While, fortunately, most falls don’t cause traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), any fall has the potential to do so if a head injury results.

Some of the most common causes of TBIs include falls, gunshot wounds and auto accidents. However, data provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that falls cause the majority of TBIs — 35 percent.

Because one can suffer a TBI without losing consciousness, these injuries can be quite serious if medical intervention doesn’t immediately occur. Such was the case in the 2009 death of actress Natasha Richardson following a skiing accident on the Canadian slopes. Because Richardson was able to walk and talk immediately after her fall and also initially refused treatment, the critical lifesaving medical care she needed to survive was delayed. This ultimately led to her untimely death within days at a New York hospital.

Do NOT gamble with your life: Seek treatment immediately

When a TBI isn’t promptly and properly treated, secondary injuries that can quickly become life-threatening develop. These include low blood pressure that keeps sufficient oxygen from reaching the brain and an increase of intracranial pressure inside the victim’s skull as the brain tissue expands. Sometimes surgeons have to intervene and (temporarily) remove a piece of the patient’s skull to allow the swollen brain enough room to prevent further damage.

When someone suffers a TBI, the normally balanced delicate brain chemistry is disrupted, causing neurons to malfunction. When this occurs, TBI patients experience unwelcome changes in their behavior and thinking patterns. Their ability to function is altered, sometimes temporarily, but all-too-often, irreparably.

All is not bleak for newly-diagnosed TBI patients, though. Given timely medical intervention and treatment, physical, occupational and speech therapies, many go on to lead normal or almost-normal lives. But the treatment can be prohibitively expensive even with the best insurance policies.

If you suffered a TBI that was due to an accident where another driver was at-fault, or if you fell down on someone else’s property, you may decide to investigate the possibility of filing a claim for damages to recover your costs.