A head injury that disrupts normal brain function is called a traumatic brain injury, or TBI. It is considered mild if there is only a brief change in consciousness or mental state, and these are typically called concussions. Often, subtle complications from mild to moderate brain injuries escape diagnosis and cause problems that prevent a speedy recovery. A person in Illinois with a severe head trauma may experience unconsciousness, temporary or permanent medical issues, or even death.
Brain damage from falls may be permanent
Slip-and-falls are the leading source of brain trauma in the United States. They constituted 40 percent of the TBIs that resulted in emergency room visits, hospitalizations or fatalities from 2006 to 2010. They were the primary cause of emergency room visits for every age group, and they accounted for 55 percent of the brain injuries in children 14 years old and younger and 81 percent in adults 65 and older.
A person who survives a blunt trauma to the head may experience cognitive changes that last for a few days, or the results may continue for a lifetime. Damage from a traumatic brain injury is often acute, and may include the following:
- Diminished mental functions
- Decreased capacity for movement
- Loss of sensations, such as vision or hearing
- Personality changes, depression or other emotional impairment
Surgical intervention or medications often prevent some of the medical complications associated with bleeding beneath the skull, pressure or bruises on the brain. Rehabilitation services may be necessary, as well. When the trauma causes a coma or extended health needs, an individual may be sent to a long term acute care hospital.
Many brain injuries result in fatality
Approximately 2.5 million emergency room visits, hospitalizations or deaths were associated with brain trauma during 2010. More than 280,000 hospitalizations were diagnosed as TBIs, and they caused approximately 30 percent of the injury deaths in the United States.
Head injuries contributed to more than 50,000 deaths, roughly the equivalent of 138 deaths each day. Between 2006 and 2010, age was a factor in the rate of fatalities, with the highest numbers occurring in adults 65 years or older. They were the leading cause of death in this age group. Regardless of age group, men were three times more likely to have a fatal head injry than women.
Brain traumas affect families and communities as well as the victim because of loss of functional independence. Any person experiencing a fall that leads to a serious injury may benefit from the legal advice of an attorney who is knowledgeable of the Illinois laws and statutes regarding injuries and fatalities.