Can You Tell If Someone Has A Brain Injury?


By Mel Chaudhary

Lawyer – Simpson, Thomas & Associates


June is Brain Injury Awareness month in Canada.  The purpose of Brain Injury Awareness Month is to promote injury prevention and increase understanding of the effects of an acquired brain injury. Awareness of the signs and symptoms of a brain injury is particularly important to ensure that a brain injury is not missed after a car accident or other traumatic incident. The effects of a traumatic brain injury can often be subtle. A person may look fine, but act or feel differently. Here are some of the ways to tell if someone has sustained a brain injury.

Can You Tell If Someone Has a Brain Injury After a Car Accident?

Following a trauma such as a motor vehicle accident, it may be immediately apparent that a person has sustained a brain injury (for example, slurred speech, vomiting, seizure, or loss of consciousness at the scene of the accident). In other cases, the signs and symptoms of a brain injury may not be readily apparent for several days or weeks, and the effects may fluctuate over time. Here are some of the ways to tell if someone has possibly sustained a traumatic brain injury:

  • Pain and headaches
  • Dizziness and loss of balance or coordination
  • Feeling confused or disoriented
  • Sensitivity to light or sound
  • Sensory changes (for example, loss of sense of taste or smell, ringing in the ears, blurred or double vision)
  • Difficulties with concentration, memory, and decision-making
  • Mood swings, irritability, extreme emotional reactions, or other unusual behaviour
  • Changes in sleeping patterns (insomnia or oversleeping)

Can You Tell If Someone Has Sustained a Brain Injury In The Past?

A brain injury may lead to long-lasting – and in some cases permanent – physical or mental disability. The effects of a brain injury over the long-term will vary from person to person and depend on the severity of the brain injury (for example, a mild concussion vs. a severe traumatic brain injury).  Here are some areas of difficulty that may indicate that someone is dealing with the ongoing effects of a brain injury:

  • Communication (difficulties with word-finding or following conversations, trouble with reading and/or writing).
  • Information processing and decision-making (for example, difficulty with cognitive tasks such as following a recipe or other instructions, giving directions, reading a map).
  • Physical impairments (ranging from challenges with fine motor skills, such as writing with a pen or buttoning a jacket, to difficulties with more substantial movements such as walking, talking, eating and swallowing).
  • Memory deficits (forgetting information, relying on written lists or reminders/alarms).
  • Depression, anxiety, lack of energy and motivation, feeling tired all the time.
  • Filtering reactions and emotions (outbursts, saying or doing inappropriate things, personality changes).

If you would like more information, we encourage you to have a look at our FAQs about brain injuries on or visit the resources section of the Fraser Valley Brain Injury Association.

Access Trusted Guidance & Legal Advice

If you or a loved one has suffered a brain injury as a result of an intentional or negligent act, you may be eligible to start a personal injury claim and obtain the rightful compensation.An experienced brain injury lawyer will protect your legal rights, but even more than that, your lawyer will be an advocate on your behalf, securing the best treatment and funding to expedite recovery. Contactourexperienced lawyerstoday at (604) 689 8888 or request a free legal consultation on

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