What Are the Most Common Causes of Brain Injury in Utah?

A traumatic brain injury lawyer at his desk, explaining specifics of a case to a client.

The leading cause of traumatic brain injury or TBI in Utah is falls, representing about 52.8 percent of cases, according to state data. Many of these occurred in adults ages 65 and older, who have the highest rates of TBIs.

Although anyone can fall and suffer a head injury, older adults are often at increased risk due to medical conditions or disabilities.

The second most common cause of TBI was motor vehicle crashes, accounting for 13.4 percent of TBIs in the state. Next were OHV/ATV and bicycle accidents at 5.3 percent each, followed by assault at 4 percent, motorcycle crashes at 3.9 percent,  and pedestrian accidents at 3.5 percent.

Most of the other causes were recreational activities, which made up less than 3 percent of cases individually.

Males have higher rates of TBIs than females for all age groups, although the difference is less significant in young children. In older teens and adults younger than 65, men had double the rate of TBIs or more for most age groups.

This may be related to higher rates of risky driving behavior in men, such as speeding, driving while impaired, or forgoing a seatbelt. Fortunately, everyone can reduce the risk of a TBI by wearing a seatbelt, following the speed limit, and avoiding impaired driving.

State data on TBIs can be found on the Utah Department of Health and Human Services website.

What Are the Three Types of TBI?

TBIs are classified into three categories based on severity:

Mild TBI or Concussion

A mild TBI usually occurs after a blow to the head or after the head is shaken violently (as it might be in a car accident). In most cases, the injured person doesn’t experience a loss of consciousness, or if they do, it’s very brief (less than 30 minutes).

Symptoms include headaches, nausea, dizziness, light or sound sensitivity, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, other cognitive issues, and vision or hearing problems. If the patient has memory loss, it usually lasts less than 24 hours.

Don’t let the name fool you—a mild TBI is still a serious injury that affects how your brain functions.

Usually, symptoms are only temporary. However, it is possible to develop Post-Concussive Syndrome, in which symptoms may linger for months or more. 

To give yourself the best chance of a smooth recovery, it’s important to follow your doctor’s instructions. They may tell you to take it easy and avoid any activities that bring on or worsen symptoms, such as physical activity or staring at a screen.

As you begin to feel better, you can slowly reintroduce these activities.

Moderate TBI

This is a more advanced brain injury that can cause loss of consciousness that lasts for more than thirty minutes and sometimes up to 24 hours. Many of the symptoms are the same as for mild TBIs, but they often last longer or are more severe.

Memory loss, for example, can persist for 1-7 days. As with mild TBIs, it’s essential that you take your doctor’s advice and follow up with them if your symptoms don’t improve in the expected time frame.

Severe TBI

A severe TBI causes even more extensive damage and may result in unconsciousness for more than 24 hours (sometimes resulting in a coma). Memory loss could also continue for more than a week, and in some cases, it might be permanent.

Patients with severe TBIs are also more likely to have other permanent impairments, including difficulty with language or speech, movement problems, cognitive challenges, issues with concentration or problem-solving, epilepsy, and personality changes.

Many people with severe TBIs require days or weeks of hospitalization and might also need to spend time at an in-patient rehabilitation center. Other options include in-home or outpatient rehabilitation.

What Are the General Causes of Traumatic Brain Injury?

A TBI can also be categorized based on the type of injury that caused it:

  • A blow to the head. The most prevalent reason is falling, but it can happen in assaults or car accidents as well.
  • A jolt that severely shakes the brain. This comes as a surprise to many people, but you can suffer a TBI without striking your head. If the brain is significantly shaken, it can make contact with the inside of the skull, resulting in an injury. Most often, this happens in a car accident, when the sudden decrease in speed can cause the head to snap forward and back violently.
  • A penetrating head wound. Usually, this is caused by a gunshot wound, but some cases may involve stabbing or any foreign object that pierces the head. These injuries can be severe, not only because of the risk of infection but also because foreign objects and pieces of bone can enter the brain, worsening the injury.

How is a TBI Diagnosed?

