
  • Post-traumatic amnesia for less than 1 hour following the injury
  • Brain imaging results with no signs of permanent damage

Moderate TBI

  • Loss of consciousness that lasts between one – 24 hours
  • Post-traumatic amnesia that lasts for one – 24 hours following the injury
  • Brain imaging results that show abnormalities

Severe TBI

  • Loss of consciousness or coma for more than 24 hours
  • Post-traumatic amnesia for more than 24 hours following the injury
  • Abnormal brain imaging results with signs of permanent damage
  • Severe traumatic brain injury can further be indicated by coma, vegetative state or minimally responsive state.

Brad Parker says the severity of a traumatic brain injury has a dramatic bearing on a client’s case. “The more severe the injury, the more compensation the client deserves. With that said, a mild brain injury can be extremely serious and shouldn’t go overlooked.”

Recovery and rehabilitation are possible, but the truth of the situation is that most people with moderate to severe TBI face life challenges that will require them to adjust to a new reality. In addition to challenges with work and completing tasks that were once routine, a TBI can also affect a client’s personal life. Family relationships almost always change because the patient will be totally dependent on their caregivers.

“I’ve had clients experience anything from short-term memory loss and speech issues to coordination problems and light sensitivity. In more severe cases, the effects are quite profound. Clients must relearn how to feed themselves, walk and talk,” Brad says.

The specific long-term effects of a traumatic brain injury can be divided into several categories, including physical changes, motor deficits, cognitive effects, speech challenges, sensory effects, perceptual effects and social-emotional changes.

Physical Changes

  • Sleep disorders
  • Loss of stamina
  • Loss or increase in appetite
  • Seizures
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Physical paralysis
  • Hormonal changes
  • Chronic pain
  • Loss of control of bowel and bladder functions

Motor Deficits

  • Paralysis
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Uncontrolled movements
  • Problems walking or talking
  • Difficulty carrying or moving objects
  • Loss of fine motor skills

Cognitive Effects

  • Difficulty with attention, focus or concentration 
  • Memory problems
  • Slow speed of processing
  • Confusion
  • Impulsiveness
  • Difficulty with language processing
  • Problems with planning, cognitive flexibility, abstract thinking, rule acquisition, initiating appropriate actions, and inhibiting inappropriate actions

Speech Challenges

  • Slurred speech
  • Difficulty with talking or expressing ideas, understanding language, and with reading and writing
  • Speaking very fast or very slow

Sensory and Perceptual effects

  • Difficulty perceiving movement of the arms and legs
  • Difficulty understanding information taken in through the senses 
  • Partial or total vision loss
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Problems judging distance
  • Light sensitivity or intolerance
  • Decrease or loss of hearing
  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
  • Sensitivity or intolerance to sounds 
  • Diminished sense of smell
  • Loss or diminished sense of taste

Emotional and Behavioral Effects

  • Lack of inhibition
  • Dependent behaviors
  • Depression
  • Wavering emotions
  • Lack of motivation
  • Irritability and/or aggression

Tools and Coping Strategies

During rehabilitation, medical professionals should provide information to the patient and family members about dealing with the stress of a TBI. Learning new ways to do things is a very important part of recovery. Coping strategies may include:

  • Creating a very detailed, simplified list of steps needed to complete a specific task
  • Incorporating prompts or visual aids to help remember things
  • Utilizing assistive devices to get around, such as a wheelchair, walker or cane

If you or a loved one are suffering from a TBI due to the negligence or stupidity of others, contact our office by filling out our contact form or giving us a call at 817-440-3888. We would love to help you fight for the compensation you deserve. 


At Parker Law Firm, our experienced personal injury lawyers believe people matter. We are committed to our clients, not case numbers, and we believe in the power of the civil justice system. With years spent both representing accident victims and participating in the state legislative process, our founder, Brad Parker, has developed a deep understanding of the law and gained unique experience that helps him get results for his clients.

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