John was always the life of the party. He was outgoing and had a great sense of humor. People wanted to hang around just to hear his jokes.

But that was before the motorcycle accident. John suffered a mild traumatic brain injury (TBI). He hasn’t lost any skills, but his personality has changed. Now, John is moody and withdrawn. He avoids social contact. His family says it’s as if he’s been replaced by someone else.

When someone we care about suffers a brain injury in a Milwaukee motorcycle accident, we expect there to be symptoms. The accident victim may have difficulty concentrating, speaking, or remembering. We can accept that. But it’s hard to accept the effect on the accident victim’s personality.

As many as 60 percent of patients with TBI experience temporary or permanent personality changes in the first year after their accident. Two of the most common changes are apathy and emotional lability:

  • Apathy: The absence of emotion, concern, or interest
  • Emotional lability: Sudden and inappropriate episodes of laughing or crying that do not correspond to underlying feelings.

Other personality changes associated with TBI include an increase in frustration, irritability, and aggressiveness, and a loss of impulse control.

Changes in personality can be direct effects of the injury to the brain. Aggressive behavior has been linked to injury to the hypothalamus, the temporal lobe, and the prefrontal cortex. Damage to the frontal region of the brain can cause a lack of inhibition. These changes may go away as the brain heals—or they may be permanent.

Changes in personality can also result from the frustration of dealing with the cognitive and physical effects of a brain injury. It is easy to become depressed and withdrawn when you have lost everyday skills that you used to have, or when you are unable to find the words to share your thoughts. Brain injury patients who are depressed or anxious respond well to medication and psychotherapy.

It can be difficult for doctors to diagnose personality changes. The doctor didn’t know John before the crash. He may think that John is naturally quiet and introspective. It is up to family members to let doctors know of the changes in personality that have occurred.

Brain injuries from Milwaukee motorcycle accidents require long-term intensive treatment. You will want to make sure that your loved one receives all the insurance coverage needed for his treatment as well as compensation for his lost income and lost earning potential. Learn more about the rights of Wisconsin motorcycle accident victims in The Ultimate Guide for Motorcycle Accident Victims. If you’d like to discuss your own case, please call Hupy and Abraham at 800-800-5678 to schedule an appointment with a Milwaukee motorcycle lawyer.


Jason F. Abraham
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Helping car accident and personal injury victims throughout Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa since 1993.