Traumatic brain injuries are among the leading causes of both death and disability in the United States. TBIs make up about 30 percent of all injury deaths, according the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A CDC study conducted from 2006 to 2010 reports that falls are the leading cause of brain injury, resulting in about 40 percent of all occurrences. Auto accidents aren’t far behind. They were responsible for about 26 percent of TBI-related deaths during that same four-year period.
An Illinois car accident attorney might point out that with the Illinois Department of Transportation recording 800,000 automotive fatalities in the state in the last year alone, TBIs are of increasing concern.
Traumatic brain injuries: an overview
Almost 140 Americans die from TBI-related injuries every day. Those lucky enough to survive often find themselves in dire circumstances where they are no longer able to work or sustain the same quality of life they once did. Caused by a sudden or high-impact blow to the head, this type of brain injury often results from a slip-and-fall accident, unintentional blunt trauma, car accident or assault.
While TBIs can range from mild to extreme in terms of severity, not all blunt-force head trauma is considered a TBI. The term instead refers specifically to head injuries that hinder or disrupt the standard day-to-day functions of the brain. These injuries can affect everything from movement and memory to vision, hearing or the overall emotional state of the afflicted.
TBIs: tough to treat
The type of treatment recommended for a TBI depends on the severity of the injury. In mild cases, the injured person will typically be released from medical care with only mild painkillers. The patient will probably also be given strict rest and relaxation orders and told to limit cognitive activities as much as possible for a predetermined amount of time.
Severe TBIs are categorized two ways, according to the CDC. “Closed” injuries result from movement of the brain within the skull. “Penetrating” injuries result when a foreign object penetrates the skull, affecting the brain. Closed injuries are most commonly seen by an Illinois car accident attorney because head injuries in car accidents are typically the result of blunt trauma.
Severe TBIs are particularly tough to treat, and there is no single effective treatment method for these cases. Rather, medical professionals work on a case-by-case basis to determine the best course of action to minimize the impact of the TBI.
Seek medical attention, then legal assistance following a TBI
Forgetfulness, struggling to concentrate, a loss of balance or a dull, consistent headache are all signs that may indicate a TBI. Those experiencing these symptoms should first seek immediate medical attention. If diagnosed with a TBI, they may next want to consult with an Illinois car accident attorney to seek adequate compensation for their injury.