At Ashby Thelen Lowry, our Georgia personal injury attorneys know brain injuries are often classified based on their severity, and the classification helps in understanding the potential impact on cognitive and physical function.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), a traumatic brain injury, or TBI, is an injury that affects how the brain works. TBI is a significant cause of death and disability in the United States. The CDC reported last year there were more than 214,000 TBI-related hospitalizations. There were over 69,000 TBI-related deaths in the United States over the same period. That’s about 190 TBI-related deaths every day.

Understanding these critical injuries helps physicians treat TBI patients. It allows the injured to understand what to expect from their unique injuries so they can potentially adjust to temporary or permanent life changes that come with them.

Severe Brain Injuries

The Three Main Categories are Mild, Moderate, and Severe Brain Injuries

A traumatic brain injury is an injury that affects how the brain works and may be caused by a:

  • Bump, blow, or jolt to the head, or
  • Penetrating injury (like from a gunshot) to the head.

Anyone can experience a TBI in a myriad of ways, including vehicle collisions, explosions, or violent acts, to name just a few incidents.

Three main classifications of TBIs are generally determined by the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS), a neurological scale that assesses a person’s level of consciousness following a brain injury.

They include:

Mild Brain Injury

GCS Score: 13-15


  • Brief loss of consciousness, if any (usually less than 30 minutes).
  • Transient confusion or disorientation.
  • Memory loss of events immediately before or after the injury (amnesia).
  • Mild symptoms such as headache, dizziness, and nausea.
  • Normal imaging results (CT scans and MRIs may appear normal).

Prognosis: Individuals with mild brain injuries often recover fully with appropriate rest and care.

However, some may experience persistent symptoms, such as headaches, memory issues, and difficulty concentrating, known as post-concussion syndrome.

Moderate Brain Injury

GCS Score: 9-12


  • Loss of consciousness lasting more than 30 minutes but less than 24 hours.
  • More pronounced cognitive and physical impairments than in a mild injury.
  • Abnormal findings on imaging studies.
  • Longer recovery period and a higher risk of long-term deficits.

Prognosis: The prognosis for moderate brain injuries varies. Some individuals may experience significant recovery, while others may have lasting cognitive and physical impairments. Rehabilitation is often an essential part of the recovery process.

Severe Brain Injury

GCS Score: 3-8


  • Prolonged loss of consciousness, often exceeding 24 hours.
  • Severe cognitive and physical impairments.
  • Abnormal findings on imaging studies.
  • High likelihood of long-term disability or impairment.

Prognosis: Severe brain injuries are associated with a higher risk of long-term disability, and the extent of recovery can vary widely. Rehabilitation, medical interventions, and ongoing care are crucial for maximizing the quality of life for individuals with severe brain injuries.

It is important to note that the classification into mild, moderate, or severe brain injury does not capture the full range of potential outcomes for individuals with brain injuries.

Each injury is unique, and factors like the location of the injury, individual health, and prompt medical care also influence the overall prognosis. Early and appropriate medical intervention, rehabilitation, and ongoing support contribute significantly to the recovery process for individuals with brain injuries.

If you or someone you love has suffered a TBI caused by negligence, contact our skilled Georgia personal injury lawyers and support team at Ashby Thelen Lowry today at (404) 777-7771 to schedule a free consultation so we can tell your story and ensure your voice is heard by pursuing the best outcome for your unique case.

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