Different types of brain injuries can occur as a result of an accident. How an individual reacts to a brain injury will vary depending upon its severity and their previous health. It is possible to experience temporary or permanent damage even after a minor bump to the head.

We have listed the different types of brain injury, what they mean and how they could affect you in our glossary below.

Brain injury glossary

Traumatic brain injury (TBI)

A traumatic brain injury is an injury to the brain caused when the head is shaken, struck, or pierced by an object. A TBI is the most common type of brain injury. There are different types of traumatic brain injuries, which are listed further down the page.

Is TBI permanent?

Most TBIs don’t cause long term disability. Depending upon the severity of the brain injury there is a risk of permanent neurobiological damage. The long term effects of a TBI can include difficulties with attention, concentration, speech and language, memory loss, as well as physical changes including paralysis, weakened muscles, dizziness, fatigue and blurred vision.

Is a TBI a disability?

Loss of power in the limbs and speech impairment are some of the most visible signs of a brain injury, however, a TBI can cause ‘hidden disabilities’. Hidden disabilities are those that affect cognitive functioning such as memory, sequencing of thought processes, irritability, disinhibition, and fatigue.

Can TBI patients fully recover?

The more severe the brain injury is, the more severe the effects are likely to be. Each person is different. There is no set timeframe to achieve maximum recovery. It is usually a slow process taking months or sometimes years. Access to early specialist rehabilitation is often key in minimising overall effects. Unfortunately, in severe cases, survivors may suffer permanent changes. Rehabilitation will help the brain to learn alternative ways of working and help survivors to cope with resulting disabilities.

Acquired brain injury (ABI)

An acquired brain injury (ABI) is a brain injury that occurs after birth. Causes of an acquired brain injury include stroke, tumour, infection or brain haemorrhage as well as alcohol or drug use. Our solicitors are experts in acquired brain injury claims, including stroke misdiagnosis claims.


What are the symptoms of an acquired brain injury?

Acquired brain injury causes symptoms similar to those suffering from a traumatic brain injury. Symptoms include headaches, dizziness, fatigue, memory loss, and depression. The type of rehabilitation an acquired brain injury patient will require depends on the severity of the brain injury. There are different types of rehabilitation available, which will depend on how severe the brain injury is.


Amnesia is a failure of memory recall. Post-traumatic (anterograde) amnesia can occur after a period of unconsciousness. Sometimes amnesia affects both before (retrograde amnesia) and after the traumatic event or condition. The length of time memory is affected usually depends on the severity of the brain injury.

Alzheimer’s disease

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia caused by parts of the brain shrinking. Research into Alzheimer’s and its possible causes continues.

Brain haemorrhage

A brain haemorrhage is bleeding in or around the brain either as a result of a ruptured aneurysm, known as a haemorrhagic stroke or following a significant blow to the head.

Cerebral hypoxia

Cerebral hypoxia is an interruption to the supply of oxygen in the brain. A lack of oxygen can have many different causes.

Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE)

Encephalopathy is a disease in which the function of the brain is affected by an agent or condition. CTE is a type of dementia and can be linked to repeated injuries to the head.

Closed head injury (CBI)

A closed head injury is an injury to the brain that has occurred with no penetration to the scalp or skull.


A concussion is a temporary disturbance in the brain’s functioning as a result of a blow or violent and abrupt shake/jolt to the head.

Is a concussion a brain injury?

A concussion is a mild and temporary traumatic brain injury. Most concussion symptoms can be treated at home. However, you should seek medical advice if you have been concussed or have problems with your memory after a blow to the head.

What is post-concussion syndrome?

Post-concussion syndrome occurs long after the original blow to the head and the symptoms can include headaches, nausea and memory problems.

How long does concussion syndrome last?

There is no set time for how long it takes for concussion to pass. Symptoms, such as headaches, can last just a few days or can persist for much longer.

Can you claim compensation for concussion?

You may be able to make a claim if your concussion injuries were caused in an accident that wasn’t your fault or by someone else’s negligence. Find out more about making a concussion claim on our brain injury claims page.


Diplopia is another word for double vision, which is when you look at one object but can see two images. Double vision can occur in one or both eyes and can happen as a result of an injury to the head.


Hemiplegia is a form of paralysis on one side of the body it can occur after a brain injury, particularly a stroke. It can affect mobility and cause muscle weakness, including incontinence.


Hydrocephalus is a build-up of fluid on the brain causing pressure and ultimately damage. Acquired Hydrocephalus can be caused by a head injury.

Ischemic stroke

Ischemic stroke is a type of stroke resulting from a blood clot in a blood vessel which causes a blockage of blood flow.

Parkinson’s disease

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive brain condition which can reduce movement and cause rigidity and tremors. The precise cause of Parkinson’s disease is unknown.

Post-concussion syndrome

Post-concussion syndrome is a series of symptoms that can occur long after the original concussion injury. Symptoms may include fatigue, dizziness, headaches, nausea and memory problems.

Have you or a loved one suffered a brain injury?

At Thompsons, we have decades of experience helping individuals with brain injuries and understand the significant impact they can have on both you and your family members. We're dedicated to building a case for compensation that looks at the long-term picture to help rebuild your life post-injury. Find out more on our brain injury claims page.