Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) can dramatically impact a person’s way of life. A serious brain injury can leave you with cognitive impairments, loss of motor function, a changed personality, and more. There are things we can do to protect ourselves and our children from suffering a brain injury, but sometimes it’s completely out of our hands.
We offer important tips for preventing brain injuries and explain what you should do when you or a loved one has suffered a TBI due to another person’s negligence.
How to Avoid Brain Injuries
There are precautions we can take every day, particularly when it comes to traveling by car, that can significantly reduce our risk of suffering a brain injury in an accident. Those of us who play sports or who are elderly should take additional safety measures to protect our most precious possessions—our brains! The following precautions should be no-brainers for us on a daily basis.
Fasten Your Seat Belt
Every time you drive or ride in a motor vehicle, remember to buckle your seat belt. Even if it’s only to move the car around the block, fasten your seat belt. It only takes a few seconds to do, and it can make a world of difference if you find yourself in a car crash.
Use a Child Car Seat
Young children are especially vulnerable to injury because their bodies are not yet fully developed. It is vital to secure your child in an appropriate child safety seat every time they ride in a vehicle. Be sure to follow recommendations for infant bucket seats, convertible car seats, booster seats, and other child safety equipment. The car seat must be suitable for the child’s age, height, and weight.
Only Drive When Completely Sober
Automobile accidents are a leading cause of brain injury. The single best way to avoid drunk driving crashes is to never drive or ride with a driver who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Even if you believe you’re under the legal limit and not liable for a DUI charge, smaller amounts of alcohol or drugs can still affect your reaction times and decision-making ability.
Wear a Protective Helmet
Along with car accidents, high-impact sports are another major cause of TBIs. Where possible, make sure you and your children wear helmets. This includes riding bicycles, snowmobiles, motorcycles, scooters, skateboards, and ATVs. Wear a helmet when playing contact sports, like football and ice hockey. Other common examples include rollerblading, horseback riding, skiing, snowboarding, and batting in baseball.
Play Sports in a Safe Manner
Helmets provide great protection when playing sports. It is equally important to use other protective equipment. Similarly, be sure to follow the safety rules and regulations for the sport. There are rules in place to protect the safety of players. If you have a known or suspected concussion, do not return to play until a doctor says it is safe to do so.
Provide a Senior-Friendly Environment
As adults get older, they may be at greater risk of suffering traumatic brain injuries. Slip and fall accidents become more common. To reduce this risk, make living areas safer for seniors. Declutter walkways and ensure area rugs are reasonably secured. Use nonslip mats in the bathtub and shower. Install handrails on both sides of stairways, including outside or porch stairs. Installing grab bars next to the toilet is a good idea.
Keep Up With Your Health
This applies to everyone but is especially relevant for older adults. By keeping up with your health, you can reduce the risk of suffering a brain injury. Go for an annual eye exam and update your prescription if needed. Participate in regular strength and balance exercises. This can help prevent potential falls that may lead to TBIs. Consult with your doctor or pharmacist about any medications that may make you feel dizzy or sleepy.
Child-Proof Your Living Areas
Children running about and playing may be prone to head injuries as well. Do your best to make living and play areas safer for young children. Window guards can prevent kids from falling out of open windows. Install safety gates at the tops and bottom of stairways to prevent falls. Softer playground surfaces, like hardwood mulch, can reduce injuries.
Not Every Brain Injury Can Be Prevented
Despite your best efforts, you cannot prevent every brain injury from happening. Sometimes, brain injuries are caused by someone else’s negligence. When this occurs, it’s important to know what you should do to secure your future. Whether in a car accident caused by another driver, a slip and fall on hazardous property, or a medical procedure gone wrong, you can hold the negligent party accountable when you suffer a TBI.
You may be eligible to seek damages caused by a traumatic brain injury, including medical bills, lost wages, reduced future earning potential, and loss of consortium. If your injury is the result of someone else’s negligence, you may be able to receive a sizable settlement. This won’t undo the harm of the TBI, but it can help reclaim some aspects of your life. Christopher Pracht and the team at Pracht Injury Lawyers have been very successful in helping our clients get the fair compensation they deserve.