Common Tests Doctors Use to Check for TBI Diagnosis in California

In 2020, around 176 Americans died from complications related to traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) every single day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That’s shocking, but it only scratches the surface of the problem.

That’s because thousands of people who suffer TBIs don’t die from them, but they still suffer long-term effects. These injuries, which arise after a significant impact or shock to the head, can change the entire way in which your brain works.

Here’s the problem: You may not know you have a TBI after an accident. And you need to know. You need to know so you can get appropriate medical treatment and, if applicable, file a personal injury lawsuit.

How do you know? By getting tested. Your doctor will use one or more common tests to check you for TBI after you have been injured in a car accident, fall, or similar accident. 

Read on to learn everything you need to know about the common tests doctors use to check for TBI. And if you’ve been hurt in an accident that was someone else’s fault, reach out to our Orange County TBI attorney at Case Barnett Law to discuss your legal options.

brain scan for tbi in california

Why Get Tested for TBI After a Head Impact?

Before we jump into the types of tests doctors use to diagnose TBIs in accident victims, we should emphasize the importance of getting tested for a TBI after a head impact in the first place.

Let’s make it really clear: If you’ve hit your head, you need to get tested — plain and simple. Even if you feel fine, take the time to get tested as soon as possible. 

There are a couple of great reasons for that. First, many TBIs, such as concussions, may not be immediately noticeable. Without testing, you may not know you have a TBI at first, but your brain and overall health may be in danger all the same.

The other reason is a legal one. If your TBI is the result of someone else’s negligence, California law enables you to file a personal injury claim seeking compensation from them. In order for that claim to be successful, you will have to show, among other things, that you actually have a TBI.

There’s no better way to show that you have a TBI than with your medical records created by your doctor. In other words, seeing your doctor to get tested for a TBI creates evidence that shows that you have a TBI. And that can be extremely useful in court.

5 Common Traumatic Brain Injury Tests

Doctors are developing new and innovative ways to test for and treat TBIs all the time, but these tests are currently some of the most common ways doctors diagnose TBIs:

1. Series of Questions About the Head Injury

Many of the signs and symptoms of TBIs are relatively easy for trained medical professionals to spot. So, some doctors start out by asking a series of questions about the head impact to determine whether a TBI has occurred. 

Here are some examples of the questions a doctor might ask:

  • How did the accident happen?
  • Was your head hit directly?
  • Did you lose consciousness at any point?
  • Are you having trouble staying awake or communicating?

2. Computerized Tomography (CT) Scans

A CT scan is one of the first tests doctors might use in the emergency room. This is an imaging test that uses X-ray technology to show doctors your brain. They use these images to determine whether there is structural evidence of a TBI.

3. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

MRIs are similar to CT scans — using high-powered magnets, they produce a detailed image of the brain so doctors can determine whether a TBI has occurred.

4. Intracranial Pressure Monitoring

When a TBI has occurred, it can cause swelling that can become dangerous. Doctors may insert a device called an intracranial pressure monitor to monitor for that swelling. If swelling is detected, it can help doctors diagnose a TBI.

5. Glasgow Coma Scale

The Glasgow Coma Scale is a test that checks your ability to move your limbs and eyes and follow directions. Scored on a 15-point scale, the test helps doctors determine the likelihood that you have suffered a brain injury.

What Happens When You Have a Brain Injury

What if one of the tests your doctor uses to diagnose a TBI shows that you do, in fact, have a brain injury? What happens then?

First and foremost, you get treatment. Your doctor will recommend the treatment that is best for your unique situation and injury.

But after that, you may find yourself wondering who is going to pay for all of these treatments. If the accident that caused this mess wasn’t your fault, you shouldn’t be footing the massive bills that a TBI can cause.

The good news is that you may not have to. Thanks to California’s personal injury laws, you may be able to file a personal injury claim against the party who caused your brain injury. If your claim is successful, you can recover compensation for every way in which this brain injury has affected and will affect your life. 

It’s not perfect justice, but it’s a start. However, it’s not guaranteed. Expect fierce resistance from the at-fault party, their attorneys, and their insurers. If they win, you lose your ability to recover full compensation for your accident. 

That’s why so many people in your situation turn to an experienced Costa Mesa personal injury attorney like those on the trusted team at Case Barnett Law.

Brain Injury? Get Tested and Get Help

If you’ve hit your head in an accident of any kind, you can’t afford to skip the TBI test. For your safety and your ability to recover compensation, testing is essential. Fortunately, your doctor will be happy to check you to make sure you’re OK and receiving the proper treatment.

From there, when you’re considering taking legal action, you don’t have to act alone. You can get help, and the help you get can make or break your case. For help from a trusted personal injury attorney, look no further than the team at Case Barnett Law.

Case C. Barnett
Costa Mesa Personal Injury Attorney practicing in child injury law, car accident injuries and elder abuse law