Alaska currently leads the nation in death related to traumatic brain injury, according to the University of Alaska. Mayor Mark Springer of Bethel notes that TBIs affect many Alaska residents, often due to the common use of utility vehicles and snowmobiles. He also notes that the use of head protection such as helmets can reduce the risk of serious injury or death for those who do suffer an accident.
Recently, Governor Mike Dunleavy signed a new regulation that took effect on January 1st allowing ATV drivers on public roads. The drivers are not required to wear helmets, although passengers are. Many fear that this new regulation may lead to even more traumatic brain injuries as ATVs come into contact with high-speed traffic.
What Causes Traumatic Brain Injuries?
According to recent data, Alaska’s high number of TBIs include the following causes:
- Falls–41 percent. Nearly half of all TBIs in Alaska occur as the result of a fall from a height or a slip-and-fall on a surface. Falls are the most common causes of TBIs everywhere, and causes can range from a slip or trip to a fall from a ladder. Older people are at higher risk of a fall, although falls can and do occur in all age and demographic groups.
- Motor vehicle accidents–24 percent. Almost a quarter of all TBIs are related to vehicular crashes. Motorcycles, ATVs, and other open vehicles are more likely to cause a TBI during a crash since the driver or passenger has little protection from being thrown off the vehicle and striking another object. However, crashes involving enclosed cars and trucks can also lead to TBIs, particularly if the victim is not properly restrained.
- Assault–11 percent. One in ten Alaska traumatic head injuries is the result of an assault. Whether the assault occurs with a weapon, such as a bat or pipe, or with bare fists, blows to the head can lead to serious trauma and injury.
- Other causes–24 percent. About one in four Alaska traumatic head injury accidents have results other than the “big three” of motor vehicle crashes, assault or falls. Sometimes, an accident involves more than one type of trauma; this may be classified as “other” for data purposes.
Ultimately, it is the responsibility of all Alaskans to do what we can to prevent traumatic brain injuries. Wearing a helmet when riding a bike or an ATV, buckling up in the car, and using care on slippery or icy walkways are all things we can do to lower the number of TBIs.
If you have been the victim of a TBI, Barber & Associates is here to help. Our professional attorneys work with TBI victims to ensure that they recover the compensation they deserve for their injuries. Give us a call today to discuss your case and find out how we can work with you to maximize your recovery and get your life back to normal.