Causes Of Brain Injury

There are two types of brain injury: traumatic and non-traumatic. This may seem odd because most of us think of any brain injury as traumatic. In the medical community, however, these classifications are used to describe the root cause of the injury. In medical terms, "non-traumatic brain injuries" have a biological origin while "traumatic brain injuries" are the result of an external physical impact or blow to the head. Non-traumatic brain injuries generally result from stroke, aneurysm, loss of blood supply, tumors and other medical conditions.

In contrast, traumatic brain injuries typically occur as the result of an accident when there is a direct trauma to the head. These injuries are common in car, truck, motorcycle, aviation and construction site accidents. The other leading causes of traumatic brain injury include falls, recreational or sports-related accidents, and physical assaults.

In our legal practice, we have also seen many catastrophic injuries, including traumatic brain injuries, caused in whole or in part, by defectively designed or manufactured automobiles or their component parts including seat belts, tires, and air bags. Our office also frequently handles car, truck and SUV rollover and roof crush accidents that very often result in severe spinal cord injuries and traumatic brain injuries.

Defectively designed or manufactured automobiles and component parts can cause traumatic brain injuries in a variety of different ways, some of which we will address in more detail below. Generally speaking, defective automotive products can cause brain injuries when they: cause a traffic collision or accident that results in a brain injury, fail to properly protect the occupant from either a direct impact or a non-impact (inertial force) trauma to the head area, or cause another injury or crash position that results in a lack of oxygen to the brain. To learn more about some of the products liability cases the Brady Law Group handles, please click here.

While it is generally not considered to be a "leading cause," brain injuries can also result from negligence or malpractice on the part of medical providers or facilities. Medical negligence can take a variety of forms, but it typically involves inadequate treatment, improper diagnosis, substandard care, incorrect medication or dosage, or the failure to obtain informed consent. To learn more about medical negligence, please click here.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), motor vehicle accidents such as car accidents, truck accidents and motorcycle accidents account for roughly 20 percent of all traumatic brain injuries in the United States and result in the greatest number of brain injury hospitalizations. Adolescents between the ages of 15 and 19 years old have the highest rate of motor vehicle-related traumatic brain injuries.

Most traumatic brain injuries that result from falls occur in children ages 0 to 4 years old and seniors over the age of 75. Approximately 1.6 to 3.8 million recreational or sports-related brain injuries occur each year in the United States, but the majority of these injuries are not treated in a hospital or emergency department.

Physical assaults account for roughly 9 percent of traumatic brain injuries annually in the U.S. Firearm use is the leading cause of death related to traumatic brain injury and nine out of 10 people with such firearm-related injuries die. Nearly two-thirds of the firearm-related cases of brain injury are classified as suicidal in intent. Gunshots cause what is referred to as a penetrating head injury, i.e., when a foreign object actually penetrates the skull, but such injuries can also occur in car accidents.

The CDC statistics also show that males are twice as likely as females to sustain a severe brain injury. The two age groups at highest risk for traumatic brain injury are 0- to 4-year olds and 15- to 19-year olds. However, seniors over the age of 75 have the highest rates of brain injury resulting in hospitalization and death.