They may seem like mere numbers, but statistics and demographics information can give important information on who is affected by traumatic brain injury (TBI) - and possibly shed light on how to prevent brain damage. This article takes a closer look at who is impacted by TBI in an attempt to show the true costs of brain damage to victims, their families, and society at large.
Traumatic Brain Injury: Who Is Affected?
Though studies vary slightly, it is generally accepted that at least 1.4 million people sustain a traumatic brain injury each year in the United States. However, this figure only reflects the number of patients who seek treatment at the emergency department of a hospital or other medical facility; the number who do not seek care is unknown. This "mystery factor" in TBI demographics is of concern since many of the effects of traumatic brain injury can take months or even years to develop and manifest.
Men have been found to be as much as twice as likely as women to sustain a traumatic brain injury. However likely they are to be affected by brain damage, men have also been found to have better outcomes from TBI treatment. Medical professionals are unsure of the cause for worse brain damage outcomes in female victims; however, it may have to do with sex hormones or differences in brain structure.
The population of brain-injured patients is generally acknowledged to skew towards the young side; in fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the two age groups most likely to suffer a brain injury are aged zero to four and 15 to 19. This is due to a high incidence of falls in the former group and motor vehicle accidents in the latter. Elderly individuals above 75 years of age are also more likely to suffer from traumatic brain injury due to slip and fall injuries connected to the aging process and medications.
What Are The Causes of Traumatic Brain Injury?
There are many causes for traumatic brain injury, but motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of TBI in victims across all age ranges and genders. Firearms and falls follow, but the causes of brain injury change depending on the age group in question. For example, the elderly are almost as likely to sustain TBI after a fall than a motor vehicle accident, while children often sustain TBI from blows to the head in abusive situations. Attempted suicide is an often-overlooked cause of TBI. Alcohol plays a notable role in traumatic brain injury, with figures ranging from 32 to 73 percent of all TBI incidents involving some degree of alcohol abuse. Other causes of TBI include boating, swimming, and occupational accidents.
What Are The Costs of Traumatic Brain Injury?
The most expensive and dramatic effect of TBI is death: out of 1.4 million traumatic brain injury cases per year, at least 50,000 patients die of their injuries. But there are other costs and complications of TBI, one of which is lifetime disability (80,000 of the 1.4 million cases will result in long-term disability). Though it is possible to survive a traumatic brain injury, the onset of disability has other consequences, which include personality changes and resultant family instability, financial insecurity due to the inability to work or hold down a job, and resulting lost productivity and reduced participation in activities of daily living.
Though perhaps nothing can put a dollar value on an individual's loss of independence and daily life skills, there are distinct monetary losses associated with TBI. These include lost wages, inability to work, and social costs such as lost taxes and required state assistance. Some statistics estimate that traumatic brain injury costs the United States over $60 billion per year in combined costs.
If You've Been Affected by Traumatic Brain Injury
If you or a loved one has experienced the cost of traumatic brain injury, contact an experienced TBI attorney. Your traumatic brain injury lawyer can help you file a lawsuit and obtain the compensation you deserve for lost wages, medical costs, rehabilitation and future medical care.