Because symptoms of a concussion may not appear immediately, we recommend seeing a doctor after any head injury, even if you feel relatively normal. Your doctor will ask questions to determine if you’re having trouble with memory, concentration, or cognition.

It’s likely they will also order imaging such as a CT scan, an MRI, or X-rays. These aren’t always necessary to diagnose a concussion or mild TBI, but they can help rule out more serious complications like bleeding or clotting in the brain, a depressed skull fracture, or other issues that require immediate treatment.

How Can You Get Compensation for Your Traumatic Brain Injury?

A TBI can be very expensive, not only in terms of medical treatment but in other areas of your life as well. It can prevent you from working for days, weeks, or months, or possibly permanently.

You may struggle to do typical tasks around the house that you now need to pay someone else to do. Physical, speech, or occupational therapy can sometimes be helpful, but your insurance company may limit how many sessions it will cover.

Those are only the economic losses, but your physical and emotional pain and suffering are also valid damages.

An experienced TBI lawyer can help by reviewing the details of your injury to determine if another party’s negligence caused it. If so, we can help you seek compensation for your damages through a lawsuit or insurance claim.

Here are some examples of situations in which negligence could cause a TBI:

  • Falls on another party’s property. For example, you might slip on a wet floor at the mall and hit your head. Or, you could trip over a garden hose in your neighbor’s backyard and hit your head. It isn’t necessarily the property owner’s fault if you fall on their property, but they may be liable if they were negligent. When they fail to clean or warn customers about a wet floor or leave a hose where it could trip someone, they may be negligent. If there was any sort of unexpected hazard that caused you to trip, or if you don’t really know why you fell, we recommend speaking with a lawyer to better understand what happened to you.
  • Falls at a medical facility. Hospitals and nursing homes have a responsibility to protect vulnerable patients who might be at high risk of a fall due to mobility issues, vertigo, or other conditions. If you fell while a patient in such a facility, we will study your case for signs of negligence, such as failing to identify fall risks, lack of mobility aids, or failure to assist the patient with moving around.
  • Car, motorcycle, and other transportation accidents. The main concern is whether the other driver was all or mostly at fault for the collision. In Utah, you can still collect damages if you were partially at fault, as long as you were less than 50 percent to blame. We meet many people who struggle to collect damages because the other driver’s insurance company claims they are at fault. This situation can be aggravating, but a car accident lawyer can assist you in gathering evidence and demonstrating that the other driver was responsible.
  • Gunshot wounds and assaults. Often, there is more than one liable party in these situations. The obvious first consideration is the perpetrator—you can sue them whether or not they were convicted of a crime. In civil cases, the burden of proof is much lower than in criminal court, but you still need some evidence they shot or assaulted you. However, another problem is whether they have enough assets to pay for your damages because they won’t be covered by a liability policy the way they would be in a car accident.
  • Premises liability or negligent security. If you were shot or assaulted on another party’s property, this could be another type of liability known as negligent security. Businesses like stores, restaurants, clubs, and hotels have a responsibility to offer a reasonably safe environment for guests. In addition to addressing hazards like wet floors, they are responsible for maintaining sensible security precautions to reduce the risk of violent criminal incidents. If you were assaulted in a public place like a store, we would consider signs of negligence, such as a poorly lit parking lot, insufficient locks on hotel room doors, a lack of security cameras or a modern security system, an insufficient number of security guards given the facility’s size and number of visitors, etc. Unlike criminals, businesses typically have liability insurance, and we can recover damages if there is evidence of negligence.

Where Can You Get Assistance With Your Brain Injury Case in Utah?

Valley Law Accident and Injury Lawyers is always available for a free, confidential consultation about your TBI case. We’ll go over the circumstances of your injury, investigate further if needed, answer your questions, and explain your options.

If we take your case, you don’t have to pay us anything until we win or settle it.

Attorney Brigham Richards works each case from beginning to end, negotiating, litigating, and resolving each claim with the client’s best interests in mind. Through his dedication to helping injured people and their families get justice, he has recovered millions of dollars for his clients.

He is also fluent in English and Spanish. If you want to work with his expert team of attorneys, call 801-810-9999 today.

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