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Every day, an average of 155 people die from traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). Car crashes are the second leading cause of TBI-related hospitalizations, second only to falls.
A TBI is defined as an alteration in brain function, or other evidence of brain pathology, caused by an external force. Traumatic impact injuries can be either closed (non-penetrating) or open (penetrating).
Currently, there are 5.3 million people in the United States living with a TBI-related disability.
What are the signs of a traumatic brain injury?
The effects of brain injury include impaired thinking and memory, movement, sensation such as vision and hearing and emotional functioning such as personality changes and depression. The extent of these injuries depends largely on the severity of the TBI.
TBIs are categorized as mild, moderate or severe. It is usually apparent that a brain injury has occurred if the injury is severe. Further assessment is often needed to diagnose mild or moderate brain injury.
Mild brain injury?
- Brief, if any loss of consciousness
- Vomiting and dizziness
- Memory loss
Moderate brain injury
- Unconsciousness up to 24 hours
- Signs of brain trauma
- Contusions or bleeding
- Signs of injury on neuroimaging
Severe brain injury
- Unconsciousness exceeding 24 hours (coma)
- No sleep/wake cycle during loss of consciousness (LOC)
- Signs of injury appear on neuroimaging tests
Anyone who suspects they have a brain injury should go to the emergency room or contact a physician immediately.
What can be the lifelong consequences of a traumatic brain injury?
The direct consequences of a single traumatic brain injury can vary depending on how severe the injury is. Moderate and severe traumatic brain injuries can lead to a lifetime of physical, emotional, cognitive and behavioral changes. In fact, these types of injuries can affect a person’s ability to function in everyday life. According to the CDC, approximately 50% of people living with TBIs will experience a significant decline in their quality of life. Often, TBIs result in the following injuries:
- Sleep disorders
- Neurodegenerative diseases
- neuroendocrine dysregulation
- Psychiatric problems
- Decreased life expectancy
- Poor health
- Repeated hospital visits
In addition to injuries, TBI patients can experience a number of other life-altering affects. For example,
- 55% of TBI patients are unemployed, even if they were employed at the time of their injuries.
- 33% TBI patients also have to rely on others for help with everyday activities.
- 29% are not satisfied with life
- 29% use illicit or illegal drugs
- 12% reside in nursing homes
Preventing TBIs in motor vehicle crashes
Car crashes are unpredictable and there is no way to know when you’ll come across a negligent driver. Your best chance at preventing a traumatic brain injury is to adhere to safety guidelines.
Passenger Vehicle Safety
One of the first motor vehicle safety lessons we learn in life is to buckle up. We hear it from our parents, cartoons, at school, on road signs and all throughout life. We are all aware that not wearing a seatbelt could result in potentially fatal consequences, including serious brain injury, yet 27.5 million people still do not buckle up.
- Make it a habit to put your seatbelt on and ensure all passengers are also buckled up before you start your vehicle.
- Use an appropriate child safety seat or booster seat and have it inspected to make sure it is installed correctly. An alarming 95% of infant car seats have at least one major installation error.
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is the third leading cause of motor vehicle collisions.
- Never drive while intoxicated or ride as a passenger with someone who is intoxicated.
- If a friend or loved one is intoxicated and wants to get behind the wheel, take their keys. You may be saving their lives as well as the lives of innocent people.
Motorcycle Safety: Wear a helmet
Studies have shown that wearing a helmet can reduce your risk of a serious brain injury. In fact, helmet use reduces the odds of a head injury by up to 50%. Think about it. If you fall off your bicycle or motorcycle while wearing a helmet, the helmet rather than your head and brain absorb most of the energy from the impact.
- Whether you are riding a motorcycle, cruising on a bicycle, or coasting on a scooter, always wear a helmet that fits. Keep in mind; helmets are designed specifically to an intended activity, so it is a good idea to wear the right style helmet as well.
- Check the manufacturer’s instructions and guidelines before purchasing a helmet.
- When fastened and tightened, a helmet should not move from side to side or front to back.
We care. We Can Help
When it comes to traumatic brain injuries, The Carlson Law Firm has a continuous successful record in getting our clients the recoveries they deserve. TBIs can completely upend your life and can require a significant amount of medical treatment and costly accommodations made to your home, vehicle and other necessities. These injuries can also cost you your job and future earning potential.
Call a traumatic brain injury lawyer from The Carlson Law Firm at 800-359-5690 to schedule your free consultation.