Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs) are becoming more common and lead to more deaths and disability cases each year. While many people may know about mild types of TBIs, such as concussions, most people do not realize how prevalent more severe forms of TBIs are, especially among motor vehicle accident victims. The costs of treating a TBI injury can be expensive, particularly if a victim with a severe TBI needs years of rehabilitation. There is help for TBI accident victims, however, in the form of damages recoverable from litigation.
What Are TBIs?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), TBIs are caused by a “bump, blow or jolt to the head or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the normal function of the brain.” While not every head injury amounts to a TBI, there are different extremes ranging from mild, where the mental changes are brief, to severe, where there is amnesia or a sustained unconsciousness following the injury. The most common form of TBIs are mild, like concussions, but the severe forms cause physical and mental disabilities.
How Common Are TBIs?
The CDC released a report last year detailing the prevalence and increase of TBI cases in the U.S. from 2002 to 2006. The report found that approximately 1.7 million people suffer a TBI each year, which was up from 1.4 million in a previous CDC report. Around 52,000, or 3 percent, of these TBI victims die, 275,000, or 16 percent, endure hospital stays and 1.365 million, about 80 percent, visit emergency rooms for their TBI care. Additionally, the report revealed TBIs contribute to one-third, or 30.5 percent, of injury-related deaths nationally.
What Are the Main Causes of TBI?
While falls are the main cause of treatment and hospitalization for TBIs, especially among young children and the elderly, motor vehicle accidents and other traffic-related injuries are the leading cause of deaths from TBIs at 31.8 percent. The rate of TBI-related deaths are highest among adults from 20 to 24 years old. However, motor vehicle crashes are the second major source of TBIs among all age groups at 17.3 percent. Striking a stationary object and assault-related head injuries are also contributors to victims sustaining TBIs.
What Help Is Available to TBI Victims?
TBIs can result in physical, mental, social, behavioral and emotional disabilities or changes in injury victims. To treat or heal, if possible, a TBI injury, many victims’ families have to make financial sacrifices in order to pay for the extensive and expensive rehabilitative care, much of which insurance companies do not cover. This can reach into the millions for severe TBI survivors, who typically end up receiving help from the federal government when private funding runs out. However, there is additional help available for TBI victims.
TBIs can be devastating for both victims and their families, so quickly getting the help they deserve to recover is crucial. If you or your loved one was injured in a motor vehicle accident and sustained a TBI, contact a local personal injury attorney to discuss your legal rights and options for recovering damages, such as medical costs, lost wages and pain and suffering, through litigation.