According to information and statistics gathered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 2 million Americans will suffer a traumatic brain injury (TBI) each year. Half of those will require emergency outpatient treatment, and another quarter-of-a-million will need hospitalization for a day or more. Additionally, one-third of all patients who die of an injury each year in the country, about 50,000, succumb to a brain injury or brain injury complication. At any given time, 2% of the population is living with a disability, mild to severe, caused by TBI, sometimes without even knowing it.
With these numbers, the dangers of brain injuries are clear. But what is causing them and can knowing those causes ahead of time help with prevention for the future?
Causes of Traumatic Brain Injuries
A brain injury will occur when the brain is harmed by an outside instrument, collides with the skull, or remains at too high or too low a temperature for too long. From blows to the head and sudden acceleration to high fevers and exposure to dangerous chemicals, most anything can hurt this sensitive organ. Through understanding what frequently causes brain injuries, we can hope to prevent them through various safety measures.
According to the CDC, the most common causes of traumatic brain injuries in America are:
1. Falls (28%): Most common in the young below 4 and the elderly above 75 years of age.
2. Car accidents (20%): Teenagers aged between 15 and 19 are the most commonly affected.
3. Accidental blows to the head/falling objects (19%): Sports-related injuries are including within this statistic.
4. Intentional head damage/assault (11%): Includes head damage caused by a firearm; 9 out of 10 gunshot wounds to the head will be fatal.
The CDC also concluded that a traumatic brain injury is the third most common consequence of child abuse in America. Although the exact number is unknown, it should be assumed that any military personnel near enough to a powerful blast wave to feel it in their heart has also sustained some form of TBI.
A brain injury may not be noticeable right away. Sometimes minor damage can be attributed to just a passing or fleeting sensation, allowing the harm to worsen over time, usually through extended periods of swelling and pressure exerted against the inside of the skull. It is crucial that brain injuries be detected as soon as possible to prevent something treatable devolving into a complication that is not.
Common telltale signs of a traumatic brain injury include:
- Confusion and disorientation
- Fatigue and general slowness
- Chronic head or neck aches
- Uncharacteristic mood swings
- Insomnia or excessive sleeping
- Highly sensitive to light and noise
- Dizziness and nausea
- Sensory loss or alteration (ex/ ringing in ears)
If you are experiencing any of the aforementioned, you should see your doctor as soon as possible. If convulsions, vomiting, slurred speech, or numbness in extremities are occurring, it could be indicative of a severe brain injury requiring immediate emergency medical attention.
Seeking Treatment and Compensation
The complications of a traumatic brain injury are nearly unpredictable but the evidence collected by the CDC makes it clear that even “slight” accidents can cause a TBI. Treatment options can include medication regimens, surgery, lifelong rehabilitation and therapy, and more. Costs for hospital and medical treatments and other expenses related to brain injury management will not be low. An unknown number of people every year will not seek any necessary medical help after suffering a TBI due to fearing that they will not be able to afford it.
At Rourke and Blumenthal LLC, our Columbus brain injury attorneys are here to let you know that you may be able to find full compensation for your costs and damages through civil litigation. When we take up your case, we will do everything in our power to help you get the monies you deserve and require. Contact us today to request a free consultation with our team.