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Brain Injury Figures Likely Higher Than Reported

Few personal injuries are as far reaching as those affecting the brain. Because it acts as the nerve center of virtually all human functioning, there are essentially an unlimited numbers of consequences when one suffers a brain injury. One of the more complex aspects of the harm is that because serious damage may result without obvious outward physical harm, many victims never know the true extent of the damage. On a statewide and national scale, that also means that total brain injury statistics might not be all that reliable.

Drastic Underreporting
For example, one study released late last year found that reported brain injuries may be as much as six times lower than the actual number. Unlike previous efforts, this examination attempt to include more “mild” causes of traumatic brain injury. “Mild,” of course, is a relative term, as any damage the one’s brain is a serious matter requiring medical attention.

To reach the result, the academics analyzed a range of records, from autopsy reports and medical records to MRI reports. All told they determined that the published rate of TBIs are likely far too low, particularly when mild TBIs (like concussions) are included. Concussions often do not result in a trip to the hospital, and so they were under-included in previous efforts. Concussions are often brushed off as getting “knocked up” or having one’s “clock rung.” In many sporting events, for example, they are ignored. But the truth is that these injuries can have many more far-reaching effects than once suspected.

The particular study referred here was reported in the international medical journal known as “The Lancet.” Broken down by type of injury, the study found that the vast majority of TBIs were “mild,” accounting for nearly 1,400 examples in the study.
The actual most common single cause of TBIs, per the study, are falls. They accounted for about 38% of the injuries documented in the study. However, the prevalence of falls was not even throughout the population. As might be expected, older individuals, including senior citizens, were more likely to have a fall-related TBI. The younger subjects were more likely to develop the injury in sports or other forms of play.

When it comes to more serious forms of TBI, automobile accidents are the single biggest cause, accounting for about 40% of all injuries. The force that is often felt by those caught in a car accident are far stronger than those felt in a fall or other household accident. As a result, the ultimate harm may be very great.

Missing Detection
Somewhat disturbingly, only about 64% of the brain injuries were actually detected in hospitals. This suggests that many who suffer these harms are not getting the help they need in a timely fashion. That problem is likely influenced by the fact that many do not take bumps and knocks on the head as serious as they should. But the problem runs deeper than that because even in moderate and severe TBI cases, nearly two out of ten were not identified by the hospital. This is somewhat head-scratching, as it is hard to image medical professionals not identifying or treating these more severe injuries which likely had outwardly obvious physical manifestations.

Sometimes Legal Rights Are Violated
Not all TBIs are caused by the misconduct of another. However, in far too many cases, particularly when serious brain injuries develop, negligence is a root cause. This is most obvious in automobile accidents. In most cases, a car accident is caused by some form of driver error which usually leads to legal liability. If you or someone you know is in this situation, please get in touch with our office to see if our NYC accident lawyers can help.