Fall Accidents and Traumatic Brain Injury: Causes and Solutions

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a serious public health problem. Statistics show that every year, TBI is one of the leading causes of death and permanent disability and that on the average, 1.7 million people sustain a traumatic brain injury annually.

Of the 1.7 million people who sustain a TBI, 52,000 are killed, 275,000 are hospitalized, and nearly 80 percent (1.365 million) require emergency medical treatment. In fact, 30.5 percent of all injury-related deaths in the US are due to traumatic brain injury.

While majority of the TBIs are concussions -- a bump, blow, or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the normal function of the brain can result to mild or severe TBI. Concussions are typically classified as mild while prolonged unconsciousness (coma) or memory loss after an injury are considered as severe TBI.

The CDC reported that the following are the leading causes of traumatic brain injury:

  • Falls (35.2 percent)
  • Motor vehicle accidents (17.3 percent)
  • Struck by/against events (16.5 percent)
  • Assaults (10 percent)

Obviously, fall accidents are by far, the leading cause of TBI. Statistics further show that traumatic brain injuries among children and older adults are mostly caused by falls accounting for 50 percent in children aged 0-14 years old and 61 percent among adults 65 years and older.

Fall accidents are particularly fatal for older adults – for Americans aged 65 and older, falls are the leading cause of injury or death. They are also the most common cause of nonfatal injuries and hospital admissions for trauma.  Further, every year, 1 out of 3 adults at that age suffer a fall accident every year and 46 percent of these cases resulted to a traumatic brain injury.

Fall accidents that result to TBI can happen all the time, whether at a nursing home or a public place. Older adults can avoid fall accidents and TBI by following the tips below

  • Exercise regularly to increase strength and improve balance.
  • See a doctor for eye examinations in order to maximize their vision.
  • Check the side-effects of medication for drowsiness and dizziness and ask the doctor for another prescription.
  • Improve lighting conditions at home and reduce tripping hazards such as slippery floors, toys at the floor and add grab bars and railings.

However, in the event that the fall accident occurred because of unsafe premises in another’s property or the negligence of a nursing home, the victim or his family may hold the owner of the premises liable in a personal injury lawsuit. As personal injury cases require proving the negligence of the defendant, the following elements must be present:

  • The law required the defendant to be reasonably careful
  • The defendant failed to act with reasonable care
  • The defendant's acts and omissions caused the plaintiff's injuries
  • The plaintiff suffered injuries and/or losses that are measurable under the law

If you have a traumatic brain injury caused by a fall accident, a personal injury attorney should be consulted for appropriate advice or legal representation.

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