Suicide Risk Increased in Traumatic Brain Injury Patients

Personal injury attorney Michael Ehline at his desk in Los Angeles, CA.

By attorney Michael Ehline

Suicide Risk and Brain Injuries

Most of my readers know I am an attorney who deals with wrongful suicides as part of my law practice. But this interesting new twist on a new cause of action could arise in the middle of a basic brain damage claim.

This involves the potential of your client taking their own life. The twist is  the suicide was from their brain injury(ies) and not from a typical depressive state.

Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are a dangerous and serious type of physical damage. Recently studies that conducted show the possibility of this kind of harm resulting in the victim being a danger to him or herself. Researcher published the study by the University of Utah National Center for Veteran’s Studies.

The data in the study concluded that multiple brain injuries can result in the individual having an increase in suicidal thoughts. This is true even if they are minor.

The highest number of suicide rates remains military personnel. The other information found that military personnel have a higher probability of suffering a single, or multiple brain injuries. Brain injuries mainly afflict infantry and motor transport troops, especially U.S. Marines who are always riflemen first.

This study went even more in-depth and found that suicide is the second leading cause of death involving military personnel. The staggering numbers from 2008 showed over 100,000 service members’ deaths. The number has increased about 50 percent from 2001 to 2008 according to the study data.

Other experts associated with the study have claimed the increased suicide rate has a connection to the increase in psychiatric illness in service men and women.

Other Factors.

This is also during the period following the 9/11 attacks and the military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, which have a large effect on these numbers. One of the leading causes of injuries suffered by veterans of these two conflicts has been traumatic head injuries. The study does state that service members suffering from a TBI are more likely to take their own life.

During the study there were over 150 military personnel and a number of private contractors examined. These had been in combat zones in Iraq. Service members were recovering in military hospitals from brain injuries, when examined. The examinations found that seven percent of the service members had a first time brain injury.

But twenty-two percent of the service men and women tested who suffered multiple brain injuries said they had suicidal thoughts.

Brain injuries have a wide range of consequences and while the study had focus on military personnel. This is because of the suicide rates being so high when compared to similarly situated civilians. Service members are not the only individuals who suffer this type of injury however.

Harm to the brain can occur in civilian life. It is often one of the injuries suffered in an auto accident. The statistics bear this out. These stats show approximately 2 million traumatic brain injuries occur in the United States annually.

Factors Surrounding TBIs.

This number when separated into incidents equals approximately one-third of TBI’s happening in car accidents involving non-military members. This means, if your client kills him or herself during your claim, or court case, you may need to file a wrongful death claim on behalf of those left behind!

TBI damage treatments and the expense can be devastating, and then added to these factors, the likely increase in suicidal thoughts makes this type of harm even more dangerous. This proves that this type of damage to the body is extremely serious. However, there are many brain injuries never treated. Leaving this kind of injury untreated is a mistake. And if you feel you or a loved one had an incident that caused a TBI, medical treatment is needed.

Our experienced car accident lawyers are ready to help you. We offer free and confidential initial consultations. We realize this has been difficult and emotional time. Our lawyers will assist in helping you recover from your injuries. We do this by holding the responsible party accountable. Please call our offices at Ehline Law Firm toll-free at 888-400-9721.


Ehline Law Firm Personal Injury Attorney, APLC
633 West 5th Street #2890
Los Angeles, CA
Phone: (213) 596-9642
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