Deaths related to traumatic brain injuries from falls are increasing across the United States, according to a report released last week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Researchers used death certificate data from all 50 states and the District of Columbia and trends for deaths from traumatic brain injuries that were caused by unintentional falls.
What the Study Found
They found the national age-adjusted rate or fall-related TBI deaths rose 17% between 2008 and 2017 – increasing from 12,311 deaths in 2008 to 17,408 in 2017. Rates grew in nearly all demographics, but especially for those living in rural communities and individuals 75 years and older. Death rates also increased in 29 states over the 10-year period, and the number of fall-related TBI deaths climbed in 49 of the 51 jurisdictions.
The researchers defined traumatic brain injury as a “head injury caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head or body or a penetrating head injury that results in disruption of a normal brain function.” Researchers say nationally, this increase might be explained by longer survival following the onset of common diseases such as stroke, cancer and heart disease or may be attributed to the increasing population of older adults in the United States.
The study showed that nationwide in 2017, fall-related TBI deaths rates were highest in those 75 and up – eight times higher than the rate of those ages 55 to 74. The rate among males was nearly double that of females in 2017, the report said. Even though falls are preventable, according to the report, data has indicated that 1 in 10 U.S. adults 18 and older fall each year.
Increased Risk for Older People
According to the CDC, one out of five falls causes a serious injury such as broken bones or head injuries. These injuries can make it difficult for a person to get around, do everyday activities or live on their own. Falls can cause broken bones such as wrist, arm, ankle and hip fractures. Head injuries resulting from falls can be very serious especially if the person is taking certain medicines such as blood thinners. An older person who falls and hits their head should see their doctor right away to make sure they don’t have a brain injury.
If you or a loved one has suffered a brain injury or any other type of serious injury as a result of falling, you may be able to seek compensation for the injuries, damages or losses sustained depending on the nature and circumstances of the incident. An experienced slip and fall lawyer will be able to advise injured victims regarding their legal rights and options.