If you were injured in an auto accident that was caused by a negligent driver, you can face many obstacles in the weeks and months after the collision. A traumatic brain injury (TBI) can complicate your recovery and make it far more challenging.

Even a mild concussion is a form of TBI that results in at least a brief alteration in your mental status or involves a loss of consciousness. More serious TBIs can lead to permanent disabilities and your life as you knew it to be irrevocably changed.

What changes might you expect?

All TBIs are unique, so you can never base your own experiences on a textbook case or that of another TBI patient. In general, however, TBI patients might expect some of the following changes:

  • Problems communicating with others, expressing yourself and comprehending what others are trying to convey to you
  • Difficulties with both short- and long-term memory and reasoning abilities
  • Emotional lability, personality changes, social inappropriateness, anxiety, depression and aggression toward others
  • Problems with balance, sight and smell

Sometimes, TBI victims develop brain disorders like epilepsy, Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s disease after the accident. A person who has suffered multiple TBIs, e.g., boxers or football players, can develop cumulative cognitive and neurological defects that can even prove fatal.

How to facilitate your own recovery

Obviously, all TBI patients should closely follow the advice of their doctors and other care providers who are directing their treatment plans. With that in mind, the following tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) may aid in your recovery:

  • Make sure to rest sufficiently. Don’t tax your brain with school and work right after a TBI.
  • Protect your head from all future injuries. Additional jolts to the head could cause catastrophic damage.
  • Follow your doctor’s instructions about resuming driving and other activities. Reactions times are often altered or slowed by brain injuries.
  • Don’t drink alcohol or take recreational drugs. Wait until you have the all-clear from your neurologist before resuming these activities.
  • Develop a tickler system to prompt you. TBI patients can struggle to remember even basic tasks.

TBI patients are often helped by extensive therapies, which can be costly. You may need to take legal action to recoup some of your losses and damages.