Every brain injury is unique, and so is everyone’s recovery process. Some patients may require intensive rehab from an inpatient facility. Others may progress through their recovery stages reasonably quickly. While everyone’s recovery process is dependent on their individual situation, there are stages most people go through. The following is a helpful timeline of general recovery for patients.

How Long Does It Take To Regain Consciousness after a Brain Injury?

In the initial days and weeks following a traumatic brain injury, the person may remain unconscious for some time. As they regain consciousness, they will pass through the first three stages of TBI recovery.


When a person is in a coma, they are unresponsive to their environment and will not wake regardless of stimulation. This is different from being in a vegetative state.

Vegetative State

People in a vegetative state may sometimes appear awake. Their eyes may open and close, but they are unaware of their surroundings. Autonomic responses cause people’s physical reactions during a vegetative state.

Minimally Conscious State

A person in a minimally conscious state has a reduced sense of awareness. They can react to stimuli, and in some cases, follow basic instructions, though these reactions tend to be inconsistent.

Predicting how long it takes someone to regain consciousness from a coma can be challenging. Regaining consciousness depends on the severity of the brain injury. Most coma patients remain unconscious for several weeks before waking up. However, it’s not uncommon for some patients to remain in a coma for months.

Once a person does wake up, they transition into a period known as post-traumatic amnesia. During this period, people may lose their ability to form new memories and experience disorientation of time, places, people, and situations. Patients can also become uncharacteristically violent or aggressive and may overreact to stimulation. Post-traumatic amnesia is often very distressing, but fortunately, it’s a temporary condition. In nearly all cases, the amnesia wears off after a couple of weeks, and the person can move into their next recovery stage.

Later Stages of Traumatic Brain Injury Recovery

These later stages are where most progress can be seen. Between 3 to 12 months, these are the following stages people may go through:

3 to 6 Months Post TBI

The brain is at a heightened plasticity state during the first three to six months following a TBI, meaning therapy has a significantly visible impact. Due to the brain’s heightened plasticity state, people experience tremendous gains in their recovery within the first three to six months.

However, some may experience a stall in their recovery. These stalls are called plateaus and are common in the TBI recovery process. Experiencing the first plateau in the recovery process can feel discouraging, but plateaus are temporary and not the end of the recovery stages.

6 Months to 2 Years Post TBI

As treatment continues, people may experience the following milestones:

  • Six-month milestone: patients may walk again
  • One-year milestone: speech and cognitive abilities may significantly improve
  • Two-year milestone: more significant improvement in movement skills

While these are general markers of recovery, they are not set in stone. People’s recovery journey depends on their injury and their unique individual response.

The Law Offices of JG Winter Can Help Build a Strong Case for Your TBI Claim

If you or a loved one have sustained a traumatic brain injury because another party acted negligently, you may be entitled to fair compensation. It’s crucial to work with an experienced attorney dedicated to handling traumatic brain injury claims. A Sacramento traumatic brain injury attorney will understand the intricacies of the law and the injury your or your loved one suffered.

At the Law Offices of JG Winter, we help deal with insurance companies for our clients and answer any questions our clients may have, giving them the time to concentrate on their recovery. Our firm has the resources, industry expertise, medical professionals, and investigative skills to fight for full and fair compensation for all the damages you sustained. Contact us today at (844) 734-2626 or fill out our contact form.