tbi psychological effects

Personal Injury Law: The Psychological Effects of Traumatic Brain Injury

Authored by:

Attorney William Green from Delfino Green & Green Law


William Green
Mr. Green has made a career of championing the rights of the most vulnerable members of society against the most powerful corporations, government entities, and insurance companies. Where most attorneys take on “a case,” Mr. Green takes on clients and their cause.

Reviewed by:


Delfino Green & Green
For over 30 years, the highly skilled and experienced attorneys at Delfino Green & Green have been protecting the rights of individuals throughout California. We work hard to hold negligent parties accountable for their actions that caused injuries, insurance companies responsible for their promises to pay disability benefits, and employers accountable for their commitment to protecting their employees in the workplace.


When your future is on the line, you don’t want to work with just any lawyer—you need to partner with the best. As top brain injury lawyers in San Francisco, we have the resources and expertise to help you win. Contact us online to schedule a free case evaluation Not all injuries heal completely. Even after physical wounds fade, some head trauma victims carry long-lasting psychological consequences. One of the toughest things about suffering with psychological effects is that there’s not always a standard, effective treatment. When you break your arm, a doctor sets the bone. You know that eventually your arm will heal, but psychological symptoms aren’t on the same timeline. If you or one of your family members suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI)—even a mild traumatic brain injury—in an accident caused by someone else, you deserve compensation. You might have a long, expensive road of recovery ahead, especially if your injury results in sustained psychological symptoms. You’ll need money to pay for any unanticipated health problems that arise as a result. Luckily, you don’t have to figure it out alone. The compassionate brain injury attorneys at Delfino, Green & Green can assist you on this journey. We’ll evaluate your situation, present your legal options and help you decide on the best course of action. Ready to learn more about the psychological effects of traumatic brain injury? This article will go over everything you need to know, from possible symptoms to recovery options to how a lawyer can help protect your future. Need help now? If you’re already suffering serious psychological effects of traumatic brain injury, there’s no reason to wait. Call us at (415) 442-4646 to speak to a legal expert today.

What Is a Traumatic Brain Injury?

A traumatic brain injury is brain dysfunction caused by a sudden, violent blow to the head. TBIs are typically divided into two categories: closed and penetrating TBIs. A closed brain injury occurs when the brain bumps back and forth rapidly against the inside wall of the skull and does not involve a skull fracture. Conversely, a penetrating brain injury is one in which an outside object breaks through the skull and penetrates the brain. Medical experts also classify brain injuries as primary and secondary. With primary TBIs, the majority of damage is done as soon as the accident occurs. However, with secondary TBIs, the full extent of damage may unfold over a period of hours or days.

Potential Effects of TBI

Although mild TBIs or concussions may not result in long-term effects, more severe TBIs may cause a wide array of symptoms and conditions. Brain injury victims may experience cognitive, motor, perceptual, sensory, communication and functional deficits, as well as social difficulties, regulatory issues and psychiatric changes. Some TBIs, especially penetrating injuries, may also cause a person to develop epilepsy. With so many serious consequences to consider, the psychological effects of traumatic brain injury are often overlooked. However, they have the potential to be just as debilitating as any other.

How Brain Injuries Impact Psychology

Different areas of the brain are responsible for controlling cognitive, physical and emotional functioning. As a result, an injury to a specific part of the brain also affects its corresponding brain functions. For example, the frontal lobe is responsible for cognitive function and is often regarded as the part of the brain that houses personality. If a person’s frontal lobe sustains serious damage, they may undergo personality changes, and their emotions might become uncharacteristic.

Psychological Effects of TBIs

Depending on which part of the brain is injured and to what extent, a person may experience a variety of symptoms and changes. However, it’s important to remember that psychological effects rarely present right away, so it’s essential to undergo a thorough medical examination from a trusted healthcare provider after a suspected brain injury. Brain injury victims may develop an array of new psychological symptoms, including the following:
  • Disinhibition. People with frontal lobe damage may display poor impulse control and challenges with decision-making; they may struggle to stop themselves from acting in inappropriate ways.
  • Aggression, irritability and frustration. Aggressive behavior is more typically in the acute stages of an injury and may arise in the form of outbursts and foul language. Although it should be taken seriously, aggression is usually part of the recovery process.
  • Emotional lability. This term refers to inappropriate mood swings or out-of-context reactions, such as laughing during a sad movie.
  • Depression. People who’ve suffered a TBI are significantly more likely to develop mental health conditions like depression than those who haven’t. They are also more likely to suffer from anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other psychiatric disorders.
  • Lack of motivation. Some brain injuries result in difficulty accessing the cognitive processes needed to unlock motivation. Symptoms can include excess sleeping, low activity, social isolation and difficulty performing daily living tasks.
  • Anosognosia. This term refers to a lack of insight and is generally caused by damage to the frontal lobe. This condition makes it difficult or impossible for someone to understand or perceive their own condition.
  • Flat affect. Damage to the hypothalamus, amygdala, hippocampus and frontal lobe can all result in flat affect, or emotional inexpressiveness. Although the person still feels emotion, they are unable to convey it through facial expressions and tone of voice.
  • Perseveration. This refers to repetitive or continuous behaviors or the tendency to get stuck on certain thought patterns, ideas or topics.
Other psychological effects of brain injury can include paranoia, memory problems, sleep disturbances, executive dysfunction, confabulation and more. Although every case is different and every brain injury victim’s presentation of effects is unique, most depend on severity of injury and location.

Contact a Top Brain Injury Lawyer in San Francisco

If you’ve suffered a severe traumatic brain injury, you’re likely facing more than physical pain. You may suffer from neuropsychological impairments, mental illness and cognitive issues that require assistance from a caregiver. You may even require neurosurgery. Ask yourself: If your head injury was caused by someone else’s negligence, why should you have to pay the price? You shouldn’t, which is why our personal injury lawyers will do everything in their power to secure the compensation you deserve. All injury victims deserve access to healthcare options and medical treatments that improve their quality of life. However, without a settlement, you may struggle to finance your rehabilitation. Let us help. Contact Delfino, Green & Green online to schedule a consultation with one of our legal experts, or give us a call at (415) 442-4646 today.
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