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Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (MTBI): Causes, Symptoms, and Long Term Effects

traumatic brain injury lasting effects

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is an injury to the brain caused by an external force. A person who receives a TBI may experience symptoms ranging from mild to severe depending on the severity of the injury. Symptoms include headaches, dizziness, memory loss, confusion, seizures, coma, and even death. A brain injury lawyer can help navigate the legal process after suffering a concussion.

The long-term effects of TBI are not well understood. Some studies have shown that people with a history of TBI are at increased risk for Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia. Other research has found that people with a history of TBI are more likely to develop depression or anxiety disorders. People with TBI also appear to be at higher risk for suicide than those without a history of TBI.

What Is and Isn't Considered Traumatic Brain Injury?

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a general term used to describe any kind of head trauma that causes damage to the brain. The most common form of TBI occurs when an object strikes or falls on someone's head, causing injuries such as cuts, bruises, broken bones, or internal bleeding in the brain. This type of injury can happen during sports activities, car accidents, fights, work accidents, and other situations. Doctors classify TBI as mild, moderate, or severe, however, there is nothing mild about brain injuries.

A concussion would be considered a mild traumatic brain injury that usually results from a blow to the head that causes the brain to move inside the skull. It is often accompanied by temporary changes in mental status, including impaired judgment, disorientation, difficulty concentrating, and/or amnesia. Concussions occur when the brain moves within the skull after receiving a direct blow to the head. In some cases, there may be no visible signs of injury. However, if you notice any of these symptoms, seek medical attention immediately:

  •  Loss of consciousness
  • Impaired balance
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Memory problems
  • Difficulty thinking clearly
  • Confusion
  • Hallucinations
  • Changes in mood

If you think you've had a concussion, contact your doctor right away. He or she will ask about your symptoms, examine you, and order tests to rule out other conditions. Your doctor may refer you to a specialist if needed.

How Mild Traumatic Brain Injuries Can Happen

Mild brain injuries, or a concussion, still happen from a blow to the head. Typically a concussion can happen from:

Car Accidents

A car accident may lead to a concussion when the head strikes the steering wheel or another part of the vehicle. The force of impact causes the brain to move inside the skull, which can damage blood vessels and nerves. Concussions can be caused by minor accidents such as rear end collisions, or they can result from major accidents like motorbike crashes.


Falling causes a concussion when the head hits another object, such as the ground. This usually happens when someone falls backward or sideways. A person who has fallen may be knocked unconscious for several minutes, and then wake up confused and disoriented. The brain is protected from injury during a fall by padding around the skull. If the head strikes something solid, however, the skull can crack.

Collisions while playing sports

Sports such as football, hockey, soccer, and basketball can cause concussions. When being struck, the brain bounces against the inside of the skull, which causes bleeding around the brain. This bleeding may be visible on an x-ray. Athletes should not continue playing until being cleared by a medical professional.


Military personnel also have a high risk of concussion due to explosions knocking them backward. These explosions may also be strong enough to cause pressure waves that move the brain within the skull causing microtraumas.

Long Term Effects of Concussions

The long-term effects of concussions are still being studied. The most common symptoms that occur after a concussion include headaches, dizziness, fatigue, and memory problems. These symptoms can last for several weeks or months. However, the severity of these symptoms varies greatly from one individual to another. Other effects of concussions include:

  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Perception issues
  • Impaired concentration
  • Insomnia
  • Ear ringing
  • Hearing loss
  • Sensitivity to light or noise
  • Decreased sex drive

Some people with concussions experience only mild symptoms, while others develop more severe symptoms. The length of time of these effects may also come and go over time. Chronic pain or effects from concussions can have a negative impact on life.

How Can Someone Know If They Are Suffering Long-Term Effects?

The best way to determine whether you're suffering from long-term concussion effects (like chronic headaches) is to talk to your doctor and, if needed, to see a specialist like a neurologist or neurosurgeon. Don't just rely on online information as your only source, there can be many reasons for the effects you feel, a doctor will be able to run tests and determine the reasoning.

We realize that sometimes it is difficult for you to tell whether the collection of symptoms you're experiencing stems from having suffered a mild traumatic brain injury. First of all, you might not even know that you've had a concussion.

