A traumatic brain injury may have a permanent and disabling impact on a victim’s life. These injuries are caused by an external force which causes an injury to the brain or skull. Although brain injuries are particularly debilitating, they may be prevented.
Falls, car crashes and assaults are the leading causes of a brain injury in New York. The New York Department of Health found that this brain injury causes 2,100 fatalities, 18,500 hospitalizations, 82,000 emergency room visits and $860 million in hospital charges in the state each year.
Falls may be prevented among children through proper supervision at home and during sports activities. Home safety improvements such as window guards, stair gates and screens around dangerous areas as fire places should be installed. Playground equipment should be properly maintained and soft landing areas should be placed below elevated playground equipment. Appropriate protective gear should be worn for activities such as biking, skating and skateboarding.
One third of emergency room visits and almost two-thirds of all hospitalizations for New Yorkers over 65 years-old are attributed to falls in the home, according to the New York Department of Health. These falls can be prevented by paying attention to pets and their toys which contribute to falls, placing items in a location where a step stool is not needed and using non-slip mats in the bathtub and shower floor and installing grab bars next to toilet, tub and shower. Lighting should be improved and trip hazards such as throw rugs and clothing should be removed.
Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of TBIs for teenagers and young adults, aged 15-years-old to 24-years-old in the state. Drivers and pedestrians who do not comply with traffic signs and signals contribute to pedestrian-related injuries. Complying with traffic laws and signals will help prevent pedestrian accidents which cost the lives of 36,000 people in New York each year.
Criminal behavior is also a leading cause of TBI among infants. Shaken baby syndrome, where an adult caregiver violently shakes a baby or young child, is a form of child abuse that is a leading cause of this injury.
Victims of a brain injury caused by a negligent, reckless or criminal act may be entitled to compensation for this serious and long-lasting injury. Prompt advice should be sought to assure that evidence is secured and filing deadlines are met.
Source: New York Department of Health, “Traumatic brain injury/Prevention is the only cure,” Retrieved Dec. 5, 2014