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What is a traumatic brain injury?

Many people may have heard of traumatic brain injury and wondered what it is. They may also wonder what traumatic brain injuries have to do with car accidents. Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) have been labeled a serious public health problem by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Traumatic brain injuries can occur when the head of the victim suffers a bump, blow or jolt to the head that disrupts the normal function of the brain. Because a traumatic brain injury can be an open or closed injury, sometimes TBIs are not immediately detected and may go unnoticed. TBIs can lead to memory loss; impaired thinking; impaired movement function, including sensation, vision or hearing; and impaired emotional function, including personality changes and depression. TBIs can be costly to treat and can significantly impact victims, families and communities.

Overall, traumatic brain injuries are a significant cause of both death and disability in the United States. During 2010, 2.5 million TBIs occurred alone or in combination with other injuries. Traumatic brain injuries, unfortunately, can also result in death; in 2010, TBIs contributed to the deaths of 50,000 victims. On a daily basis in the United States, 138 victims die due to injuries that include TBIs. In addition, TBIs contribute to 30 percent of all injury-related deaths in the U.S. each year. Car accidents are the third leading cause of TBIs, representing 14 percent of traumatic brain injuries.

Victims who have suffered a traumatic brain injury, or other injuries, in a car accident because of the negligence of another driver may suffer damages including medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering damages. Depending on the circumstances, victims may also suffer future medical care costs and lost-earning capacity that may impact them well into the future. Because of the serious nature of TBIs, it can be important that victims and their families familiarize themselves with resources to help with physical recovery and damages recovery, including a person injury claim.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Traumatic Brain Injury in the United States: Fact Sheet," Accessed May 27, 2015

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