Athletes, military personnel, and others involved in dangerous roles and professions often sustain repetitive brain trauma. In some instances, head trauma can lead to conditions such as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).

CTE is a condition involving brain degeneration that may be caused by frequent head and brain trauma. Unfortunately, symptoms of this condition can present themselves years after a victim sustains a brain injury. As such, it is not uncommon for CTE to go undiagnosed until a victim dies and an autopsy is performed.

Depending on the circumstances, you may be eligible to recover compensation for your medical bills and losses if you have been diagnosed with CTE. You might also be able to recover compensation if a loved one passed away and was diagnosed with this condition post-autopsy. 

This overview will provide you with need-to-know information on the subject. That said, if you suspect you have grounds to file a claim or lawsuit to pursue compensation, it is a good idea to review your case with a brain injuries attorney. They can help you understand your potential legal options.

CTE: What You Need to Know

The medical community’s understanding of CTE is still somewhat limited. The first noteworthy medical professional to identify and study the condition was Dr. Harrison Martland. In 1928, Dr. Martland wrote a paper describing how boxers who had sustained numerous punches to the head would develop symptoms that appeared to negatively impact their cognition and overall mental wellbeing.

In the following decades, more researchers began studying and reporting on similar effects in individuals who had sustained head trauma in other settings and situations. While the medical community’s awareness of CTE has improved since Dr. Martland’s early work, this is still a condition that requires additional study.

Common Symptoms of CTE

Signs of CTE can manifest in a variety of ways. Common symptoms may include (but are not necessarily limited to):

  • Poor impulse control
  • Uncharacteristic aggression or anger
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Memory loss (particularly short-term memory loss)
  • Confusion
  • Judgment issues

Symptoms involving changes in mood or behavior can arise in patients in their early 20s or earlier. Cognitive symptoms of CTE tend to manifest in a patient’s 40s or 50s, although there are exceptions.

Some patients develop symptoms that remain fairly consistent for years. In other patients, symptoms can worsen with age. If you are struggling with any of these symptoms, seek medical care immediately. Early treatment can potentially limit the severity of your condition.

The Potential Consequences of CTE

The symptoms that one may experience from CTE or a related condition can have a significant impact on their overall quality of life. These symptoms can also prevent them from working. Additionally, they may have a negative impact on a victim’s relationships with their loved ones.

Not everyone who is diagnosed with CTE is eligible for financial compensation. However, there are instances when victims (or the loved ones of those who passed away due to CTE-related complications) can recover compensation for their losses and damages.

For example, perhaps you have or had a job that caused you to sustain multiple head injuries. If so, you might be able to file a workers’ compensation claim to recover compensation. Or, you might have developed a brain injury as a result of a car accident that someone else caused. Although CTE is usually caused by repetitive head injuries, it’s possible that a single incident of major head trauma could lead to CTE. You might be able to pursue compensation by filing a claim or lawsuit to collect from the negligent driver’s insurance.

It can be difficult to know whether you are justified in taking legal action if you have been diagnosed with CTE or have lost a loved one due to the same. This once again highlights the importance of seeking representation from an attorney. A lawyer will review your case for free and advise you on how to proceed.