Falls are considered the number one cause of traumatic brain injuries according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In the United States, 40 percent of all TBI’s that resulted in death, a visit to a hospital’s emergency department or hospitalization were caused by a fall during the period of 2006 through 2010. For people living in Atlanta, these falls may include nursing home falls, falls at work or falls that occur on public or private property.
While people often assume a fall occurs because someone is clumsy or fails to see an object on the ground in front of them, it is important to understand that other factors may play a role. For older adults, problems with muscle weakness, vision, blood pressure changes, feet problems, balance, and sensory issues can heighten their risk of falling. Environmental conditions such as weather, bad flooring or spilled liquids can also create hazardous conditions. For example, a store’s ice machine may have a leak that has not been addressed, making the floor around it extremely slippery.
When people fall and hit their head, they may not realize that they have suffered a head injury. While some brain injuries are immediately apparent, others may not appear for a couple of days. The Brain Injury Association of America points out that no two brain injuries are alike, and this uniqueness makes brain injury difficult to treat. Symptoms indicating the presence of a brain injury include the following:
- Memory loss
- Equilibrium loss
- Inability to speak
- Personality changes
Falls that result in a TBI can be especially serious because of the force involved in the injury and the surface on which the victim’s head hits. Brain injuries can cause problems for weeks, years, or a lifetime. Here in Georgia, property owners are responsible for the safety of their guests and patrons. When they fail to warn people of a dangerous property condition, victims often pay the price.