The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that approximately 2.8 million Americans suffer a traumatic brain injury (TBI) every year. Out of these 2.8 million, the CDC states: 50,000 die; 282,000 are hospitalized; and 1.365 million, nearly 80 percent, are treated and released from an emergency department. Looking at this CDC’s report reveals the stark reality of the impact of TBIs:
“Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a major cause of death and disability in the United States. TBIs contribute to about 30 percent of all injury deaths. Every day, 153 people in the United States die from injuries that include TBI. Those who survive a TBI can face effects that last a few days or the rest of their lives. Effects of TBI can include impaired thinking or memory, movement, sensation (e.g., vision or hearing), or emotional functioning (e.g., personality changes, depression). These issues not only affect individuals but can have lasting effects on families and communities.”
The brain, although protected by the skull, is extremely sensitive. According to Mayo Clinic, the brain has the consistency of gelatin and is cushioned from everyday jolts and bumps by cerebrospinal fluid inside the skull. A concussion is defined as “…a type of traumatic brain injury that is caused by a blow to the head or body, a fall, or another injury that jars or shakes the brain inside the skull. Although there may be cuts or bruises on the head or face, there may be no other visible signs of a brain injury.” These blows cause the brain to slide back and forth forcefully against the inner walls of the skull. Symptoms of a concussion may include, headaches, pressure in the head, temporary loss of consciousness, confusion, memory loss, dizziness, ringing in the ears, nausea, slurred speech, delayed response, appearing dazed, and fatigue.
High impact sports can often lead to concussions, but so can even a slight bump in a car crash. Vehicles must have a certain level of crashworthiness. 49 U.S.C, § 32301, defines crashworthiness as, “[T]he protection a passenger motor vehicle gives its passengers against personal injury or death from a motor vehicle accident… .” A vehicle’s front-end is essentially a “crumple zone” that absorbs force as it is stopped by an external object, such as a wall or another vehicle. A car that abruptly hits a rigid wall head-on decelerates differently depending on the stiffness of the front-end. A car with a softer crumple zone would decelerate for a longer amount of time, allowing the driver to experience less force. Sometimes the difference in a matter of seconds is enough to save a life.
If you or someone you know, through no fault of their own, was injured in a car crash and suffered a traumatic brain injury, like a concussion, then you know how a TBI can change that person’s life forever. Thinking, memory, movement, vision, hearing, and emotions can all change for someone as a result of TBI. These issues not only affect individuals but can have lasting effects on families and communities. Please contact the attorneys at Mitcheson & Lee to discuss how they can help you recover from a TBI.