Understanding the Scoring of the Glasgow Coma Scale

Image Map of Words Describing the Glasgow Coma ScaleThe Glasgow Coma Scale is a scoring system used to describe the level of consciousness following a traumatic brain injury (TBI). The scoring system ranges from 3 to 15. A Glasgow Coma Scale scoring of 15-13 is classified as a mild TBI, 8-3 is severe, and anything in-between is diagnosed as moderate. It is an important tool for measuring the depth of the initial and prolonged coma and is thought to be a good indicator of future problems.

The test is an assessment that is administered by paramedics, first responders, and emergency room personnel to help determine the degree of the suspected injury. Glasgow Coma Scale scores can change considerably over the course of minutes or hours. Your score at the scene of the accident when you are still in shock can be much lower than the assessment done in the ER.

However, there are limitations to the test. The Glasgow Coma Scale only indicates your level of consciousness at the time the test is taken. It doesn’t tell you how long you have been unconscious. You could be unconscious before the paramedics arrived, but at the time of the Glasgow Coma Scale testing had regained consciousness.

The Glasgow Coma Scale is subject to variables, including the level of training a paramedic has concerning traumatic brain injuries and what to look for. The Glasgow Coma Scale can also be misleading: just because you have the highest score (15) does not mean that you have no brain injury nor does your score reflect the potential long term consequences of your injury. Conversely, a score of 3 does not mean you will never recover from your injuries.

If you or a loved one is dealing with TBI after an accident contact us to discuss your options. You need an attorney who understands the complexities of brain injury litigation when facing insurance adjusters, defense attorneys or a jury of your peers. Download our free Layman’s Guide to Brain Injuries and call us today to discuss how we can help you recover for your injuries.