Understanding the dangers of traumatic brain injury

One of the most risky activities that Americans do on a day-to-day basis is getting behind the wheel of an automobile. Car accidents can happen without warning, caused by someone texting on their phone, driving drunk or simply not paying attention to what they are doing. Many car accidents are so severe that they cause serious injuries that can change a person's life. One common injury that can follow a car accident is a traumatic brain injury (TBI).

TBIs are a serious health problem in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). About 1.7 million Americans are victims of TBIs each year. The CDC reports that many TBIs can have mild symptoms from which a full recovery can be made. However, many can cause serious symptoms that can alter the course of a person's life or even end in death.

TBIs and common causes

TBIs occur when an external force is severe enough to cause the brain to function improperly. Most TBIs are caused by a blow or jolt to the head. Additionally, TBIs can be caused by something that penetrates the skull, such as a bullet or other fragment.

According to the Mayo Clinic, depending on the severity of the brain injury, TBIs can present a wide range of symptoms. A person suffering from mild forms of TBI can suffer from headaches, loss of coordination, mood swings or nausea. More severe forms of TBI can cause loss of consciousness, slurred speech, behavior changes, memory problems or cognitive difficulties.

According to the CDC, the majority of TBIs among children and the elderly are falls, accounting for about 35 percent of TBIs overall. The second most common cause of TBIs is motor vehicle accidents-responsible for about 17 percent of TBIs. However, motor vehicle accidents also cause the largest number of TBI-related deaths-about 31 percent.

In addition to falls and motor vehicle accidents, TBIs are commonly caused by sports injuries in contact sports, such as football. Additionally, veterans that are exposed to blasts in war zones are also at risk.

An attorney can help

The length of recovery for TBIs depends on the severity of the injury. While mild forms of TBI can often be overcome with rest and over-the-counter pain relief, more severe forms can often require surgery and extended hospitalization, followed by months or years of rehabilitation. Needless to say, such treatment can be quite expensive.

Unfortunately, another person's negligence can cause the automobile accident or fall that causes a victim to suffer a TBI. If you or a loved one have suffered a brain injury because of someone's carelessness, contact an experienced personal injury attorney. An attorney can advise you of your right to compensation and work to hold the responsible party accountable.