A traumatic brain injury or TBI occurs when an external force is exerted on the skull, forcing the brain to move inside the head. This can be highly detrimental to the brain and can impede important, sometimes vital functions performed by the brain. A traumatic brain injury by definition occurs after birth but can lead to disabilities that are similar to those that are the result of birth defects.

Because the causes of TBI are almost always accidents they are generally unexpected but by knowing what causes TBI you might be able to take extra precaution in the situations with the highest possibility of accident. According to the Center for Disease Control the most common causes of TBI are falls, traffic accidents, being struck by an object and violence.

  1. Falls – 35.2% – Falling is by far the most common cause of TBI. Among children 14 years or younger falls cause about 50% of brain injuries and among seniors 65 or older falling accounts for 62% of all brain injuries. Falls that lead to brain injury commonly occur while getting out of the shower or bathtub, falling out of bed, climbing up or down a ladder or going up or down stairs.
  2. Traffic accidents – 17.3% – Although brain injuries caused in traffic accidents is only the second most common, the brain injuries in these accidents are more serious than any other. More brain injuries sustained in a traffic accident lead to death than any other cause. This category includes injuries sustained in car on car accidents as well as accidents involving pedestrians.
  3. Striking or being struck by an object – 16.5% – Although it is only the third leading cause of TBI, being struck by an object is the 2nd leading cause of serious brain injury in children under the age of 14.
  4. Violence – 10% – Unlike being struck by an object, violence leads to only 2.9% of TBI cases in children. Consequently, assault is more commonly the cause of brain injury in adults. This category includes injuries from gunshot wounds, domestic violence and child abuse etc.
  5. Unknown or other – 21% – This category can include sports injuries and injuries sustained in combat (like explosions).

The effects of a traumatic brain injury are very serious and can dramatically alter the way you live your life. The treatment for TBI can also be expensive and possibly financially devastating because a brain injury can also lead to lost time from work. Not all brain injuries result in brain damage; the effects may vary from very minor concussions to death.

There are a few signs to look out for that may indicate that you have suffered a traumatic brain injury. A state of being dazed and confused, or a brief loss-of-consciousness are good indicators that serious harm has been done to the brain. Seizures, vomiting and persistent headaches are also strong indicators that the brain is damaged. Drastic changes in sleep patterns are also a typical sign of TBI. If you have trouble sleeping, are sleeping much more than usual or have difficulty waking up there is a good chance that a serious injury has occurred. Other symptoms are slurred speech, loss of coordination, clear fluids draining from the eyes or ears, extreme fatigue or drowsiness.

Any time you hit your head in a fall or collision you should pay special attention for these symptoms in the days and weeks that follow. If any of them do appear you should visit a doctor immediately.

If you have suffered a brain injury due to someone’s negligence then there are options available to help you cover the costs of treatment and loss of income. At the Christensen & Hymas law firm we are offering free consultations to determine whether or not you have a case. Please give us a call at (801) 506-0800 and we will do our best to help you.

Image courtesy: U.S Army graphic