Many veterans have experienced a traumatic brain injury or TBI, but aren’t aware of the lasting effects such an injury can have, even years later. There are a lot of ways veterans incur TBIs: car accidents, hitting your head during training, being assaulted, or being near explosions such as improvised explosive devices (IEDs) or landmines. If at any point during your training or service, you experienced a loss of consciousness, however short, you may have a TBI.
Most people know about post-concussion symptoms like persistent headaches and dizziness. What you may not know is that those with TBIs can experience other symptoms that might not be obvious to the injured person, such as personality changes, mood swings, short term memory loss, and difficulty concentrating. TBI injuries can also be cumulative, meaning that if you experience multiple TBIs, the effects can be worse.
In order to receive compensation for a traumatic brain injury, a veteran will need to show that there was some event or injury while in service. If you are a combat veteran, and sustained a TBI during combat, your testimony will likely be enough to establish that you had a head injury. Otherwise, you will likely need service treatment records that indicate you sought treatment for a head injury or concussion. If you had a head injury but didn’t report it, buddy statements from people who were with you at the time can be very helpful in establishing the original injury.
In addition, you will need to show lasting effects, which may not always be apparent. If you have frequent headaches, be sure to write down how often they occur, how long they last, the level of pain, whether medication is helpful, and whether they interrupt your activities. Ask your family and friends if they noticed personality changes, memory loss, or changes in your mood after your injury. Be sure to list all of your symptoms when applying for benefits, and request a TBI examination from the VA.
Traumatic brain injury has been recognized as a common injury for veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the VA changed the rating schedule for TBI in 2008. If you were service-connected for TBI prior to that date, you may ask to have your case reviewed. Or, if you experienced a head injury while in service and believe you may have some of the symptoms of a TBI, you can request compensation now. Whether you are already service-connected and believe you should be compensated at a higher rate, or need help getting service-connected, we are happy to help you pursue your claims. Please contact us at (888) 883-2483 for assistance.
Our monthly newsletter features about important and up-to-date veterans' law news, keeping you informed about the changes that matter.