How to Recognize a Brain Injury in Children
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of Michelle Martin with The Martin Law Firm.
A common misconception after head injuries is that a brain injury or traumatic brain injury (TBI) will be noticed right away. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. In fact, brain injuries often go undetected, even in emergency rooms. This can be problematic, as even brain injuries labeled “mild” or “moderate” can have serious consequences if left untreated.
Family members and friends are often the first to notice signs that something is wrong; this is particularly true for brain injuries that occur in children. Identifying brain injuries in children can be particularly difficult, as children often do not know how to express what they are feeling and, like adults, may not recognize changes in their own behavior. If your child has recently suffered an injury or accident in which they might have suffered head trauma, it’s important to be on the lookout for signs of brain injury.
Symptoms of a brain injury in children may include:
- Changes in eating or nursing habits
- Changes in sleep habits
- Unusual irritability
- Inability to be consoled when crying or distressed
- Unusual drowsiness
- Reverting to past stages of development
- Reduced coordination
- Impaired speech
- Loss of interest in previously enjoyed toys and activities
- Complaints of headache
- Memory loss
- Loss of consciousness for any period of time
Depending on the child’s age and development, the above symptoms may be more or less visible. For example, a child may not know how or when to tell their parent of a headache, but may instead cry, cover their eyes, or touch their head. If you suspect your child may be exhibiting symptoms of a brain injury, it’s important to seek medical care right away. A doctor can use medical technology to look below the surface and catch things that parents, teachers, and even emergency room staff may have missed.
Childhood brain injuries may affect the victim later in life.
Children are constantly developing important brain functions; when a brain injury occurs early on, depending on the type and severity of the injury, this could inhibit proper brain development and make developing those functions extremely difficult and may even remove some functions entirely. Whenever a child suffers a brain injury, even if it seems mild at first, it’s important to first seek medical care to prevent the injury from worsening and to start working toward physical healing.
However, after seeking medical care, it’s important to talk to a childhood brain injury attorney as soon as possible. Traumatic brain injury attorneys can give you an idea of what to expect for your child’s short and long-term future, and can help make a list of potential challenges you want to be compensated for in a brain injury lawsuit. Someone who suffered a brain injury in childhood may struggle academically, experience limited career opportunities, and require some form of physical, financial, and/or psychological support well into the future. The party responsible for the child’s injury should be held responsible for these expenses, and help to provide the ongoing care your child will need as a result of the accident.
Compensation in a successful childhood brain injury lawsuit may include medical bills, wages lost by the parent while caring for the child, pain and suffering, and whatever life care expenses medical and legal experts deem relevant to your child’s situation. Most personal injury attorneys offer free consultations and work on contingency, which means they only receive payment if and when they win the case; this allows families of TBI victims to focus on healing and recovery rather than worrying about another medical bill.
To learn more about childhood brain injuries and what to look for, or for help filing a claim, reach out to a TBI attorney in your area.