Woman doctor holding up images or brain MRI scan

Living With a Brain Injury After a Fall or Car Accident

Accidents happen - car accidents, slips and falls, and tripping on hazardous objects are fairly routine events. Unfortunately, an accident, major or minor, can sometimes cause considerable consequences. Trauma to the head can happen easily and can result in complicated injuries to the brain.

How Common are Brain Injuries Resulting from Slip and Falls and Car Accidents?

While you might not hear about traumatic brain injuries every day, they occur more often than you might think. 

The following statistics from the Brain Injury Association of Canada are quite revealing:

  • The majority of bicyclist fatalities from car accidents result from traumatic brain injury (and, wearing a helmet reduces the risk of TBI by 88 percent).
  • The incidence of acquired brain injury (i.e., brain injuries not from genetics or degenerative disease or birth complications) is significantly greater than multiple sclerosis, HIV/AIDS, spinal cord injuries and breast cancer combined.
  • About 1.5 million Canadians are living with brain injury, and about 100,000 acquire a brain injury each year.

In addition, Brain Injury Canada reports that about half of all traumatic brain injuries are caused by slips and fall accidents and motor vehicle accidents.

Who is at Risk?

While anyone can be the victim of a traumatic brain injury, certain groups are more at risk than others. According to the Mayo Clinic, the following groups are most susceptible to brain injury:

  • Children, especially newborns to 4-year-olds
  • Young adults, especially those between ages 15 and 24
  • Adults age 75 and older
These groups are high risk for varying reasons. Children under 4 are just getting their bearings and tend to be “clumsier” than grown adults, making it more likely for them to fall in the presence of a hazard. Young adults tend to engage in riskier behaviours, including driving at high speeds and biking without helmets. Those aged 75 or older, like young children, tend to be more susceptible to falls.

Effects of Brain Injuries

The symptoms and side effects of brain injuries are multi-dimensional, and unfortunately, often quite disruptive to a person’s day to day life. Below are a few of the ways in which suffering a TBI may affect a person’s day-to-day life:

  • Cognitive Abilities - TBIs may lower a person’s IQ (whether by reducing processing speed, diminishing verbal and language abilities, affecting short or long term memory, or affecting logical reasoning and/or spatial perception).
  • Mood and Personality - TBIs may impact the functioning of the frontal lobe, which is responsible for emotional expression, impulse control, and social behaviour, among other things. Further, TBIs are unfortunately often responsible for the onset of depression, partly due to resulting changes in the chemical balance in the brain.
  • Headaches and Migraines - TBIs are often responsible for the onset of chronic headaches or migraines.
  • Motor Skills and Body Functions - In severe cases, traumatic brain injuries may affect a person’s motor skills and ability to use certain body parts in the same way that they could prior to an accident
  • Ability to Work - Due to all of the above, a person’s ability to continue in his or her normal employment may be compromised. Many people who suffer serious concussions struggle with concentration and complex mental tasks, and are only able to work effectively for limited periods of time. 
  • Interpersonal Relationships - The serious effects of a TBI on a person’s mood, cognitive abilities, personality, and ability to work, can unfortunately cause serious strain on interpersonal relationships. 

What Compensation is Available to the Victim of an Accident Who Suffers a TBI?

If you or a loved one has suffered a brain injury in a car accident or a slip and fall incident, compensation may be available to you if another party is at fault.

You may wish to commence a lawsuit against an at-fault driver in a car accident, or a retail store that failed to keep its space hazard-free, resulting in a fall. In both cases, the at-fault party will generally have insurance coverage available to pay out your claim, whether by settlement, or if the matter proceeds to trial.

If a third party is liable for your injuries, you may be able to collect compensation for general pain and suffering (known as non-pecuniary general damages), loss of income resulting from an inability to work that relates to your injuries, and costs of various types of medical and rehabilitative care required for ongoing treatment of your injuries. A Calgary, Edmonton or Red Deer brain injury lawyer can help you get the compensation you deserve.

In Labrecque v. Heimbeckner, 2007 ABQB 501 (CanLII), for example, the plaintiff was seriously injured in a highway motor vehicle accident when she was struck by a R.C.M.P vehicle travelling at a high speed. She sustained a moderate to severe traumatic brain injury that resulted in damage to her frontal lobe, among other injuries. Ms. Labrecque was awarded nearly $1.2 million at trial, with $482,000 allocated to future care costs, $200,000 to non-pecuniary general damages, and over $100,000 for diminished earning capacity.

Contact Braithwaite Boyle Accident Injury Law for a Brain Injury Lawyer in Calgary, Alberta 

If you have suffered a brain injury accident in Calgary, Edmonton or Red Deer, a free legal consultation is available from a personal injury lawyer at our firm. We are experienced in claims involving a traumatic brain injury. We can assess your case, help you to maximize a settlement, and take your matter to trial if necessary. Contact us for legal services at 1-800-661-4902.

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