You may have other medical conditions or life stresses that you attribute to your concussion symptoms, including chronic headaches, anxiety, and a decreased sex drive.

Tips For Recognizing Effects of A Concussion

  • Always take brain injuries seriously
  • Get medical treatment immediately after impact
  • Be cautious if you have had more than one concussion
  • Ask others about your mannerisms and mood

Rights Of Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Victims

Post-concussion syndrome victims often find that they need support and help to manage their lives while recovering from and adapting to their injuries. Many people mistakenly believe that the “mild TBI” label given by a doctor means that they don't deserve any legal rights to compensation for their injuries.

This is not the case though. Any type of traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a serious injury, and victims have the right to be compensated for injuries resulting from another person’s carelessness or recklessness.

Who May Be Held Liable for Traumatic Brain Injuries in Pennsylvania?

The question of who may be held liable for a traumatic brain injury is one that many people ask. While the answer to this question depends on several factors, it can help you determine whether or not you have a case against a particular party.

Generally speaking, if you were injured because of the negligence or reckless behavior of another person, that person could be held liable for your injuries. This can include:

  • Drivers
  • Property owners
  • Coaches or referee
  • Violent crime perpetrator

The law does not allow you to sue someone who caused your injury. You must prove that the person had control over the situation that led to your injury. This includes things such as negligence, product liability, premises liability, and medical malpractice.

What Can A TBI Victim Do To Help Their Case?

Seeking appropriate medical care and documenting symptoms is extremely important. This creates a medical record that can be used in court. By having a doctor document your health, the defense team cannot claim that you were not taking care of yourself after the trauma. Other steps to take to protect your legal rights include:

  • Tracking symptoms - this can help identify when a brain injury occurred. A record can also help diagnose and treat victims.
  • Stay healthy - trying to live a healthy lifestyle can help rule out other conditions that may have similar symptoms.
  • Say no - unless you are working with an experienced brain injury attorney, do not take any offers. These will typically be well short of what you may recover with a lawyer.

How Long Do mTBI Lawsuits Take To Resolve?

There are a variety of factors that can affect the length of time it takes to resolve a personal injury claim, including brain injuries. These include:

  • How long it takes to gather information
  • The number of parties, or insurance companies involved
  • The degree of dispute between parties
  • Schedules of the court, lawyers, insurance companies or other individuals

The earlier you contact a lawyer after suffering a concussion or traumatic brain injury, the sooner an experienced attorney can start working on a case and building the strongest possible case.

How Much Do Brain Injury Lawyers Cost?

At Justice Guardians our brain injury law firm only operates on a contingency-fee-basis. This means that you pay nothing unless we win the case. No win, no fee. This type of fee basis also means that attorney's fees are a percentage of any compensation secured. This amount is agreed upon at the time hired by a client. This also allows for anyone to hire an attorney, and we believe that all victims deserve skilled legal counsel.

Awarding Compensation For Victims of TBI

Compensation for TBI can take many forms. Some people receive monetary payments for lost wages, past and future medical bills relating to the accident, rehabilitation costs, costs of hiring help with daily activities while recovering, lost income, physical pain, emotional suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, or other expenses related to their injuries.

The amount of compensation awarded can differ depending on every case. At Justice Guardians, the experienced team of attorneys fights for victims and exhausts every resource to maximize compensation.

Filing A Lawsuit For Mild Traumatic Brain Injuries

If you suffered an MTBI as a result of someone else's negligent or reckless actions, then you may be entitled to file a lawsuit against them. At Justice Guardians, our Pennsylvania brain injury law firm has attorneys that understand that filing a lawsuit can be difficult. We will work hard to ensure that you get the compensation you deserve.

If you are unsure if you have a legal case against someone after suffering a concussion, call for a free, no-obligation, consultation. To determine whether you have the legal right to take action against someone, ask yourself a simple question: Was anyone else’s decision, action, or inaction responsible, at least in part? If your answer to the question is yes, maybe, or I’m not sure then it is probably worth talking to an experienced brain injury attorney who can help you evaluate whether you have any legal options.

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David Petrone
Date Published: March 31, 2022
David Petrone is a personal injury attorney at Justice Guardians.
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