Accidental Falls Are the #1 Leading Cause of This Life-Threatening Injury
Accidental falls cause millions of injuries in the United States each year. Among Americans aged 65 and older alone, falls are responsible for roughly 2.5 million annual hospitalizations. But you don’t have to be 65 years old to be at risk for sustaining a disabling, potentially fatal injury from a slip and fall accident in Utah. According to the most recent data available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), falls are the number one cause of an injury that claims approximately 50,000 lives each year.
CDC Ranks Falls Top Most Common Cause of Traumatic Brain Injury
The CDC reports that falls were the top leading cause of traumatic brain injuries (TBI) in the United States from 2006 to 2010. During that time period, accidental falls were responsible for more than 40% of all traumatic brain injury cases that led to the patient’s death or hospitalization. In 2010 alone, TBI caused over 280,000 hospital admissions, a figure that averages out to roughly 767 hospitalizations per day — 32 every hour.
The CDC also found that, in some age groups, falls accounted for an even greater portion of documented TBI cases. Among children up to 14 years old, falls were responsible for 55% of TBI cases from 2006 to 2010. Among older adults, falls caused more than 80% of traumatic brain injuries — twice the already huge percentage attributed to the general population.
Following accidental falls, the CDC also identified three other major causes of TBI in the United States:
- Being struck by objects, or striking against objects — 15.5% of TBI cases
- Car accidents – and motor vehicle traffic — 14.3% of TBI cases
- Assaults and acts of violence — 10.5% of TBI cases
What Are the Potential Risks and Complications of TBI?
TBI is a life-altering, and potentially life-threatening, medical event. While each patient’s outcome depends on factors like the severity of the injury, the location of the injury, and the speed with which care is received, some possible consequences of a traumatic brain injury include:
- Increased risk of developing serious medical conditions. A brain injury can increase the chance that you’ll develop Alzheimer’s disease or have a stroke or seizure (epilepsy).
- Cognitive impairments. Cognition refers to thinking and learning. A person who suffers head trauma can experience severe cognitive impairments that make employment or full independence impossible. A brain injury can interfere with a person’s normal ability to learn new information, create memories, make logical connections, assess options, articulate thoughts, control impulses, formulate plans, or stay focused on a subject.
- Paralysis or limited mobility. Depending on which area of the brain is injured, any muscles which are controlled by that region of the brain could become paralyzed or lose their full range of motion. For example, cranial nerve damage can result in facial paralysis. A brain injury can also cause chronic pain and/or chronic fatigue, which can contribute to decreased mobility.
It’s important that fall victims and their loved ones are aware of the serious consequences that can result from a fall-induced head or brain injury. If you have noticed any of the following symptoms after suffering a fall, you could be suffering from a brain injury and should seek medical help as soon as possible:
- Changes to any of your senses, such as having blurred vision, or a taste in your mouth that you can’t get rid of
- Extreme drowsiness or fatigue that isn’t fixed by sleeping
- Feeling anxiety or depression for reasons you can’t explain
- Getting dizzy, disoriented, or losing your balance more easily than usual
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Persistent, severe, and/or recurring headaches
- Unusual mood swings
The warning signs of a brain injury look slightly different in children. You should seek medical help for your child right away if you’ve noticed any of the following symptoms or behaviors:
- Becoming angry or anxious more easily than normal
- Changes to sleeping habits/patterns
- Constant, inconsolable crying
- Decrease or increase in appetite/frequency of nursing
- Depression or apathy
- Disinterest in activities he or she used to enjoy
- Lack of focus, inability to pay attention to a subject
Rely On an Experienced Utah Personal Injury Lawyer of Overson Law
If you or one of your loved ones was injured after falling on someone else’s property, you should speak to a personal injury lawyer with experience handling premises liability claims. Depending on the conditions that caused the fall and resulting injuries, the victim could be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost earnings, a wrongful death and other hardships. To set up a free, confidential legal consultation, call premises liability attorney Darwin Overson at (801) 895-3143. Darwin proudly serves the Salt Lake County area and beyond.