The two top causes of traumatic brain injuries are falls and car accidents. Brain injuries are caused by a severe impact to the head. And clearly, traffic accidents usually involve severe head trauma, whether through whiplash or whether someone hits their head against the side window or the windshield, or even the airbag or the steering wheel.
While car accidents result in the largest number of traumatic brain injuries, other kinds of traffic accidents can lead to even more severe damage. These include truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, and accidents where a pedestrian is hit by a vehicle.
Truck accidents can cause severe damage because of the sheer size and weight of the truck in comparison to the object that was hit. The accidents involving motorcycles, bicycles, and pedestrians result in severe injuries because the victims have not been enclosed in a vehicle, which would have provided at least some protection.
The Most Common Causes of Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)
The Centers of Disease Control (CDC) have collected statistics for traumatic brain injuries and concussions. As it turns out, car accidents are not the only cause of traumatic brain injuries, and, in fact, they are not even the most common cause. That “distinction” belongs to falls, which lead to around 35% of all traumatic brain injuries.
Those falls can be simple slip and falls, falls from ladders and staircases, falling out of bed, tripping over things left on the floor, and so on. They could also be falls suffered at work, including slipping on a wet surface. If the fall was caused through the negligence of someone else, you should speak to an experienced personal injury lawyer.
Meanwhile, 17.3% of traumatic brain injuries are caused by traffic accidents of various kinds. Those tend to be the most severe brain injuries, aside from those that have been willfully inflicted and will be discussed below.
Cars, trucks, and motorcycles travel at great speed, and if their momentum is suddenly stopped due to an accident, the person’s head travels on until it literally hits a wall of some kind. That can result in severe injuries, from whiplash to the kind of trauma that can crack a skull.
In addition, there are other causes for traumatic brain injuries. These include assault, firearm-related suicide, other firearm-related assault, elder abuse, child abuse, workplace accidents, and much more.
What Is a Traumatic Brain Injury?
A traumatic brain injury is basically a severe injury to the brain, which can cause various degrees of damage and prevents it from functioning properly. These kinds of injuries can occur when you receive a severe blow on the head, which may or may not fracture the skull. They can also occur when an object penetrates your skull.
In a car accident, for example, the brain can get jostled in various ways, being slammed against the skull on one side, or on both sides, one after the other. This kind of impact can cause bruising and bleeding in the brain, and even the tearing of nerve fibers.
After the original impact, there is usually a secondary injury, where the brain swells and pushes against the skull, which can be even more damaging than the original injury. The body often directs extra fluids to injured areas in order to accelerate the healing process. Unfortunately, when it comes to the brain, this mechanism can make things worse because the brain is encased by the skull.
Traumatic brain injuries are usually classified into three categories, depending on the symptoms of the affected person.
In mild cases, the person is awake but may be confused and disoriented. If they lost consciousness, it was just for a short period of time, i.e., less than 15 or 20 minutes.
In moderate cases, the loss of consciousness can last from 20 minutes to 6 hours. There may be brain swelling and bleeding, and the person feels lethargic or sleepy.
In severe cases, the person is unconscious for more than 6 hours. Many severe brain injuries can take a very long time to heal. And even if they heal, the affected person may suffer from a range of lingering after-effects.
Long Term Effects of Traumatic Brain Injuries
The 3-way classification above does little to reflect the toll that a traumatic brain injury can have on an affected person, both physically, intellectually, and emotionally.
First, the affected person will have to deal with the physical trauma, which may involve surgery and a lengthy stay in a hospital or a rehabilitation facility, along with the costs for the treatment.
Even when the worst physical effects have been dealt with, imagine the trauma suffered by a formally high-functioning professional who now has to deal with a slew of aftereffects of TBI. These can range from memory loss, lowered attention span, emotional issues, and other handicaps that may prevent them from doing what they used to do professionally.
They may have lost their income for a significant amount of time, and may no longer be able to do their old job. They may even barely recognize themselves anymore.
Obviously, that person is going through a lot of hardship and suffering. If their TBI has been caused by another person’s fault, they should talk to an experienced traumatic brain injury attorney and get their help with getting compensated for their losses.
We have plenty of experience with helping our clients get awarded damages for their injuries. If you have suffered a traumatic brain injury through someone else’s fault, call us or contact us online for a free consultation. We will be happy to talk with you and help you too.