Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a major cause of disability and death in the United States. TBI is a contributing factor in approximately 30 percent of all injury deaths, and 138 people die each day from injuries that include TBI. Survivors of brain injuries may have mild or moderate effects, or severe disabilities that affect them for the rest of their lives. Effects of TBI include cognitive and mood changes, impaired thinking or perception, and personality changes or depression. When severe brain injuries are the result of someone else’s negligence, the injured person may be able to obtain compensation through a lawsuit.
TBI can be caused by a blow or jolt to the head, or the penetration of the head by an object. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2010 there were approximately 2.5 million visits to emergency rooms for brain injuries in the U.S., and TBI contributed to the deaths of over 50,000 people.
When most people think about possible causes of traumatic brain injury, they may think of car accidents or sports injuries, and these are indeed major causes of TBI. However, the most common cause of TBI may surprise you: falls. According to the CDC, from 2006-2010, falls were the most common cause of TBI, accounting for 40.5 percent of all such injuries. The other major known causes were categorized as: struck by/against (15.5 percent); motor vehicle accidents (14.3 percent); and assaults (10.7 percent). An additional 19 percent of brain injuries were of an unknown or other cause.
One reason falls account for such a large percentage of such injuries is that the old and the young are disproportionately affected by falls. In adults age 65 or older, 81 percent of TBIs were caused by falls. In children age zero to 14, 55 percent of TBIs were caused by falls. These statistics are a reminder that traumatic brain injuries do not just happen when dangerous activities are being performed; they can happen to anyone. Remember, if you suffer a blow to the head, seek medical attention, even if the injury does not seem severe. The effects of TBI may be quite serious even if there are no immediate symptoms. And if you suffered a serious brain injury as the result of someone else’s negligence, talk to an experienced personal injury attorney.