What Causes Brain Injuries in Children, and How can a Brain Injury Lawyer Help?
Brain injury claims are among the most serious cases that an Ontario personal injury lawyer will take on. The stakes in these cases are exceptionally high: brain injuries can have serious, life-changing consequences that have profound effects on the injury victim and his or her family. The situation is even more serious when the victim is a child. A traumatic brain injury (TBI) causing long-term or permanent symptoms can affect not only the child’s ability to live a happy, productive life, but also put incredible mental, emotional, and financial pressure on the parents. In cases where another party is at fault for the injury, an experienced brain injury lawyer may be able to help these families secure compensation to fund their recoveries.
Traumatic Brain Injuries in Children
More than a million infants, children, and teenagers visit American hospital rooms every year with non-fatal brain injuries, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Between 70 and 90 per cent of those injuries are considered ‘mild,’ and just two per cent are severe enough to cause lifelong disabilities. However, even mild to moderate TBIs can have serious consequences, as any experienced brain injury lawyer can attest. Symptoms include severe headaches; dizziness; memory loss; sleep problems; mood swings; difficulty concentrating; and more.
New research led by Bina Ali of the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation (PIRE), a non-profit organization based in Maryland, identified common brain injury causes in various age groups by reviewing hospital surveillance data from a four-year period ending in 2013. The research revealed that the majority of serious but non-fatal brain injuries among American kids were caused by consumer products approved by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Infants aged less than a year, for example, were most likely to be injured in falls: twenty-five per cent of TBI emergency room visits in this age group were caused by falls from cribs and beds, and another 14 per cent were caused by falls on uneven flooring. Kids aged one-to-four were most likely to suffer brain injuries in falls from beds – particularly bunk beds – and on uneven floors and stairs. Uneven floors were once again a leading cause of TBIs among the five-to-nine age range, followed by bicycle accidents.
The trend toward TBIs involving consumer products shifts to sports as children enter adolescence. Football is the major risk factor among American kids aged 10-to-19. Soccer, basketball, and bicycle accidents also caused significant numbers of TBIs.
Surveillance data from the Canadian Hospitals Injury Reporting and Prevention Program reveals different – and reassuringly Canadian – risk factors north of the border. Hockey is the leading cause of brain injury emergency room visits among five- to nine-year-old boys and girls; sledding and tobogganing is another risk factor. Ringette and horseback riding caused the most TBIs among girls aged 10 to 19.
What Can Parents Do to Prevent Traumatic Brain Injuries?
First, it’s important to understand that some serious injuries are completely unavoidable. Slip and falls happen to everyone, no matter how prepared or cautious; thousands of Canadians are injured in car accidents where they are not at fault every year. Most people experience some form of unavoidable injury in their lifetime.
Having said that, there are steps that parents can take to prevent or reduce the risk of traumatic brain injuries in their children. The authors of the PIRE study recommend correcting uneven flooring; keeping floors and stairs clear of tripping hazards; installing stair gates and guard rails wherever possible; avoiding hard-surface playgrounds; and ensuring children where helmets during risky activities like cycling, football, and hockey.
If your child suffers a brain injury despite taking these precautions, an experienced brain injury lawyer may be able to help. Personal injury lawyers help accident victims and their families access compensation through a variety of means. If a client is involved in a car accident, for example, significant accident benefits may be available under Ontario’s Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule (SABS). In other scenarios, your brain injury lawyer may recommend a civil lawsuit to pursue financial compensation from an at-fault party. Serious traumatic brain injuries can cause life-long physical, mental, and emotional challenges; financial compensation can help reduce these challenges and cover the costs of recovery.
Contact a Will Davidson LLP Brain Injury Lawyer
If you or a member of your family has suffered a traumatic brain injury in an accident, contact Will Davidson LLP to learn how our team of personal injury lawyers can help. Call today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with an experienced brain injury lawyer – we will assess the viability of your claim, explain your legal options, and provide guidance as you consider your next steps. Will Davidson LLP is proud to offer representation on a contingency basis, which means you will not be asked to pay legal fees until your case has been successfully resolved and you have received compensation.
Photo credit: U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jim Araos