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Traumatically induced brain injuries resulting from road traffic accidents


A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a head injury that is caused by trauma. The most common result from road traffic accidents, but other common causes are sports related injuries, trips and slips, accidents at work, assaults and domestic incidents.

The resulting damage varies from minor to moderate scalp, skull or brain damage to loss of life. Damage to the brain can arise when there is no obvious injury to the head.

Traumatically induced brain injuries are a major cause of public health concern. Every year, an estimated 1m people in the UK attend hospital as a consequence of a head injury. These range from the minor to the most profound closed head injuries. In excess of 110,000 people are admitted to hospital each year as a result of a brain injury.

Who are most at risk of a brain or head injury?

Males are two to three times more likely than females to suffer a head injury and young males aged 15 to 29 are the most susceptible to brain injuries from car accidents. Of all death-related injuries approximately 70% result from traumatically induced head injuries.

The effects of a TBI on both the victim and their family can be devastating. The care needs of a severely brain injured person can dramatically alter the family dynamics, changing a carer to a patient.

Advances in vehicle design and technology have reduced the risk of death and serious injury from road traffic accidents. In the last 30 years there have been significant design changes involving the deployment of headrests, seatbelts, bumpers, airbags, seats designed to absorb an impact and car frames designed to compact on impact, all of which have contributed to a significant reduction in the number of fatal accidents despite a corresponding increase in this period of the number of vehicles on the road.

Despite these advances in technology, the likelihood of closed head injuries at speeds in excess of 10 mph remains great.

Consider these statistics published by the Office for National Statistics:

  • a death caused by a motor vehicle crash occurs every two hours; a disabling injury occurs every 15 minutes
  • road traffic accidents are the leading cause of death for people ages six to 33
  • car crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers
  • there are more than 700 pedestrian deaths (almost two-per-day) and 7,000 injuries annually
  • motorbike accidents resulted in more than 600 deaths and almost 7,000 serious injuries in collisions with motor vehicles
  • cycling accidents resulted in approximately 120 deaths and more than 2,000 serious injuries in collisions with motor vehicles

As a consequence, injuries resulting from car accidents are imposing a significant cost to the NHS, not only in the cost of accident and emergency care, but also in the long-term costs of rehabilitation for the victims of TBI and their families.

It is vitally important that victims of TBI receive early and effective treatment and appropriate rehabilitation, and it should be privately funded where necessary.

For these reasons it is very important that the victim of a TBI is properly represented by an experienced solicitor in the area of brain injury.

Shoosmiths has a team of specialist personal injury solicitors with a wealth of experience in handling such cases.



This information is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is recommended that specific professional advice is sought before acting on any of the information given. © Shoosmiths LLP 2022

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