Who Is at Risk of a Traumatic Brain Injury?
Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) have become a pervasive problem in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 1.7 million Americans sustain a TBI every year. 52,000 of these injury victims die. TBIs are a contributing factor in nearly one third (30.5 percent) of all injury-related deaths in the United States. And while nearly 80 percent of TBI victims are released after treatment in an emergency department, even these mild injuries can cause permanent damage and cognitive deficits.
If you or a loved one has sustained a brain injury, contact the experienced brain injury attorneys at the Dolman Law Group as soon as possible after any accident. Injury victims have the legal right to compensation for their losses. It is especially important to protect this right because of the severe and long-lasting consequences of a traumatic brain injury. Below, learn more about the risk factors for sustaining a TBI and the different forms of compensation to which a brain injury victim is legally entitled.
The Risk Factors for Traumatic Brain Injuries – And What You Can Do About Them
The CDC report indicates that motor vehicle injuries are the leading cause of TBI-related deaths. These car accident-related TBI death rates are highest among young adults 20 to 24. As with any motor vehicle injury, TBIs are best prevented with a combination of defensive driving habits and effective safety measures. Choice of vehicle can be a major factor in determining the severity of injuries sustained by a motor vehicle accident victim.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has examined the correlation between the age of the vehicle and the severity of injuries sustained in a collision. Not only were new vehicles found to offer the best chances of survival in car accidents, but the odds of survival incrementally decreased with each model year.
These same statistics also hold true in Australia. Analyses of Australian auto accident fatality statistics and car-to-car crash tests both showed that older vehicles offered poorer chances of survival. The Australian New Car Assessment Program—an independent vehicle safety advocate organization—found an over-representation of older vehicles in fatal accidents in New Zealand, as well.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety conducted another study that examined the safety of different vehicle models. Of the ten vehicles with the highest fatality rates, five were mini cars and three were small cars. The category of vehicle with the lowest overall fatality rate was luxury sport utility vehicles with four-wheel drive. This study corroborates data that earlier studies have consistently reported: Larger vehicles are safer than smaller vehicles.
The CDC has also identified those age groups who are most likely to sustain traumatic brain injuries. These include children younger than four, older adolescents between 15 and 19, and adults older than 65. Of these, adults 75 and older have the highest rates of TBI related hospitalization and death. Interestingly, in every age group and for unknown reasons, TBI rates are higher for men than women—perhaps due to a predilection for risk-taking behaviors, genetic differences between the genders, or other factors. Men, therefore, should know that they face increased risks for sustaining traumatic brain injuries.
Finally, sports injuries have gained media attention for causing an alarming number of traumatic brain injuries. Boston University studied the brains of 111 deceased professional football players. Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (a progressive brain disease caused by the constant trauma to which the brain is subjected in football) was present all but one player. The researchers also conducted postmortem brain examinations of high school football players and found that nearly one-quarter of these younger football players autopsied also showed signs of the disease. These findings painfully demonstrate just how early in a football career traumatic brain injuries can cause permanent, irreversible damage.
So what are sports players to do to prevent such brain damage? Many companies are researching various solutions to the problem. Sports Illustrated reports that Q30 Innovations has developed a collar that clamps down on the jugular vein, creating a change in blood volume similar to that caused by lying down; according to Q30 Innovations, the increased blood volume in the skull may help to cushion the brain. During the course of a sports season, players who wore collars were found to have no structural changes in their brains, whereas players without the collar did experience structural changes. These and other innovations hold great potential in preventing sports injuries. Players who participate in high-impact contact sports should stay abreast of these changes and access the equipment and technology that offers the greatest protection. Those who engage in sports for recreation should consider low-impact, non-contact sports that carry less risk of traumatic brain injuries.
Different Forms of Compensation to Which an Injury Victim May Be Entitled
While personal injury awards are often made in a single, lump-sum payments, they actually consist of many different forms of compensation. Medical bills are one of the most common and familiar areas of compensation. But you can receive compensation for projected future medical expenses, and this is particularly important when a traumatic brain injury causes long-term damage. Rehabilitation therapies, medical treatments, psychiatric evaluations, and other consultations can be incredibly expensive. They can also go on for years. A personal injury award must fully compensates an accident victim for the full amount of these estimates expenses.
Lost wages are another factor to consider. The person who is legally responsible for causing a traumatic brain injury should have to compensate the victim for future earnings capacity. The value of decreased earnings potential can be significant—particularly when the victim must forfeit a lucrative professional sporting career, or when the victim is unable to work at all.
Pain and suffering is another component of a personal injury award, and is often the largest portion of the total amount awarded to a victim. Many insurance companies attempt to value pain and suffering by performing a simple—and arbitrary—multiplication of the value of the victim’s medical bills. This does not take into account the individual differences in pain tolerance, nor the external factors that can increase suffering (such as an allergy to pain medications). This is why you need a personal injury attorney who can advocate for the unique circumstances of your case.
Experienced Tampa Bay Brain Injury Attorneys Can Protect Your Legal Rights
The Dolman Law Group has decades of experience in protecting the rights of brain injury victims in and around Tampa Bay. Call (727) 451-6900 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation with an experienced, aggressive brain injury attorney today. We will do our best to secure the full and fair compensation for your injuries so that you can focus on the difficult task of recovering from your injuries.