Traumatic brain injuries, or TBIs, can occur in a variety of South Carolina accidents: car wrecks, motorcycle accidents, an accident at work, or other accidents like falls. If you or a family member suffered a traumatic brain injury, you need to know the potential long-term effects.

Since I’m a Spartanburg accident and workers' comp lawyer who helps brain injury victims, I need to know too. So I did some research and found a 2014 study in the Journal of Neurotrauma called "Longitudinal Follow-Up Of Patients With Traumatic Brain Injury: Outcome At 2, 5, And 10 Years Post-Injury." Researchers assessed 141 TBI patients at 2, 5, and 10 years after their injury. I’m passing the results on to you.

In general, the study describes a challenging outlook for brain injury victims. The study evaluated subjects for problems in several areas, which I’ll elaborate on below:

  • Neurological symptoms
  • Cognitive, communication, behavioral, and emotional function
  • Independence in daily living
  • Returning to prior leisure activities
  • Effects on relationships

If you or someone you know suffers a traumatic brain injury in a South Carolina accident, you’ve got a lot at stake in your legal case, especially in protecting your right to future medical care—which can also be part of a workers’ comp settlement if you get hurt at work. It won’t cost a thing to get guidance from a Spartanburg accident and workers’ comp attorney. Call us toll-free at 888-230-1841.

Every Brain Injury Is Unique, but There Are Important Long-Term Trends

Major findings from the study include some general long-term trends in brain injuries:

  • TBI most commonly occurs in young adults with decades of life ahead. This makes it vital to protect the legal right to future care, if possible.
  • Long-term brain injury symptoms vary widely.
  • Some symptoms may improve over time, but some get worse. Generally, the ability to live independently and work improved, but not to pre-injury levels. Irritability, behavioral problems, and noise sensitivity tended to get worse.
  • Overall long-term recovery success often depends on the severity of the injury and the age of the victim. Folks diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries from moderate to severe tended to do worse, as did victims injured at age 50 or more.
  • There seemed to be a point at which problems became permanent. The study concluded problems present at 2 years after injury continued to persist to 10 years after injury.

Typical Long-Term Brain Injury Effects and Problems

The results of the study give brain injury victims a realistic appraisal of what the future may hold from a range of symptoms that can impact your whole life.

Neurological problems. This generally refers to the senses, which can be impacted by a brain injury:

  • Disturbingly, 7% of participants developed epilepsy.
  • About 1/3 suffered recurrent dizziness, headaches, vision problems, and a reduced sense of smell. Participants seemed to regain smell and stop feeling dizzy after 2 years. Headaches stopped after 5 years.
  • Over 55% experienced balance problems. Subjects seemed to have regained their balance after 5 years.
  • Over 70% of subjects reported fatigue, making it the most common problem.

Mobility problems. This area is a relatively bright spot, as most participants reported “high mobility” at all 3 measuring points in the study: 2 years out, 5 years out, and 10 years out.

Cognition, behavior, emotion, and communication. This remained a low point. The study referred to victims suffering this aspect of symptoms as “a high proportion”. Problems included:

  • Memory problems affected over 60% of participants.
  • Difficulty concentrating, slow thinking, mental fatigue, and word-finding struggles were cited by over half of the participants.
  • Struggling with planning, initiative, self-centeredness, and impulsivity nagged 25% - 45% of participants. Planning problems actually got worse as time progressed, surprisingly, from the group aged 50 or younger when hurt.
  • Inappropriate social behavior, struggles having speech understood by others, and following conversation also got worse over time. This was mostly in survivors with severe and very severe TBI.
  • Irritability hounded over 2/3 of participants.
  • Heightened anxiety and depression were reported by nearly 50% of participants.

Daily function. While over 95% of victims remained independent in personal activities, there were some important limitations reported:

  • About 30% needed help with heavy housework.
  • About 20% needed help shopping.
  • Managing finances became increasingly difficult over time.
  • Resumption of hobbies and leisure interests was disheartening, as only about half the participants returned to all or most of their previous interests after 2 years, increasing a little at 5 years, but then reducing again after 10. This was mostly seen in survivors with moderate to very severe injuries.

Relationship problems. This one’s hard.

  • Between 41% and 47% reported losing friends or experiencing more social isolation since the injury. This was mostly seen in survivors with severe and very severe brain injuries.
  • About 40% needed more support than before the injury.

Work. This changed mightily in most victims’ lives.

  • After 10 years, less than 12% of participants had returned to their pre-injury employment, but there was a bright spot: 40% returned to work in some capacity.

South Carolina Brain Injury Accident Victims Shouldn’t Go it Alone—and Don’t Have to

Dealing with an insurance company from an accident is risky and overwhelming—even when you haven’t sustained a profound injury to your body’s most vital organ that controls all functions, especially the ability to think and reason. Insurance companies prey on weakened victims, cheating them out of their rights by taking advantage of ignorance and fatigue.

You know better, or you wouldn’t be here. Get some guidance from a Spartanburg, South Carolina accident and workers' compensation attorney about your brain injury case. It won’t cost you a thing, and it might just give you priceless peace of mind.

You can call toll-free at 888-230-1841, fill out a Get Help Now form, or start a live chat.

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Rob Usry
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Rob is a Spartanburg personal injury lawyer. Rob also practices as a workers' compensation attorney.