You undoubtedly know that traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) can have serious, lifelong impacts. What you may not know is just how frequently traumatic brain injuries occur, how they occur, or who is most likely to suffer them.
News coverage tends to focus on high profile incidences of traumatic brain injury. For example, you have undoubtedly heard quite a bit about traumatic brain injuries in the NFL and, more recently, the problem of racial bias in determining compensation for those injuries. You may also know that several former WWE wrestlers have sued World Wrestling Entertainment because of brain injuries they say they sustained on the job, and recently asked the Supreme Court to overturn the dismissal of those lawsuits.
But you probably don’t think much about the possibility that your neighbor or your teenage nephew may have suffered a traumatic brain injury. You might be surprised to learn that about one in 75 college students suffers a traumatic brain injury each year. And, you probably don’t know that in one recent 10-year period, nearly 600,000 people visited hospital emergency departments for traumatic brain injuries sustained while they were riding bicycles.
In part, that’s because for years a certain type of traumatic brain injury was simply described as “concussion.” Most of us know people who have suffered concussions that were not especially serious, or that just required a day of rest.
But, concussions are a type of traumatic brain injury and they may have a more serious long term impact than we realize – particularly for those who sustain repeated concussions. It’s important to be aware of the signs of traumatic brain injury and know when to seek medical attention.
So, just who is at greatest risk for traumatic brain injuries? How can we protect against them? And what treatment is required if you sustain a traumatic brain injury?
Who Sustains Traumatic Brain Injuries?
Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that people aged 75 and older are the most likely to be hospitalized with traumatic brain injuries. Those aged 65 to 74 are the second most likely to be hospitalized, followed by those aged 55 to 64. This may be partly due to the fact that older Americans are more likely to sustain injuries through events like serious falls. But, it is important to remember that these statistics relate specifically to hospitalizations.
Elderly people are also more likely to have sustained serious TBIs, or to have their conditions aggravated by failure to diagnose. This is especially dangerous for people who are taking blood thinners, since these drugs increase the risk of bleeding in the brain after a head injury.
Still, it is important to be aware that anybody can suffer a traumatic brain injury. In one recent year more than 14,000 children ages zero to 17 we’re seen in hospital emergency departments in connection with traumatic brain injuries sustained in bicycle accidents. Similarly, while men are more likely to be hospitalized with traumatic brain injuries than women, more than 11,000 women were treated for TBIs in hospital emergency rooms during that same year.
Regardless of age, general health, or other characteristics, anyone who is hit in the head, bangs their head, or otherwise sustains head trauma and has symptoms should seek medical attention. It is also worth noting that the effects of successive concussions can be more serious. That’s especially concerning when you consider that more than 40% of college students who sustained concussions during a recent three-year study reported that they’d had previous concussions. About 5% said they’d had four or more prior concussions.
A person who has sustained previous head injuries should err on the side of being assessed by a physician after taking a blow to the head.
How Do Traumatic Brain Injuries Happen?
Traumatic brain injuries occur in many different ways. Any kind of blunt force to the head, or perhaps even extreme jarring of the head may cause a concussion or a more serious traumatic brain injury. According to the CDC, the most common causes of nonfatal traumatic brain injuries are:
- Being struck by or against an object
- Motor vehicle accidents
But, experts warn that common misconceptions about TBIs can lull a person who has suffered a head injury into a false sense of security. The fact that an injury doesn’t fall into one of these common categories or match up with the type of TBIs you hear about on the news doesn’t mean you can afford to ignore it.
Who is Responsible for a Traumatic Brain Injury?
Generally, any person or entity who negligently or intentionally caused or contributed to a brain injury may be wholly or partly responsible. That means that the responsible party may be liable for damages to compensate the injured person for medical expenses, costs of rehabilitation, lost income, and even intangibles like pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life. The best source of information about whether you may be entitled to compensation after a traumatic brain injury and what type of compensation might be available is an experienced Atlanta personal injury attorney.
Atlanta attorney ReShea Balams fights for maximum compensation for people who have been injured through someone else’s negligence, including victims of automobile accidents, slip and falls on someone else’s property, sports injuries, and medical malpractice. The Balams Firm offers free, no-obligation consultations so injury victims can gather the information they need to make good decisions in difficult times. You can schedule yours right now by calling 855-352-2727 or filling out the contact form on this page.