Each year, an estimated 1.7 million people sustain a traumatic brain injury (or TBI). While around 75% of TBIs are concussions or other forms of mild traumatic brain injury, the other 25% are moderate to severe injuries and can have lasting consequences on a person’s quality of life. In some cases, these brain injuries can even cost a person his or her life: TBIs make up almost one-third (30.5%) of injury-related deaths in the United States. Anyone who has had an accident or knows someone who has sustained a TBI in one should be willing to take these injuries seriously and hire a personal injury lawyer if necessary.
How prevalent are traumatic brain injuries in the United States?
Around 5.3 million Americans, or about 2% of the total population, currently live with disabilities that resulted from a TBI. Of the 1.7 million people who experience these injuries each year, 80% (1.365 million) are treated and released from an emergency room in a hospital, but that leaves the other one-fifth in critical condition. The number of hospital visits that are the result of a TBI increased from 2002 to 2006 from 14.4% to 19.5%.
What are the causes of traumatic brain injuries?
The most frequent cause of TBIs are slip and fall accidents, which result in the greatest number of TBI-related emergency department visits in the United States -- at least 523,000 of them, in fact. They also cause the greatest number of hospitalizations at 62,334 annually on average. Essentially, falls are to blame for more than one-third (35%) of all TBIs.Between 2002 and 2006, there was a 62% increase in fall-related TBIs seen in ERs involving children age 14 and younger. Also between those years, adults age 65 and older experienced a 46% increase in ER visits, a 345 increase in hospitalizations, and a 27% increase in TBI-related deaths.
Sometimes, traumatic brain injuries can result from severe traffic accidents. Auto and semi truck accidents, especially, can lead to life-threatening injuries, including a TBI.
How can a traumatic brain injury affect a person?
While mild TBIs, like concussions, tend to heal after a short period, mild to severe TBIs can present a lifetime of consequences for an individual. Anything from hampered motor skills or mobility issues to a persistent vegetative state can occur after a traumatic brain injury. Even if a person survives a TBI, that injury can present complications further down the road. A moderate head injury, for instance, can increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease by 2.3 times; for severe head injuries, the likelihood of a person developing Alzheimer’s increases to 4.5 times.
What should someone do if a loved one has suffered a traumatic brain injury?
The costs of medical care for a person with a TBI can be astronomical, and it’s not uncommon for people in the United States to have to file for bankruptcy just to pay off medical bills. Long-term and permanent injuries can have devastating consequences for patients and their family members, and insurance companies sometimes don’t make this process any easier. Consulting with a personal injury attorney may be necessary depending upon the nature of the accident and TBI, especially if another party may have been at fault.
Need to know more about traumatic brain injuries? Speak with a brain injury attorney about your accident or feel free to leave a comment below.