Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a brain dysfunction caused by a mechanical blow or other outside injury to the head or body, often resulting in long-term complications or death. In the US, an average of 1.7 million people suffer from this type of injury every year, and an estimated 52,000 deaths occur. Individuals who survive a TBI may face lifelong disabilities, including impaired thinking, memory, movement, sensation, and emotional function.
BrainLine—a national multimedia project that provides information and resources on TBI—recently released a study on the leading cause of traumatic brain injuries in the US. The study pulls research from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which reports that that slip and fall accidents are the number one cause of traumatic brain injury in the US. Annually, there are nearly 600,000 TBIs caused by falls, which accounts for 35 percent of the total TBIs every year.
Traffic accidents were a distant second, accounting for 17 percent of annual TBIs, followed closely by head striking-related accidents at 16.5 percent.
What Types of Slip and Fall Accidents Can Cause Traumatic Brain Injury?
While minor trip and fall accidents often occur due to things like loose shoe laces, missteps, or a momentary lapse in gracefulness, the most serious types of trip and fall accidents happen due to someone else’s negligence. Accidents caused by negligence or unsafe conditions are the ones most likely to lead to traumatic brain injury.
Below, we’ve listed some of the most common types of trip and fall injuries that have led to TBI.
Apartment or rented home accidents. Landlords have a responsibility to maintain safe properties for tenants and visitors. This includes providing adequate lighting in common areas, maintaining walkways and staircases, and removing ice and snow from exterior sidewalks. Slippery floors, broken floorboards, and other unsafe conditions can cause tenants and guests to slip and fall. If a victim’s head strikes the floor, sidewalk, furniture, ledge, or another hard surface, traumatic brain injury may follow.
Commercial building accidents. Store, restaurant, and other commercial property owners have a duty to keep their premises safe for customers, employees, and visitors. Spills, clutter, and other hazards can cause unsuspecting individuals to slip, fall, and suffer traumatic brain injury.
Park and playground accidents. Every year, hundreds of thousands of children sustain injuries on public parks, school playgrounds, and daycare centers. The least serious of these injuries include scrapes and bruises, while the most serious include fractures, internal injuries, and traumatic brain injuries.
Parking lot injuries. Parking lots can become dangerous places when property owners neglect to provide adequate lighting or properly clear them of snow and ice. After hitting their head on the hard concrete or on a nearby car, many victims suffer a traumatic brain injury.
Assisted living facilities. Thousands of senior citizens die in nursing homes each year due to trip and fall injuries. Elderly residents who do survive accidents often suffer traumatic brain injuries that leave them disabled for the remainder of their life.
After Traumatic Brain Injury
If you or a loved one has suffered from a traumatic brain injury, the effect can be devastating for you and your entire family. Even if the victim survives the injury, the aftermath of a TBI can be catastrophic, bringing memory loss, mood and personality changes, confusion, and difficulties with motor control. In addition, the huge medical and rehabilitation costs coupled with the loss of income can be crippling for your family.
After suffering from a traumatic brain injury, your first step should be to seek medical treatment. An MRI may be necessary to confirm the extent of your injury.
Your next step should be to find a personal injury lawyer with experience in traumatic brain accidents. An attorney can help you and your family to work with neuropsychologists and occupational therapists to document the extent of the harm and resulting limitations. Your lawyer can also work with economists and care specialists to determine the victim’s ongoing needs, including medication, physical therapy, home modifications, and home health aides.
Additionally, an attorney can thoroughly investigate your case to determine the exact cause of the injuries, and help you make a case for liability against the responsible party. By doing so, your attorney can help you and your loved ones get the medical care you need and the financial compensation you deserve, while holding the responsible party accountable for their grievous negligence.
About the Author
Attorney Mike Schlosser represents victims of personal injury, those charged with a crime, as well as those facing traffic charges. A former Guilford County, North Carolina District Attorney, Schlosser has been in private practice at the Law Firm of Schlosser & Pritchett since 1983 and has been a member of the North Carolina State Bar since 1973.