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Domestic abuse can cause traumatic brain injury

Being in combat, football collisions and motorcycle crashes are by now well-known causes of traumatic brain injuries (TBI). Because of this, often the face of traumatic brain injuries is one of a man. But researchers are giving more attention to brain injury in survivors of domestic abuse. These survivors, in large part, are women, but not always. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men have experienced severe violence at the hands of an intimate partner. That violence may include beatings or being slammed against something hard, like a wall or the floor. It's not hard to imagine how such violence could lead to a brain injury. 

Traumatic brain injury in domestic abuse victims hasn't gotten as much press as it has in the case of, say, football players. As a result, research into the effects of domestic violence on head trauma in survivors is not yet robust. By one estimate, if doctors were to keep track of TBI caused by domestic abuse, this could result in nearly 20 million women alone being diagnosed every year. 

In Pennsylvania, domestic violence is a crime in the category of assault. As such, it can be prosecuted in a criminal court, and can result in penalties ranging from court-ordered counseling to jail time. However, many victims of domestic violence don't file charges, and criminal penalties wouldn't help with expenses related to TBI anyway. To secure damages for a TBI caused by domestic abuse, the injured person would have to file a civil law suit. Someone who doesn't want to file criminal charges also may not want to file such a law suit. However, the consequences of a TBI — regardless of the cause — can be long-lasting and severe. Having a head injury may require short and long-term medical bills, and can also have a long-term effect on a person's memory, as well as their ability to read and focus. This could make it difficult for that person to hold a job. There is an economic cost to TBI for which abusers could be liable. 

If you've suffered a TBI for any reason–an accident, abuse or through sports–you may want to consult with a personal injury lawyer to find out if you could receive compensation from a law suit against those responsible for your injury. 

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