If you or someone you love has suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI), you may understandably have questions and anxiety about the extent of recovery that may be possible. Unfortunately it's difficult to predict exactly to what extent a person may recover from a serious brain injury. In general, the more serious the injury, the more difficult the recovery will be. A person's age and health before the injury will also affect the degree to which recovery is possible.
Usually the greatest improvement happens in the first six months after a brain injury. As swelling and bleeding decrease and the person's brain begins to return to a more normal state, responsiveness and communication may increase. Improvement may continue over the course of two years, although likely at a slower rate than during the first six months. Recovery can be unpredictable and inconsistent, however, and requires patience on behalf of everyone involved.
As recovery progresses, a person with a TBI may progress from an outright coma to a vegetative state, where sleep-wake cycles begin but the person is still nonresponsive. From there, a person in recovery may become minimally conscious, and able to respond to commands and show emotion. The person may also become confused and agitated. Even at this point, it is difficult for medical professionals to predict how a person's recovery will progress. Brain scans are not able to detect all the effects of any given injury, and the same type of injury can cause different effects in different people. The uncertainty of a TBI prognosis can cause a great deal of stress in both the person injured and his or her loved ones. Patience and acceptance are essential during this time.
When a TBI is the result of another person's negligence, it's important to work with a lawyer who has a keen understanding of the nature of these types of injuries. That's because any settlement for a TBI injury should take into consideration that medical care will likely be needed over the long term, and that the exact needs of a person with a TBI may not even be known until later, sometimes much later. An experienced TBI lawyer will collect all the necessary medical evidence and expert opinion needed to push for the maximum possible compensation.