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Can an Old Head Injury Cause Problems Years Later?

Written by Tom Crosley
Jul 14, 2020 Brain Injuries, Catastrophic Personal Injury, Personal Injury
  1. 1. What Are the Long-Term Effects of Concussions and TBI?
  2. 2. Can the Insurance Company Deny My Injury Claim Because I’ve Suffered Concussions in the Past or Have a Pre-Existing Condition?
  3. 3. Crosley Law: San Antonio’s Trusted TBI Lawyers

If you’ve ever suffered a concussion or traumatic brain injury, you know it can take time for the headaches, memory issues, and dizziness to go away. Sometimes, concussion victims suffer permanent damage that makes it difficult to work and do the things they love.

However, insurance companies will often try to minimize your TBI symptoms or blame your problems on pre-existing injuries, hoping you’ll give up your personal injury claim or accept an unfairly low settlement. In this article, the TBI lawyers at Crosley Law discuss older head injuries and how they can impact your right to compensation.

What Are the Long-Term Effects of Concussions and TBI?

Like many injuries, traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) can range from mild to catastrophic. Doctors group TBIs into three categories:

  • Mild TBI: Your brain imaging studies look “normal,” and you may have lost consciousness for just a few minutes (or not at all).
  • Moderate TBI: Your MRI or CT scan shows some damage to your brain, and your loss of consciousness may have lasted up to 24 hours.
  • Severe TBI: Your imaging studies show significant brain damage, your experience post-traumatic amnesia for more than 24 hours, and you lose consciousness for more than a day; some severe TBI victims remain in a persistent vegetative state.

While some victims will experience minor concussion symptoms for a few days, others will require a lifetime of intense medical care and support. And thanks to recent medical research, we now know a lot more about how TBIs impact people’s long-term wellbeing and the effects of repeated, mild head trauma.

Long-Term Effects of Concussions and “Mild” Traumatic Brain Injuries

About 20% of TBI survivors suffer from post-concussion syndrome. People with post-concussion syndrome experience headaches, dizziness, mood changes, decreased concentration, memory problems, and other concussion-like symptoms for months or even years after their head trauma. These symptoms can make it hard to maintain a job and keep up with your daily responsibilities. Each time you suffer a concussion, your risk of post-concussion syndrome increases.

Other times, a seemingly “minor” TBI causes profound disability. Medical imaging studies can’t always document subtle, traumatic changes to our brains. However, when your MRIs and CT scans are seemingly normal, the insurance company will typically deny your TBI claims, no matter how debilitating your symptoms are.

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For example, one of our clients survived a horrific head-on collision and suffered serious injuries. Even though his MRIs were “within normal limits,” his family noticed dramatic changes to his personality, mood, and memory. They were convinced he had suffered a TBI. While the insurance company agreed to cover his physical injuries, it disputed his TBI claim.

The Crosley Law team researched undiagnosed TBIs, reading countless medical studies and journal articles. We discovered a brand-new technology that researchers were using to identify and understand veterans’ brain injuries. We were able to connect our client with the right medical professionals and technology and got undeniable proof that he was living with a significant TBI. We took the case to trial, and a jury awarded our client $16 million.

Long-Term Effects of Moderate and Severe TBIs

As bad as “mild” TBIs can be, moderate and severe brain injuries pose even bigger long-term challenges. People with moderate and severe TBIs often live with permanent physical and mental limitations, including:

  • Memory loss
  • Poor attention and concentration
  • Difficulty forming and maintaining personal relationships
  • Problems with walking and mobility
  • Loss of motor skills
  • Problems with executive functioning and decision making
  • Decreased ability to process information
  • Problems with speech, language processing, and communication
  • Chronic pain
  • Vision problems
  • Seizures
  • Paralysis and muscle stiffness (spasticity)

Many people with severe and moderate TBIs need ongoing rehabilitation services and help with their daily tasks.

Without help from experts, it can be hard to understand the full impact of a moderate or severe brain injury. Unless you take a forward-looking, research-driven approach, catastrophic head injury claims can easily be undervalued. That’s why Crosley Law’s traumatic brain injury lawyers consult with a wide variety of experts, including neurologists, neuropsychologists, long-term planning specialists, and others.

