Articles Posted in Brain Damage

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308201_7286.jpgA federal judge in Miami has dismissed multiple claims without prejudice in a putative class action lawsuit against two football helmet manufacturers. The claim was filed by a father who purchased the defendants’ helmets for his two sons, both of whom are high school football players. Concern over injuries to youth in sports, particularly traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries, has led to closer scrutiny of athletic equipment and more claims for damages when equipment malfunctions or defects cause injuries to players.

Most lawsuits rely on the legal theory of products liability, which holds the manufacturer or distributor of a faulty or defective product liable for damages caused by the product. In this case, the plaintiff pleaded breaches of contract and warranty, as well as violations of consumer protection statutes. The court found that he did not plead his claims with sufficient substance, but gave him until July 20 to amend the complaint.

Frank Enriquez filed suit against Easton-Bell Sports, Inc. (EBSI) and Riddell, Inc. in February 2012 over the line of football helmets known as Revolution Helmets. He states in his amended complaint that the defendants marketed the helmets as offering greater protection against concussions in young players, claiming a thirty-one percent reduction in the likelihood of concussion in athletes that used Revolution Helmets.

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A recent article in Highlands Today highlights one of the least understood aspects of a serious motorcycle accident — the financial costs. The May 11 article focuses on 28-year-old Jason Pearson, who was gravely injured in January after a driver made a U-turn into his motorcycle. The accident broke bones in nearly every part of his body, tore all of the ligaments and tendons in one knee and left a steel plate in one arm. Doctors had to amputate part of his left foot and remove his spleen. Perhaps most heartbreakingly of all, the accident damaged his brain, leaving him with speech problems and sometimes trouble recognizing his family.

Right after the accident, hospital administrators told the Pearson family to consider making funeral arrangements. Luckily, they were wrong — but healing is coming at a very high financial cost. The newspaper said Pearson has had 18 surgeries since he arrived at the Tampa General Hospital trauma center, at a cost of $3 million and rising. His therapy is showing signs of success — he recently began to eat solid food again — but it costs another $1,850 a day. To pay some of those costs, family and friends are holding a benefit breakfast and bike run May 16.

As a motorcyclist and a Pembroke Pines motorcycle accident attorney, I am all too familiar with staggering medical bills like these. Medical care for serious motorcycle accidents like Pearson’s can easily reach into the seven figures, especially if the victim sustained brain damage or severe burns. These costs can quickly exceed the lifetime cap on the victim’s health insurance — if there is any — and no ordinary family can pay these costs out of their own pockets. When another driver is at fault, his or her insurance company should pay at least some of those costs — but when claims are this expensive, insurance companies are willing to fight, even going so far as to blame the victim to keep from paying what they owe.

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This week, an Orlando jury will hear a Florida brain injury lawsuit brought by the daughter of a man hit by a municipal bus. According to the Orlando Sentinel, Gwendolyn Gill of Connecticut is suing over the injuries to her father, Robert Lee Jones. Jones was 71 when he was hit by a LYNX bus while crossing a street in Midway. The report said the collision broke the front window of the bus. Jones did not die then, but lived for 15 more months in medical facilities, or a nursing home, before dying of pneumonia. Gill is suing the municipal bus authority for her father’s medical costs, as well as his pain and suffering.

According to the Sentinel, the plaintiff and the defense offered different accounts of the accident. The accident took place as Jones was crossing the street at 9:40 p.m. in September of 2003. Gill’s attorney told the jury that the bus driver ran a stop sign and made such a wide right turn that the nose of the bus intruded into the grass on the far side of the road, where Jones was standing. The defense, by contrast, said Jones was 50 feet from the intersection, outside the crosswalk where drivers expect to find pedestrians. Jones made progress in his recovery after the accident, the defense said, but it was complicated by his preexisting dementia and cancer.

It’s impossible to know whose claims are true. But thanks to my experience as a Fort Lauderdale brain injury lawyer, I know it would be exceptional for a 71-year-old man to make significant progress in a serious brain injury. Unfortunately, older people are less resilient than others — but even healthy young people can never fully recover from a brain injury. Brain tissue does not heal like most of the other tissues of the body, so a serious brain injury permanently robs its victim of some abilities. Dementia can only complicate those problems. The victim is likely to be left at least a little disabled, and may need months of rehabilitation or a lifetime of full-time care.

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