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Brain injuries also affect the families of victims

There's a lot of information that a neurologist can glean from an MRI or a CT-scan after someone has a brain injury.

What they can't tell you, however, is how the victim's family dynamics may change as a result of his or her brain injury. That's because there are a number of impairments that may not be clearly visible until the victim leaves the hospital and tries to reenter his or her life.

Many brain injury survivors and their families experience similar problems once they leave the clinical setting:

-- Brain injuries often lead to social isolation because the victim is sometimes visibly scarred and either feels uncomfortable in public or actually experiences public rejection because of his or her appearance.

-- Behavioral changes are common. A brain injury victim may turn to alcohol or drugs to cope with his or her pain. Someone who was pleasant and easygoing may become hostile, violent and aggressive. Someone who was outgoing and engaging may become withdrawn and paranoid. This can change the way the entire family relates to the victim. Spouses may leave, children may grow distant and support systems may wither.

-- Emotional problems are another common issue suffered by brain injury victims. Depression isn't unusual because the victim may have lost his or her sense of self-worth if he or she can no longer perform the role he or she had in the family prior to the accident.

-- Communication impairments also often arise. Cognitive dysfunction can cause the victim to misunderstand what he or she hears or reads and he or she may have a hard time expressing what he or she wants to say. That increases the victim's sense of isolation.

-- Memory issues can rob the victim of long-term memories and make him or her feel like a stranger even among family. Short-term memory problems can make it impossible to remember new information, a fact that can frustrate both the victim and his or her family.

These are just some of the ways that brain injuries can affect a victim and his or her family. While they aren't easy to calculate in terms of dollars and cents, they do need to be considered for compensation when it comes to your personal injury claim. Make sure you discuss these issues with your attorney as soon as possible.

Source: brainline.org, "Life with a Brain Injury: Preparing Yourself and Your Family," Garry Prowe, Brain Injury Success Books, accessed July 05, 2017

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