Causes Of Traumatic Brain Injury​

Every year, thousands of people suffer traumatic brain injuries as a result of avoidable accidents and intentional acts of violence. Falls, auto accidents, assaults and sports injuries are among the top contributing causes of these catastrophic injuries.


Traumatic brain injuries are a leading cause of avoidable injury and death, with more than 223,000 cases reported annually. In 2020, at least 64,362 people died after sustaining a traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Generally, a TBI is defined as an injury caused by a sudden bump, blow or jolt to the head.
Blunt force trauma can result in a closed head injury, in which the brain moves rapidly, twists or rotates in the skull. This can lead to bruising, internal bleeding, tears, cuts and other specific trauma to the brain.

Trauma can also cause penetrating brain injuries, which occur when the skull is penetrated or fractured. Without the hard protective casing of the skull intact, the brain is susceptible to damage from external debris and objects.

While any violent or traumatic event can potentially cause a traumatic brain injury, certain types of events are responsible for most occurrences.


Falls are one of the leading causes of severe brain injuries, accounting for roughly:

  • 48 percent of all TBI-related hospitalizations
  • 28 percent of all TBI-related deaths

No event results in more trips to the emergency room or hospitalizations than falls. Specific fall events that can cause a traumatic brain injury include slip-and-fall accidents, falls from heights while working and falls out of bed.

a lady smiling at a senior

Motor Vehicle Accidents​

Car accidents, truck accidents and other types of motor vehicle accidents, including uber and lyft accidents, are responsible for thousands of traumatic brain injuries every year.

About one out of every four TBI-related hospitalizations involves an auto accident, and car accidents are responsible for roughly 17 percent of fatal traumatic brain injuries.

moving vehicles

Struck By An Object​

Annually, hundreds of people suffer fatal brain injuries as a result of being struck by an object or accidentally striking an object.

Specific events may include being struck by or against:

  • Falling merchandise in stores
  • Unsecured tools, equipment or building materials on construction sites
  • Parts of a ceiling or building

Being struck by an object can cause serious damage, depending on the distance the object travels before landing on a victim.

Sports Injuries​

The CDC estimates that between 1.6 and 3.8 million people suffer concussions and other types of traumatic brain injuries annually. These brain injuries are particularly common in children and teen athletes. One study of athletes in Hawaii found that about 12 percent of student athletes suffer a concussion or another type of TBI during practice or games.

Football has the highest rate of concussions, with girls’ soccer, boys’ ice hockey and boys’ lacrosse not far behind. Research suggests that girls are more likely than boys to suffer concussions.

While concussions are typically mild, athletes are repeatedly exposed to a risk of trauma to the brain. Athletes are significantly more likely to suffer a concussion if they’ve had one in the past. Research suggests that the severity of a brain injury tends to increase with each subsequent blow. Sustaining a second concussion before the first one has completely healed can lead to a condition known as “second-hit syndrome,” which can lead to severe brain swelling and can even be fatal.

Other Causes Of Traumatic Brain Injuries​

In some cases, the cause of a traumatic brain injury is not reported or is unknown to the victim. Ultimately, it is important to appreciate that any type of impact to the head can potentially cause a TBI. If you are involved in any type of accident, it is important to seek medical treatment and undergo a thorough evaluation by a licensed medical professional. Prompt care can help to limit the scope and severity of the injury, as well as prevent complications or secondary trauma.

In cases where traumatic brain injuries are the result of another person’s negligent or intentionally harmful conduct, victims may have the right to seek compensation to offset the burdensome costs of a traumatic brain injury.

The attorneys at Marasco and Nesselbush are experienced in personal injury cases involving traumatic brain injuries. Contact one of our four Rhode Island offices today for a free consultation. With offices in Providence, Woonsocket, Warwick and Wakefield, our legal team is available to assist you today.

brain injury association


Recovered for a client who sustained a traumatic brain injury in a car crash.


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