Mild Traumatic Brain Injury
Our attorney answers frequently asked questions on MTBI and how it affects auto accident victims
We hope the information below helps you better understand mild traumatic brain injury. For help from a TBI attorney, call Michigan Auto Law at (800) 777-0028. There’s no cost or obligation.
- What is a “mild” traumatic brain injury?
- What is a traumatic brain injury?
- My doctor diagnosed me with a “mild” traumatic brain injury. Does that mean my traumatic brain injury is not a serious injury?
- What is the test that allows my doctor to say definitively that my traumatic brain injury is mild rather than moderate or severe?
- What are the signs and symptoms of a mild traumatic brain injury?
- Do auto accidents cause mild traumatic brain injuries?
A mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) is a medical classification for a type of traumatic brain injury. The effects of a mild traumatic brain injury can sometimes be relatively less severe than other traumatic brain injuries. Still, mild traumatic brain injury is a very serious condition, and cannot be taken lightly. It doesn’t mean the auto accident victim’s disabilities and impairments are also “mild.”
The American Congress of Rehabilitative Medicine defines mild traumatic brain injury by at least one of the following symptoms:
- Any period of loss of consciousness;
- Any loss of memory for events immediately before or after the accident;
- Any alteration in mental state at the time of the car accident such as feeling dazed, disoriented or confused and;
- Focal neurological deficits that may or may not be transient.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines a traumatic brain injury as a “disrupt[ion] of the normal function of the brain” due to “a bump, blow or jolt to the head…”
Similarly, the Mayo Clinic states that a traumatic brain injury “usually results from a violent blow or jolt to the head that causes the brain to collide with the inside of the skull.”
The CDC notes that traumatic brain injuries range in severity from “‘mild,’ i.e., a brief change in mental status or consciousness to ‘severe,’ i.e., an extended period of unconsciousness or amnesia after the injury.”
My doctor diagnosed me with a “mild” traumatic brain injury. Does that mean my traumatic brain injury is not a serious injury?
No. If you have a suffered a mild traumatic brain injury, you have suffered a very serious injury, and the effects can drastically change your life.
The CDC states that a MTBI “…can have serious and long-term impact on a person’s cognitive, physical and psychological function.”
For instance, a mild traumatic brain injury can affect a person’s thinking (i.e., memory and reasoning), sensation (i.e., touch, taste, and smell), language (i.e., communication, expression, and understanding), or emotions (i.e., depression, anxiety, personality changes, aggression, acting out, and social inappropriateness).
To “achieve optimal recovery and to reduce or avoid significant adverse health outcomes,” the CDC says that it is critical people with mild traumatic brain injury receive the appropriate diagnosis and referral, as well as education about mild traumatic brain injuries.
What is the test that allows my doctor to say definitively that my traumatic brain injury is mild rather than moderate or severe?
Unfortunately, there is no such test. And the diagnostic imaging tests that do exist — such as X-rays, CT scans (Computerized Tomography), and MRIs (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) — are generally not capable of definitively identifying and distinguishing mild traumatic brain injuries from moderate or severe traumatic brain injuries.
Accordingly, the “mild, moderate or severe” determination is largely a subjective one.
With commonly shared signs and symptoms, and no rigidly-defined criteria, traumatic brain injuries are classified as mild, moderate or severe based on subjectively reported, subjectively observed and subjectively interpreted symptoms.
“Mild,” “moderate,” or “severe” are merely medical classifications for traumatic brain injuries. They say nothing about the debilitating nature of the disabilities and impairments that result from the traumatic brain injuries.
Mild traumatic brain injury symptoms may appear immediately after a Michigan auto accident, or they may not appear for days, weeks, or months after the accident, according to the CDC.
In some cases, MTBI symptoms go unnoticed “until the person starts resuming their everyday life and more demands are placed upon them,” according to the CDC. “Sometimes, people do not recognize or admit that they are having problems. Others may not understand why they are having problems and what their problems are, which can make them nervous and upset.”
The CDC emphasizes that mild traumatic brain injury signs and symptoms are not always easy to identify and can easily go undetected: “People may look fine even though they are acting or feeling differently.”
Mild traumatic brain injury symptoms may include any of the following:
- Loss of consciousness.
- Altered level of consciousness (drowsy, difficult to arouse).
- Difficulty thinking clearly.
- Difficulty making decisions and solving problems.
- Difficulty concentrating and paying attention.
- Difficulty remembering new information and memory loss.
- Getting lost or easily confused.
- Slurred speech.
- Nausea or vomiting.
- Balance problems.
- Blurred vision.
- Sensitivity to noise and light.
- Ringing in ears.
- Lost of sense of taste and/or smell.
- Change in mood.
- Decrease in energy levels.
- Change in sex drive.
- Change in sleep patterns.
Here are some signs and symptoms of traumatic brain injury (many are similar to the list above).
Yes. The CDC reports that auto accidents and traffic-related crashes are “the second leading cause of” traumatic brain injuries in the U.S. every year, accounting for 20 percent of the approximate 1.7 million traumatic brain injuries that occur.
Additionally, car accidents, truck accidents and traffic-related crashes “result in the largest percentage of TBI-related deaths” annually. Read more about traumatic brain injury from auto accidents.
Our Michigan traumatic brain injury attorneys
For more information, call Michigan Auto Law at (800) 777-0028, or you can fill out our free consultation form. Our traumatic brain injury attorneys can answer all of your questions, and the call and the advice is free.
We have expert TBI attorneys with proven results, who are here to protect and recover for you.