One of the most devastating injuries an accident victim can sustain is a traumatic brain injury (TBI). The injury itself can have irreversible and life-long effects. There can be mood alterations, resulting in either reduction in motivation or an increase in aggression. There can also be damage to a person’s cognitive capacity, such as the inability to make decisions. Recognizing appropriate and inappropriate social behavior may also be affected.

These brain injuries may actually have an even more profound impact on a victim’s life than just the obvious physical ones. One study found that half of homeless men had suffered some type of TBI in the past.

The Study

Researchers from St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto interviewed 111 men, between the ages of 27 to 81 years of age, who were staying at a local homeless shelter. The definition the study used for homelessness was “living at a shelter within the last seven days and not having a home of one’s own.”

Although the men were randomly chosen, there were criteria they needed to meet in order to participate. They had to be able to speak English; they had to be able to give their consent to participate; they could not have any severe mental illness which would pose a safety risk for the researchers. The study team did find that the majority of the participants had issues with chronic alcoholism.

In the survey, participants were given 19 scenarios where they could have received an injury to their head and asked if they had ever experienced any of these situations. If they had, the researcher conducting the interview determined if they became confused or lost consciousness with each injury.  Situations included:

  • Vehicle accidents;
  • Sports or recreation injuries;
  • Assaults;
  • Struck by a vehicle as a pedestrian;
  • Alcohol or drug blackouts;
  • Falls;
  • Fainting; and
  • Struck by an object or against an object.

The second part of the survey was a screening for effects on cognitive, physical and emotional abilities and how often these symptoms occur. The third part asked questions about other conditions which may also affect those abilities.

Just under half of those interviewed had been diagnosed at one time with a TBI. Almost 75 percent of those men had received their first brain injury before the age of 18. Approximately 87 percent said they suffered their first brain injury before they were homeless. Forty-two percent of participants had sustained their first brain injury in a car accident.

In a statement, the lead researcher wrote, “You could see how it would happen. You have a concussion, and you can’t concentrate or focus. Their thinking abilities and personalities change. They can’t manage at work, and they may lose their job, and eventually, lose their families. And then it’s a negative spiral.”

Contact a Carolinas Personal Injury Attorney

If you or a loved one has suffered a traumatic brain injury in an accident caused by another party’s negligence, contact an experienced North Carolina brain injury attorney. Our NC accident attorneys have successfully represented many clients who have suffered from catastrophic injuries and have been able to obtain the financial compensation they deserved.