When someone you love suffers from a severe brain injury, it can be difficult to understand exactly what is going to happen next. Not all brain injuries are the same, but there is a basic path to recovery.

To begin with, you may see some swelling, bleeding or changes in the way the brain’s chemistry affects the way the victim functions. This tends to last for at least a few weeks after the initial injury. If the injury is severe enough, the victim may even be in a coma. As they improve, they may move into a vegetative state, where they can usually breathe on their own and may have some reflex responses. 

Sometimes, those in vegetative states can make some movements, and they may have sleep-wake cycles once again. Hopefully, this stage moves quickly, so that they can move on to the minimally conscious state. 

In the minimally conscious state, the individual can usually recognize where some visual stimulation or sound is coming from. They may be partially conscious and respond in some ways, though it’s likely that those responses will be inconsistent. Once a person is able to answer simple questions, like what their name is or naming the identities of a few common objects, they’ll emerge from the minimally conscious state to a conscious state (in medical terms).

You should know that confusion and disorientation is totally normal following a moderate or severe brain injury. This generally gets better over time, with most of the recovery occurring within six months of the initial injury.

Living with a brain injury can be difficult, especially in the early days. Your attorney will be there to help you with a claim, so you can focus on recovery.