Levels of Brain Injury

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every year, nearly 3 million people visit emergency departments, are hospitalized, or die because of traumatic brain injuries. Below, our personal injury lawyers discuss the different levels of brain injury and the symptoms associated with them.


A mild traumatic brain injury affects the brain cells temporarily. There may be a loss of consciousness of about 20 minutes to one hour or a mental status change of less than 30 minutes.

The Glasgow Coma Scale is used to measure traumatic brain injuries. This assessment tool assigns a number of points to a patient based on certain information, such as:

  • Best eye opening response – 1-4 points
  • Best motor response – 1-6 points
  • Best verbal response – 1-5 points

The higher the score, the less severe the injury is. A mild traumatic brain injury corresponds with a Glasgow Coma Scale of 13-15.

Symptoms associated with a mild traumatic brain injury include:

  • Temporary loss of consciousness
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Pupil dilation
  • Sensitivity to light or sound
  • Bad taste in the mouth or changes in appetite
  • Headache
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fatigue or drowsiness
  • Speech problems
  • Difficulty sleeping or sleeping longer than usual
  • Dizziness or loss of balance


A moderate traumatic brain injury can result in loss of consciousness from one hour to 24 hours or mental status change up to six hours. Moderate traumatic brain injuries correspond to a Glasgow Coma Scale of 9-12 points.


More serious traumatic brain injuries can result in long-term complications or death. Loss of consciousness can last for more than 24 hours or a mental status change of greater than six hours. The Glasgow Coma Scale for severe traumatic brain injuries is 3-8. The cutoff point for coma is 8 points.

Symptoms of moderate to severe traumatic brain injuries include the same symptoms as a mild traumatic brain injury, plus:

  • Possible loss of consciousness for several minutes to days
  • Persistent headache or headache that worsens over time
  • Repeated vomiting or nausea
  • Convulsions or seizures
  • Clear fluid or blood draining from the ears or nose
  • Swelling around the eyes or ears
  • Numbness or weakness
  • Irregular breathing
  • Difficult waking from sleep
  • Problems sleeping or communicating
  • Coma
  • Profound confusion
  • Irritability, depression, combativeness, unusual behavior
  • Fatigue

Common Causes of Traumatic Brain Injuries

Many instances of traumatic brain injuries occur because of accidents caused by the negligence of others, such as:

  • Car accidents
  • Truck accidents
  • Pedestrian accidents
  • Motorcycle accidents
  • Bike accidents
  • Slips and falls
  • Medical malpractice

Traumatic brain injuries are also sometimes caused by intentional actions, such as shooting or stabbing someone.

A personal injury lawyer can evaluate your claim and determine if someone else is responsible for the injuries you or your loved one suffered.

Contact Our Experienced Personal Injury Lawyers for Help with Your Traumatic Brain Injury Claim

If you were injured because of the negligence of others, you may be able to seek compensation for the damages you have suffered. Aitken * Aitken * Cohn offers a free case review to discuss your legal rights and options. If you have questions about whether another party is responsible for the accident or what the value of your claim might be, contact us. An experienced San Bernadino brain injury lawyer from our firm can evaluate your claim.