What Are the Leading Causes of Brain Injury?

Firefighters are putting a neck brace to an injured woman

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that the leading causes of brain injury are falls, motor vehicle accidents, intentional violence, and being struck by/against an object or a hard surface. While brain injuries can occur to anyone, they are most common in males aged from 15 to 24 years. Children below the age of 5 and elderly adults of age 75 and above also have a high rate of brain injury.

Leading Causes of Brain Injury

Brain injuries can happen in a number of circumstances. The most common causes of brain injuries are:


A fall can take place anywhere, including in a home, in a grocery store, or on an icy walkway. In the event of a fall, many people strike their heads against an object or the ground. This can lead to a skull fracture, brain injury, internal bleeding, or even all three injuries.

Motor Vehicle Accidents

Motor vehicle crashes account for the majority of brain injuries. In a motor vehicle accident, motorcycle crash, or pedestrian accident, the extent of injury varies with factors like road conditions, the speed of the automobiles, and whether the crash involved a DUI. In most motor vehicle accidents, the brain comes into collision with the skull due to the force generated upon impact.

Medical Malpractice

Brain injuries can occur from the wrongful or negligent actions of doctors or healthcare specialists. Some of the medical malpractices that can cause brain injuries include surgical errors, nursing home abuse or negligence, birth injury, incorrect diagnosis or treatment, and sub-standard care. A person that suffers a brain injury because of the negligence of a doctor or healthcare provider should work with a second practitioner to correctly identify and communicate his or her injuries.

Work-Related Accidents

Brain injuries can happen due to work-related accidents, especially those that take place on construction sites or in other hazardous work environments. They also happen when a worker slips and suffers an injury or is hit by an object.

Intentional Violence

Intentional acts like domestic violence, battery, or gun violence can cause brain injury. Injuries to the brain because of intentional violence can result in open, noticeable wounds like bruises to the face, skull, and head.

Types of Brain Injuries

The type of head injury sustained, along with the degree of the injury, determines the classification of brain injuries. A head injury can be either closed or open. A closed head injury happens when the brain comes into collision with the inside of the skull, while an open head injury happens when a foreign object fractures or penetrates the skull. Both closed and open head injuries can lead to a brain injury, resulting in cognitive impairments, loss of senses like vision and hearing, and a variety of other stressful conditions.

Closed Head Injuries

  • Concussions – a concussion is a moderate type of closed brain injury that results in swelling. If the swelling persists and the victim stays unconscious for several minutes, severe brain damage may happen. Concussions may also result in symptoms associated with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
  • Diffuse injuries – these are microscopic changes distributed across the entire brain and are usually hard to identify. These injuries can harm the nerve fibers and keep adequate amounts of blood from getting to some areas of the brain, causing serious brain damage.
  • Mass Lesions – these are localized injuries such as bruising, bleeding, and blood clots that exert excess pressure on the brain.

Open Head Injuries 

  • Skull fractures – fractures can happen at any part of the skull, causing a severe brain injury, especially if a section of the bone pierces into the brain.
  • Penetrating injuries – these happen when an object penetrates the skull and injures the brain, such as in stabbings, gunshot injuries, and motor vehicle accidents.

Brain Injury Symptoms

Brain injury is not always noticeable right after the injury happens, and the symptoms may take more than a couple of days to develop. Common brain injury symptoms include persistent headache, poor memory, balance issues, blurred vision, loss of consciousness, and neck pain.

Filing a Claim

Brain injury is one of the factors that lead to disability among children and young adults. When a brain injury occurs because of the careless or negligent actions of someone else, the victim might be entitled to collect compensation for his or her injuries by making a personal injury claim.

Statute of Limitations

Brain injury cases have a statute of limitations enforced by each state. This means that a victim has an inadequate amount of time to take legal action against the individual or party liable for the injury. Given that this deadline is strictly imposed, the victim should discuss his or her case with a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.