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What Are the Different Levels of Brain Injury?

Posted on August 14, 2023

Brain injuries can be sustained in many different types of accidents in Alabama, from motor vehicle collisions to slip and fall accidents. Depending on the location and severity of the injury, brain trauma can result in long-term or permanent physical, cognitive and emotional impairments. Brain injuries are divided into different levels when they are diagnosed in a patient.

Mild Brain Injury

A mild brain injury is the least severe type. It is typically characterized by little to no loss of consciousness (less than 30 minutes), as well as potential post-traumatic amnesia for less than one hour and normal brain imaging scans. Common symptoms include nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, headaches, dizziness, trouble sleeping, and sensitivity to light and sound.

Brain injuries are classified using the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS). This scale gives a patient a brain injury score of 3 to 15, with 3 being the worst and 15 being the best. These scores are calculated using three measures: eye response, verbal response and motor response. A mild brain injury has a GCS that ranges from 13 to 15.

The most common type of mild brain injury is a concussion. This is a traumatic brain injury (TBI) caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head. A mild concussion may have minor symptoms that go away on their own. In some patients, however, concussion symptoms can last for many weeks or months (post-concussive syndrome).

Moderate Brain Injury

The next level of brain injury is a moderate TBI. A moderate brain injury may result in unconsciousness for more than 30 minutes and up to 24 hours. It can also cause memory loss that lasts between 24 hours and 7 days. Other symptoms can include:

  • A persistent headache
  • Repeated nausea or vomiting
  • Slurred speech
  • Numbness or weakness anywhere in the body
  • Loss of coordination
  • Being unable to wake up from sleep
  • Restlessness or agitation
  • Personality changes
  • Confusion
  • Seizures or convulsions

Moderate brain injuries may appear as abnormal brain imaging scans, such as swelling (edema), bleeding (hemorrhage), atrophy or white matter hyperintensities. If a patient receives a score between 9 and 12 on the GCS, he or she has a moderate brain injury.

Severe Brain Injury

A severe brain injury is the most catastrophic type of cases which are handled by our team of Birmingham brain injury attorneys. It comes with a GCS score of 8 or lower, as well as loss of consciousness for more than 24 hours and memory loss for more than 7 days. Severe TBIs can come with the same symptoms as mild to moderate brain injuries; however, the symptoms may be more severe and could include a coma or vegetative state. Moderate to severe brain injuries may need surgery to treat, as well as medications, therapies and rehabilitation. In the worst cases, a severe brain injury can be fatal.

Diagnosed With a Brain Injury? Contact an Attorney for Legal Help

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with a brain injury in Birmingham after a preventable accident, contact a specialized Birmingham personal injury lawyer at Drake Law Firm, regardless of the level of the injury. There is no such thing as a minor brain injury. All brain injuries have the power to significantly affect a patient’s life. You and your family may be eligible for financial compensation from one or more parties for causing your brain injury. Discuss your legal options with an attorney at no cost or obligation. Call (205) 859-2236 today.