What can I expect after a loved one's brain injury?

A severe jarring or blow to the head can result in a devastating brain injury. Even if you see no external wound or obvious damage, the brain may have suffered bruising, tearing or bleeding that can result in traumatic and irreversible effects. The destruction of brain tissue cannot be reversed.

If your loved one recently suffered such an injury to the head in a fall, a motor vehicle collision or other accident caused by someone else's negligence or recklessness, you may have no idea what to do next or where to turn for help. It is natural to feel confused and overwhelmed, but the more information you gain about your circumstances, the better you will be able to make critical decisions about your loved one's care.

Changes in your loved one

Brain injuries are usually permanent. While medical science is making great strides to minimize brain damage after an accident and to rehabilitate those with catastrophic injuries, your doctor may present a shocking reality check with your loved one's prognosis. The severity of the injury and the affected area of the brain will determine the kinds of disabilities your loved one may be facing. However, closed-head injuries typically result in more extensive deficits. Some common effects of a brain injury include:

  • Changes in personality
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Difficulty learning or remembering
  • Agitation and mood changes
  • Impulsive behaviors
  • Physical impairments including the potential for paralysis

Your loved one may also have impaired self-awareness, which may mean he or she will not understand or accept the new reality of living with a brain injury. Your loved one may still believe he or she has the capacity to go to work or drive a car, and it may be difficult for you to convince your loved one of the need for rehabilitation or therapy.

The future may seem uncertain, and it is possible it will be challenging for you and your family. The lifetime cost of caring for someone with a traumatic brain injury can reach hundreds of thousands of dollars or more. You will want to be sure to seek assistance wherever you can, whether it is for your emotional, financial or legal needs. Part of the healing process may be seeking justice in the New Jersey civil courts against those whose actions resulted in your loved one's injuries.

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