A new study published in the medical journal JAMA Psychiatry says that victims of mild traumatic brain injuries in Nevada and other states are at a higher risk for developing a mental disorder. Specifically, victims are at a greater risk for PTSD and depression than victims with non-brain injuries. Traumatic brain injuries can occur when the head is given a jolt, blow, or bump or when the skull is penetrated. The study involved more than a thousand patients over two years.

More than 60 percent of victims who receive traumatic brain injuries do so in car accidents. The rest were a result of falls, accidents, assault, and some unknown causes. Symptoms of mental disorders typically show up about three to six months after the injury. Those who had mental health problems before their injuries were at particularly high risk for developing PTSD and depression. While the study provides valuable information, more research is needed before the results can be generalized to hospitals.

The research on mild traumatic brain injury and mental disorders was partially funded by the Department of Defense. The implications, however, stretch far further than the military. The NFL, in particular, may be troubled by the results, especially since there is existing controversy around sports-related concussions. These concussions are considered a subset of mild traumatic brain injuries.

Victims of a brain injury may be able to get compensation for their medical bills as well as any costs related to mental disorders they develop later. Victims might decide to request a consultation with an attorney who can evaluate the circumstances of their injury and recommend a legal strategy. Parties that may be liable for damages include employers, negligent drivers, or corporations. Reaching a settlement is often the preferred method for getting compensation, but litigation may be the only option in some cases.