Brain Injuries Are Often Difficult to Diagnose

We often have clients who have suffered a traumatic brain injury as a result of a serious car accident, trip and all, slip and fall, fall down a flight of stairs, or a semi-truck accident. Our clients are often scared and confused after they suffer a traumatic brain injury (TBI) because they can’t understand what’s happening to them. They know something is terribly wrong, and their loved ones are concerned, but nobody can pinpoint what the problem is.

Although brain injuries are very common after automobile accidents and premises liability accidents, they are notoriously difficult to diagnose because the symptoms are easily confused with other conditions. A TBI can also be difficult to diagnose because the injured person does not recognize what is going on. However, those closest to the injured person always know. They can always tell that something is wrong. If your loved one is just not acting the same after a car accident, truck accident, or some other accident in Orlando, Florida, be aware that he or she may have suffered a TBI.

Because those closest to a person who has suffered a TBI are the ones most likely to notice that something is wrong, we encourage them to learn the various symptoms of TBI so that they can help their loved one. You may have already noticed certain signs or symptoms that are often related to a traumatic brain injury. We have a resource that can help an injured person and their loved ones to help identify some of the common signs and symptoms of TBI. The resource is called the Traumatic Brain Injury Checklist, and it contains a worksheet to help those with a traumatic brain injury. This can help an injured person and his or her family identify common symptoms of TBI, and they can show the injured person’s treating physician the various TBI symptoms that person has been experiencing.

How to Diagnose TBI or Traumatic Brain Injury

How is a TBI Typically Diagnosed? As we talked about, it’s sometimes quite difficult to diagnose TBI. There are a number of tests that medical professionals use to diagnose a traumatic brain injury. Often times, doctors will use a combination of methods to better understand the brain injury and ultimately identify or diagnose TBI. Below are some of the more common tests doctors use to diagnose a traumatic brain injury after someone suffers head injuries because of an accident in the Orlando, Florida area.

Using the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) to Diagnose a Traumatic Brain Injury

The Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) is a commonly used and relatively simple test that medical providers may use to diagnose a traumatic brain injury in Florida. The GCS is typically used to measure a car accident or trucking accident victim’s brain function in three primary areas:

The Injured Person’s Verbal Response

Doctors using the Glasgow Coma Scale will check to see if an injured person can speak normally; whether they make sense when they speak; or whether that person can speak at all. Doctors will also check to see if the injured person’s conversation sounds confused or if the person uses inappropriate words or has overall incomprehensible speech.

The Injured Person’s Eye-Opening Response

Doctors using the Glasgow Coma Scale will check to see if an injured person can open their eyes. They will also check the injured person’s blinking response to see if that person spontaneously blinks his or her eyes. Doctors will also check to see if the injured person can open their eyes on command or when asked.

The Injured Person’s Motor Response

Doctors will check to see if the injured person obeys commands for movement. They’ll also check to see if the injured person will move in response to a painful stimulus or if that person withdraws in response to pain. Doctors using the Glasgow Coma Scale will also check to see if that person exhibits flexion or extension in response to pain, or if that person exhibits no response to pain at all.

Using Computerized Tomography (CT) Scans to Diagnose TBI

Computerized tomography (CT) scans are often performed in the emergency room or at the hospital directly after a serious Orlando car accident or truck accident. CT scans are used to identify serious brain injuries, like bleeding in the brain, sometimes called “intracranial hemorrhage,” or a fracture to the skull. Even though a CT scan can be very helpful in diagnosing a brain injury, a CT scan will sometimes show “normal” results, even when the scanned person has a brain injury and is displaying traumatic brain injury symptoms. After this type of false negative testing, an injured person should be diligent in recording any brain injury symptoms and alert his or her medical provider if the symptoms persist. Further testing could identify an existing traumatic brain injury. In other words, just because a CT scan failed to diagnose a TBI, that does not mean the person does not have a TBI.

After going to the emergency room in the hours immediately following a serious car accident or truck accident, the emergency room doctor will typically instruct the car accident or truck accident victim who has suffered a concussion to follow up with his or her primary care doctor in the weeks ahead. The primary care doctor can then monitor the patient’s TBI symptoms and refer the patient to a neurologist if TBI symptoms persist. The neurologist may then diagnose TBI.

Using MRIs, EEGs & Advanced Testing to Diagnose TBI

If medical providers believe a person has suffered a TBI, neurologists will likely request that the injured person undergo an MRI or EEG. These scans are used to evaluate an injured person’s brain activity. Like the CT scan we discussed above, an MRI and EEG may not indicate a TBI, even where the patient sustained a concussion or other closed head injury and even when that person continues to display TBI symptoms.

If you believe you have suffered a TBI, but your CT scan, MRI, or EEG came back with “normal” results, you may need to consider more advanced testing used to diagnose TBI. Thus, if you continue to experience the common TBI symptoms, like headaches, difficulty speaking, difficulty concentrating, emotional volatility or mood swings, memory loss, or any other common brain injury symptoms after your car accident, truck accident, slip and fall, trip and fall, or other accident, you should follow up with your neurologist. Your neurologist may recommend more advanced TBI testing. Some of the advanced tests available to you may include the following:

  • Intracranial Pressure (ICP) Monitoring;
  • Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI); and
  • Susceptibility Weighted Imaging (SWI).

These types of advanced tests can help to identify or diagnose a traumatic brain injury that a CT scan, MRI, or EEG may have missed.

Schedule You FREE Legal Consultation With An Orlando Brain Injury Lawyer

Our Florida brain injury lawyers are dedicated to helping people who have sustained brain injuries as a result of car wrecks, semi-truck wrecks, nasty slip and falls, and other accidents that occur because of another’s negligence. If you have questions about traumatic brain injuries after accidents, we are available as a resource for you. 

As we talked about earlier, you can go to our Free Resources page and download the Traumatic Brain Injury Checklist to use as a reference for common TBI symptoms. Again, we recommend the injured person and some of his or her closest friends or relatives go over the checklist together because TBI symptoms are often recognized by those closest to us, even when we can’t recognize them.

If you have any questions at all, or if you want to discuss your case with an Orlando brain injury attorney, please contact our law firm at (321) 352-7588 for your free consultation. You can also contact us on our website to schedule your free consultation. If you or your loved one has been in an accident, and if something seems wrong, take action as soon as possible. Please don’t delay seeking help with a TBI.

If you need a South Carolina personal injury lawyer, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at (843) 638-6590. We have at least one lawyer licensed in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. So, if you’ve been injured in the Southeast, we may be able to help you. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

For more information on personal injury cases in general, you can download our free personal injury guide: P.I. 101: Your Quick Guide to Personal Injury Claims.