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Statistics Linking Brain Injuries to Car Accidents

Brain Injury

According to information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 150 people in America die each day due to injuries involving or including a traumatic brain injury (TBI). This harrowing statistic works out to be about one person every 10 minutes. In the last 15 years, the rate of emergency treatments related to TBIs has increased by more than 50%.

What is causing all of these brain injuries, fatal or otherwise? Also based on CDC data, 20% of all hospitalizations for a patient with a TBI are caused by car accidents. The rate of car accidents causing brain injuries has also steadily increased across the last 15 years*.

Brain Injury Causes in More Detail

Any injuries that affect the brain can technically be classified as a brain injury. Some brain injuries are caused by blunt force trauma and skull fractures, while others are caused by a sudden motion that rattles the brain. More brain injuries still can be linked to asphyxiation or blood toxicity caused by unsafe drugs or diseases.

There are also concerns regarding “secondary” brain injuries. When the brain is injured, it will start to swell and become inflamed, just as any body part would. If the swelling is too great, then it will cause the brain to press against the skull, reducing blood flow and possibly causing “secondary” injuries that are worse than whatever caused the initial injury.

Brain Injury Classifications

All brain injuries can be sorted into six categories:

  • Mild: Patient will likely not lose consciousness for more than a few seconds. Migraines and disorientation may follow.
  • Moderate: Patient might lose consciousness for several minutes and could experience a variety of symptoms afterward. Concussions are usually considered moderate if not mild.
  • Severe: Patient will lose consciousness for hours or days or will fall into a coma. Severe brain injuries will usually cause lifelong complications and disabilities.
  • Penetrating: Injury involves penetrating or lacerating the brain. Penetrating brain injuries are also usually “open” TBIs, which means there is an open head wound exposing the brain.
  • Nonpenetrating: Injury involves an external force that rattles and bruises the brain but does not necessarily cause an open injury or laceration. Car accidents often cause nonpenetrating TBIs.
  • Toxic: In some contexts, a brain injury caused by oxygen deprivation, blood toxicity, or disease will be referred to as a toxic brain injury.

Financial Impact of a Brain Injury

The average brain injury will create a dramatic financial impact on the victim and their family. Ambulatory transportation, emergency room care, and extensive hospitalization alone can trigger many thousands of dollars’ worth of medical costs, which can rapidly exceed the average healthcare plan coverage. On top of these costs, TBI patients will often need to miss months or years of work or will be unable to ever return to their regular employment. All of the missed paychecks further worsen the financial impact.

Importance of Understanding TBI Data

Knowing about brain injury statistics is one thing, but using that information is something else entirely. What can we do with the statistics and info details in this blog? One clear takeaway is that more traffic safety needs to be practiced to prevent brain injuries. With 20% of TBIs being related to car accidents, reducing the total number of car accidents each year will inherently also drop the number of brain injuries suffered.

Interestingly, the United States is estimated to among the lowest countries in the world regarding the rate of TBIs caused by car accidents. This information suggests that the safety precautions and road rules we have in place do work, but they need further refinement. A new trend that you might be interested in is contacting your Congressional Representative, which you can do by typing in your ZIP code on this official government website: You can reach out and ask them if they have any plans on improving road safety rules or roadway conditions in your area.

Legal Help for a Brain Injury Claim

Dealing with the immediate consequences of a brain injury is difficult. Managing all of the issues caused later on is exhausting. If you attempt to file a brain injury claim on your own, you could be quickly overwhelmed by everything, understandably so.

To give yourself time to rest without letting your TBI claim’s chances slip away, you should hire an experienced attorney to manage your claim on your behalf. Kornfeld Law in Seattle does just that for the good people of our city and beyond. If you have been in a car accident that caused you to suffer a brain injury, or this happened to a loved one, then do not hesitate to dial (425) 657-5255 and schedule your free consultation with our TBI attorneys.

(* The CDC’s most recent and complete data source uses information from 2014.)