Brain Injury and Epilepsy FAQs

Brain injury and epilepsy affect thousands of people a year. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), over 3 million adults and 470,000 children across the U.S. deal with the brain disorder.

Whether they inherited it through genetics or acquired it through traumatic brain injury, many with epilepsy share the same questions about how brain injury and epilepsy are connected.

Below you will find answers to a few of the most common questions surrounding TBI and epilepsy, including what you can do if you believe you have epilepsy as the result of a preventable brain injury.

For some, epilepsy from a brain injury might necessitate legal action. If this describes your situation, it’s best to speak with a lawyer regarding the details of your personal case. Contact the experienced attorneys at the Smith Law Center if you believe another party was responsible for your trauma-induced epilepsy.

Can epilepsy cause brain damage?

Consecutive MRI images show a brain scan.

Studies are mixed in response to this question; however, most agree overall that mild to moderate brain damage can occur with prolonged, recurring seizures that accompany epilepsy. This is mainly caused by the atrophy or dying off of neurons in the brain. Early intervention can help curtail the long term effects of this.

One such study by the American Journal of Neuroradiology said that “brain damage can occur quickly and be profound,” while another by global information analytics, Elsevier, revealed that “most studies revealed no significant adverse effects.”

What can be concluded by most is that a seizure can compromise neurons in the brain — those cells that signal commands, send information, and coordinate muscle movements in the rest of the body. Still, most people with epilepsy are able to lead productive lives, in spite of how it may impair cognitive abilities.

Considering brain damage and epilepsy, there are two main factors that influence seizure-induced brain damage:

  • Age
  • Developmental stage

Teens and adults are more susceptible to damage after seizures than newborns and infants. The potential impact will also depend on the severity or type of seizure involved.

Regardless of your situation, the important note to make here is that any seizure is a reason for immediate medical treatment to avoid the risk of prolonged damage.

What is epilepsy?

Epilepsy is characterized by recurring, unprovoked seizures. A patient may be diagnosed with epilepsy if they have at least two unprovoked seizures that were not caused by a specific, known, and reversible medical condition like low blood sugar. Diagnosis can also occur in cases where a person has one unprovoked seizure with the likelihood of having more.

A group of medical practitioners analyze brain scans on a digital tablet in a hospital boardroom. Brain injury can lead to epilepsy, as studies have shown.

Epileptic seizures are typically related to two main causes: brain injury or genetic inheritance. In many cases, the cause is entirely unknown. The term “epilepsy” alone doesn’t specify the cause or severity of a person’s condition.

What are seizures?

A seizure describes an incident of strong electrical activity in the brain that comes without warning. They can last anywhere between 30 seconds to two minutes and momentarily control the way a person appears or behaves.

Starting in 2017, the Epilepsy Foundation began identifying seizures by a new system that categorizes them into three main types based on which part of the brain they begin in:

  1. Generalized Onset: Seizures involving both sides of the brain simultaneously
  2. Focal Onset: Seizures originating in one part or side of the brain
  3. Unknown Onset: Seizures where the location of origin is unknown or yet to be known

Seizure Symptoms

Seizures vary in their symptoms and intensities. At times, the symptoms are less visible, such as unexplainable emotional changes, nausea, or even hallucination. Other times, the effects of a seizure can lead to serious physical risk with:

  • Convulsions
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Falls and head injuries
  • Tongue biting

When a seizure occurs at a particularly inopportune time, the consequences can be drastic and cause further injury. If a person has a seizure when no one is around and falls unconscious or sustains a head injury, for example, he or she can suffer greater injuries due to delayed medical attention.

What is Post-Traumatic Epilepsy (PTE)?

Post-Traumatic Epilepsy is a type of epilepsy that stems from a brain injury, mostly involving the frontal and temporal lobes. Whereas other types of epilepsy can derive from genetics or family history, PTE is acquired after birth from an injury involving head trauma.

Post-Traumatic Epilepsy Symptoms

PTE is diagnosed when seizures last longer than a week after head trauma. When a person has Post-Traumatic Seizures (PTS), the seizures come in the week following a traumatic brain injury and are considered to be directly related to the head trauma. It is when the seizures persist after a week that it is considered PTE. This can also be called late PTS.

Brain Injury and Epilepsy

With 1.7 million people suffering a TBI each year, the CDC reports that one in ten of those who are 15 years or older will be diagnosed with epilepsy in the following three years.

Brain injury and epilepsy are a serious concern, since many times they are preventable.

If you believe you or a loved one have suffered a brain injury and epilepsy as a result due to the careless actions of another person, you might qualify for legal assistance to help with the cost of treatment. Learn more about your options by speaking to an attorney qualified in the areas of brain injury and epilepsy today by contacting the Brain Injury Law Center at (877) 537-4340.

Can you sue for getting epilepsy from a brain injury?

A group of medical practitioners analyze brain scans on a digital tablet in a hospital boardroom. Brain injury can lead to epilepsy, as studies have shown.

In many instances, epilepsy from traumatic brain injury is the result of another’s careless or negligent actions. For example, brain injuries can be caused by:

In such cases, it may be necessary to pursue legal action.

If a brain injury can be traced back to the negligence or carelessness of a party or person, you may be able to sue for all damages you have suffered as a result of that, including those caused by epilepsy. This is known as a personal injury lawsuit.

What can epilepsy compensation cover?

Epilepsy compensation can cover a range of damages.

As many who live with epilepsy are aware, living with the condition can require special needs. A person may have difficulty performing everyday tasks. For many, prescription drugs help minimize the sudden onset of seizures, while others may require help with transportation due to driving limitations.

Whatever your unique needs may be, it is worth speaking to an epilepsy attorney about whether you qualify for compensation to help with:

  • Lost wages or earning capacity
  • Transportation needs
  • Medical bills and prescription medication costs
  • Emotional pain and trauma

Those living with brain injury and epilepsy may also experience strain in their relationships as a result of drastic changes caused by the initial injury and the seizures themselves.

The particulars of your situation may warrant more or less financial compensation, which is why it’s best to speak with a qualified, experienced brain injury attorney. We can help you understand who may be liable for epilepsy due to a brain injury.

When the doctors explained that I had some slight but significant brain damage, my wife called the Brain Injury Law Center. Not only did he [Stephen Smith] pick up the phone, the number we called went directly to his cell phone. From that moment on, we knew we called the right guy. Stephen M. Smith and the Brain Injury Law Center were the only lawyers educated and sophisticated enough to try my case. I have no idea where I’d be today without them.— Tommy B.

Smith Law Center Attorneys

About Smith Law Center

Our lawyers are more than lawyers. They are people who understand your injuries and the law that surrounds your options when it comes to holding others accountable.

Talk to an Epilepsy Attorney About Your Rights

Understanding basic information about traumatic brain injury, epilepsy, and how they interact can have significant impacts on your ability to obtain a legal damages award.

If you or someone you know suffers from epilepsy because of a traumatic brain injury, please don’t hesitate to contact the lawyers at the Brain Injury Law Center to learn about your options.  Our knowledgeable, experienced attorneys have been handling brain injury and epilepsy cases since 1949. We have helped our clients receive over $1 billion in compensation for their injuries. We can help you, too.

Call us today at (877) 537-4340 for a free, private case review.

Mr. Smith came highly recommended when my husband was disabled in a car crash over the Christmas holiday when a truck swerved into his lane. It was nice to have someone advocating for us who had been down this path before. We wholeheartedly endorse Mr. Smith and the Brain Injury Law Center.— Sara R.


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