TBI, or traumatic brain injury, can have devastating, life-altering or ending consequences for victims of all ages. But our top Chicago brain injury attorneys understand that such an injury to a child is often particularly debilitating.
Unfortunately, traumatic brain injuries involving children are more common than most people realize or want to believe. In fact, of the roughly 1.7 million Americans who suffer a serious traumatic brain injury each year, children make up by far the largest group. This rate is highest in very young children, including infants: those under four years of age have the highest rate of TBI-related emergency room visits. But children up to age 14 together account for about one-third of all such visits. Not only that, but traumatic brain injury is the single leading cause of acquired disability in children.
The most common causes of traumatic brain injury, in children and adults, are falls (both sports-related and otherwise) and car accidents. Children who suffer a TBI can have years or even a lifetime of health and development problems, including difficulties with thinking, short and long term memory, perception, language, and emotional control.
And there has also been a spike in reported TBIs in recent years. In the period from 2002 to 2006 (the most recent data available), emergency room visits due to serious traumatic brain injury rose to 1.7 million annually from 1.4 million annually. This .3 million-injury increase is a 62% overall rise.
But this is not all bad news. Many experts – including the top brain injury lawyers of Passen & Powell – believe that this shocking increase is actually due to increased knowledge and awareness of TBI, not to an increasing amount of injuries. We hope and believe that the increase in emergency room visits means that the victims of TBI, particularly the youngest victims, are now receiving proper evaluation and care.
Increasing awareness can also lead to fewer injuries in the first place. The simple expedient of ensuring that children wear a protective helmet while participating in such activities as biking and skating prevents innumerable serious and mild TBIs. Early evaluation and response can also minimize the effects of TBI, particularly mild TBIs such as concussions. Recent efforts, such as baseline cognitive testing of healthy student athletes (so that the severity of an injury can be determined by comparison) and proper training of coaches and support staff to identify and respond to concussions and other forms of TBI, can keep injured children safe by preventing much more dangerous successive blows to the head.
We hope that as awareness continues to grow, TBIs and TBI-related emergency room visits will now begin to decline. In the meantime, if you or someone you love has suffered such an injury, and you believe that the negligence of another may be to blame, we encourage you to seek both medical and legal help. Experienced brain injury attorneys such at those at Passen & Powell can help you determine whether legal action is warranted, and make sure that your brain injury case receives the specialized attention and expertise that it deserves.
For a free consultation with an experienced Chicago brain injury lawyer at Passen & Powell, call us at (312) 527-4500.