Mental Health and TBIs

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Many people with brain injuries struggle with depression and anxiety. According to a 2013 study, people who suffer TBIs (even mild concussions) are four times more likely to report mental health issues later on. Other studies report that more than 50% of all TBI survivors live with depression. Tragically, people with a concussion are three times more likely to attempt suicide than the rest of the population.

If you’re noticing changes in your mood, increased irritability, anxiety, or feelings of worthlessness or helplessness, you are not alone, and there is help. We urge you to take the first step and talk to your doctors about your depression and anxiety. Therapy, medications, and counseling can help manage your symptoms and regain control.

If you are struggling with thoughts of harming yourself or others, seek help immediately. You can call 911, the National Suicide Prevention Hotline (800-273-8255), or go to your local emergency room.

Can the Insurance Company Deny My Injury Claim Because I’ve Suffered Concussions in the Past or Have a Pre-Existing Condition?

Under Texas law, insurance companies cannot deny your injury claim because you had a pre-existing condition. A legal doctrine called the “eggshell skull rule” protects victims who are more vulnerable to injury. If you suffered injuries in the crash or incident, you should be compensated for your losses.

However, insurance adjusters often try to take advantage of unrepresented victims by arguing that their headaches, memory problems, and other TBI symptoms are due to old head trauma or other pre-existing conditions. The insurer may even send you to “independent” examinations with doctors and neuropsychologists who will try to shift blame and help the company avoid liability.

To fight back, you’ll need an aggressive legal team and expert medical opinions. At Crosley Law, we’ve built a reputation for our cutting-edge medical knowledge, careful research, and innovative approach to brain injury claims.

For example, we represented a young pedestrian with autism, Zack, who was hit by a delivery driver. Zack suffered severe injuries, including a traumatic brain injury. However, when he filed a claim, the insurance company tried to blame his symptoms on his autism. The team at Crosley Law fought back with help from medical experts.

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In addition to questioning corporate representatives and identifying the at-fault employee’s pattern of reckless driving, we worked closely with Zack’s doctors and other medical experts. They explained how his head trauma had impacted his daily life and abilities. Thanks to our hard work and our witnesses’ expertise, the insurance company finally agreed to settle Zack’s injury claims for $9 million. This amount represented the top mediated settlement in Texas that year.

“Thanks to our hard work and our witnesses’ expertise, the insurance company finally agreed to settle Zack’s injury claims for $9 million. This amount represented the top mediated settlement in Texas that year.”

Crosley Law: San Antonio’s Trusted TBI Lawyers

Crosley Law has earned a reputation as one of Texas’ leading TBI law firms. We’ve handled a wide range of traumatic brain injury cases, from seemingly “minor’ concussions to catastrophic diffuse axonal injuries (DAIs).

If you’ve been injured or lost a loved one in a car accident, call Crosley Law today at 210-LAW-3000 | 210-529-3000 or use our quick online contact form. We’ll set up your free consultation so you can get free expert legal advice about your situation.


Committee on Sports-Related Concussions in Youth; Board on Children, Youth, and Families; Institute of Medicine; National Research Council; Graham, R., Rivara, F.P., Ford, M.A., et al., editors. (2014, February 4). Sports-Related Concussions in Youth: Improving the Science, Changing the Culture, 4, Treatment and Management of Prolonged Symptoms and Post-Concussion Syndrome. Washington (DC): National Academies Press. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK185342/

Fralick, M., Thiruchelvam, D., Tien, H., & Redelmeier, D. (2016, April 19). Risk of suicide after a concussion. Canadian Medical Association Journal. Retrieved from https://www.cmaj.ca/content/188/7/497

Moldover, J.E., Goldberg, K.B. & Prout, M.F. Depression after traumatic brain injury: A review of evidence for clinical heterogeneity. Neuropsychology Review 14, 143–154 (2004). https://doi.org/10.1023/B:NERV.0000048181.46159.61

Orlovska, S., Pedersen, M.S., Benros, M.E., Mortensen, P.B., Agerbo, E., & Nordentoft, M. (2014, April 1). Head injury as risk factor for psychiatric disorders: A nationwide register-based follow-up study of 113,906 persons with head injury. The American Journal of Psychiatry. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.ajp.2013.13020190

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.

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