According to the CDC, traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a major cause of death and disability in the United States, accounting for an average death rate of 155 people per day during 2014. Of course, TBI isn’t always deadly, but those who survive it can greatly suffer its enduring effects. These effects can include impairment of motor skills, memory, cognition, sensory input, and emotional functions (such as depression, mood swings, or drastic changes to one’s personality).
People who have experienced TBI may endure its effects for days, weeks, months, or for the rest of their lives, and they can have lasting impacts on victims’ families. While holding someone responsible in court for a TBI-related injury can be an important and necessary step toward getting compensation for medical and therapy bills, it can’t undo what’s already occurred. Ask anyone who was – or has a family member who was – affected by TBI, and chances are good they’ll tell you they wish it never happened – regardless of the compensation they got.
Guarding against TBI and understanding common risk factors for it is important for two important reasons. For one, of course, is preventing TBI from ever happening; the second reason, though, is ensuring you can recover as much compensation as possible when an inevitable incident occurs by demonstrating that you took responsibility to prevent injury.
The Leading Causes of TBI
The CDC cites falls as the leading cause of TBI, accounting for nearly half of all TBI-related incidents that lead to emergency room visits. Roughly 80 percent of TBI-related ER visits for adults aged 65 and older happened because of falls; approximately half of such visits for children (17 and younger) were also caused by falls.
Second to falls was being struck by or against an object, which accounts for about 17 percent of all TBI-related ER visits throughout the U.S. For teens and adults between the ages of 15 and 44, motor vehicle collisions were the leading cause of TBI-related hospitalizations.
How Is TBI Prevented?
Understanding that TBI happens most often because of falling or getting struck in the head is an important step in protecting yourself against it. While no one can completely nullify their chances of becoming injured, some very basic practices can significantly reduce the odds.
Many TBI injuries that occur at home can be prevented by:
- Purchasing no-slip rugs in bathrooms and kitchens
- Ensuring hand railings throughout one’s home are secure
- Not attempting to climb stairs if feeling tired or dizzy
- Wearing glasses or contacts to see obstacles
- Using a cane, walker, crutches, or other mobility aides
- Removing clutter from commonly used paths
- Exercising to strengthen your leg muscles and improve balance
Wearing a helmet can prevent TBI-injuries involving the following activities:
- Riding a motorcycle, ATV, motor scooter, or snowmobile
- Playing contact sports such as football, boxing, or ice hockey
- Riding a bicycle, inline skates, skateboard, or scooter
- Riding a horse
- Rock climbing
- Whitewater rafting
Preventing a TBI from occurring in a car collision is possible when all traffic laws are obeyed, and the driver is not under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Should a collision occur regardless, wearing a seatbelt and sitting correctly in the vehicle can prevent someone from striking their head against the steering column or dashboard, or being thrown away from the vehicle and striking the pavement or other obstacles.
Do You Need Help with a Brain Injury Claim?
If you or a loved one has suffered a traumatic brain injury as a result of someone else’s negligence or wrongful act, we can help you seek fair and just compensation by holding the responsible parties accountable. You may have acted to prevent the injury as much as possible, but these incidents can still occur despite the best attempts to avoid them. Your attempts to lessen the risk of TBI can factor into the settlement or award you may receive when taking legal action.