Articles Posted in Brain injuries from falls

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No one expects a single household chore to end in serious, life-changing injury. However, the lawyers at our firm who work with those who suffer traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) of all kinds understand that many simple actions can have deadly consequences. When it comes to TBIs that often involves falls that occur in and around the house.

For example, SF Gate reported on one man’s struggle to recover after suffering a brain injury. The 71-year old man was working outside of his house last October. He was on a ladder (in his words, a ladder that was “not very good”) when he accidentally fell. He hit his head hard of a rock after the fall. As a result of the fall he ultimately spent three full weeks in a coma. Fortunately, he eventually did wake up, but he was not unscathed. The year since the accident has been a long, drawn-out battle to get back to normal as much as possible

Brain Injury Recovery

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Traumatic brain injuries can happen to anyone at any time. Automobile accidents are likely the riskiest activity for TBIs that most community members engage in each day. But there are a limitless number of ways that one might suffer severe contact to the head which causes a brain injury.

The Huffington Post reported this week, for example, on a TODAY show segment featuring the former Mrs. Idaho discussing her near-deadly TBI suffered after a fall during a fishing trip.

TBI Accident

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Traumatic brain injuries are caused by the head taking a severe pounding via contact with a hard object. That fact led some brain injury researchers to consider a bizarre question: why don’t woodpeckers get brain damage? As everyone knows, the woodpecker is a bird that finds its sustenance by pounding their heads repeatedly against hard objects. If any other animal-including humans-engaged in such conduct, they would be left with severe injuries. But woodpeckers are not harmed at all.

What is it about this animal that protects them, and can we harness that power to protect ourselves from similar injury from collisions?

These are questions that scientists have been trying to puzzle out for some time. It has not been an easy biological endeavor to figure out exactly what give these curious birds their resilience. In the past various theories have been floated about, including claims of powerful facial muscles and peculiarities with the pecking technique. However a new study seems to have pinpointed a more likely reason-the specific design of the bird’s skull and beak. The full study can be viewed here.

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Traumatic brain injuries are a risk for all age groups. Car accidents, falls, and similar occurrences where blunt force is possible are the leading causes of these injuries. The elderly are prone to falls. Teens and children are often in car accidents. From those in nursing home to newborns, these injuries can truly strike anyone.

However, in popular consciousness, the young are more at risk for these TBIs. That is because while seniors often suffer TBIs, they have many other health risks which are actually more likely to occur. On the other hand, children and teens have few health risks other than accidents where blunt force is an issue. In other words, as a percentage of overall injury types, it is the youth who face the gravest traumatic brain injury risk. Also, the consequences for young brain injury victims often seem particularly severe, because they can lead to problems that last for decades.

That is not to say that it is impossible for children and teens to bounce back from these injuries. Our Illinois brain injury lawyers know that many local victims have made great recoveries from situations with uncertain outlooks. It is important never to underestimate the ability of some TBI victims to recover. For example, a story this week from News Net 5 profiles a teen who suffered a traumatic brain injury during a snowboarding trip a year ago. The student was on a trip to a ski resort with friends and their parents in what was supposed to be a fun getaway.

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Our Chicago brain injury attorneys have often shared how traumatic brain injury risks are highest for the youngest and oldest community members. Research data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have repeatedly made this point. Those under four years old and over seventy five years old are particularly at risk for suffering severe head trauma. In both groups the two most common causes are falls and automobile accidents.

For seniors, falls are particularly risky.

It is no wonder why.

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One of the most common-and potentially harmful-forms of medical malpractice is the failure to timely diagnose a medical condition or a delay in diagnosing the condition. In many medical situations, time is of the essence. If a medical professional medical provider does not act reasonably when a patient comes in, and a condition is not identified that should have been identified, then medical malpractice may have occurred.

This type of mistake perhaps receives the most publicity in cancer cases. Of course, catching cancer early is crucial, because the more time that cancer has to spread the harder it is for caregivers to control it and save the patient’s life. However, failure to diagnose lawsuits can also be filed in many other contexts-including when traumatic brain injuries are involved.

In fact, a failure to diagnose a TBI was at the heart of a medical malpractice lawsuit (and settlement) that was profiled this weekend in the Contra Costa Times. The suit was filed a year and a half ago by a man who was staying at a public rehabilitation center. While there took a pretty tough fall in the bathroom, hitting the bathroom floor hard. Caregivers at the facility claim that they conducted an evaluation after the fall and determined that he did not show any sign of injury. That is why they apparently discharged the man. However, after arriving home, it became clear that something was wrong. Eventually his family was forced to rush him back to the hospital where he was finally diagnosed with having suffered a traumatic brain injury. He had bleeding on the brain that required extensive medical care to correct.

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When a child suffers a traumatic brain injury odds are it occurred in one of two ways: an automobile accident or a fall. These two situations account for a large majority of head trauma affecting youngsters. All efforts seeking to limit the occurrence of these injuries must take a hard look at those particular accidents and ways that they can be prevented.

Much focus has already been given to car safety. The use of seatbelts, proper child safety restraints, and basic safe driving techniques are all absolutely essential. In addition, car manufacturers have been encouraged-through a variety of means, including injury lawsuits-to make important changes to the design of vehicles that make them much more secure for travelers. All of these efforts should be applauded. In addition, each Illinois brain injury attorney at our firm believes that we can continue to do more to promote safety behind the wheel, a step which will go a long way to limiting brain injuries in youngsters and adults alike.

A bit less attention has been focused on preventing falls. That is likely because falls come in a range of different forms. For example, Devon News published a heartbreaking story this week about a fall that a toddler took off a apartment balcony. The young boy was just shy of his second birthday when he apparently fell 300 feet to a cement area below. He suffered a severe brain injury as a result of the fall, and he ultimately did not survive. An investigation into the tragedy following the accident has shed more light on exactly what happened. The young boy was apparently on a chair near the balcony looking down. The child’s brother was on the ground below. The toddler was apparently calling to his brother from the balcony when he apparently lost his balance and tumbled over the railing.

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Misconceptions abound about the frequency of personal injury lawsuits, their overall success rate, and the average amount awarded following a verdict or settlement. The sad truth is that many community members mistakenly believe that lawsuits are filed more frequently than they are, that plaintiffs win much more often than they do, and that the average size of the award is much larger than it actually is. Disconnect between perception and reality has many troubling consequences. For one thing, it allows incredibly ill-informed policy proposals to advance that take away rights from injury victims. In addition, the ignorance of reality of these issues leads to unfair and incorrect criticisms of victims who happen to file these injury lawsuits.

This sad reality was recently exhibited in a Missoulian article where a brain injury lawyer wrote in to defend his client who had been savaged in online comments. The victim had recently reached a $100,000 settlement following a bike accident that caused him to suffer a serious traumatic brain injury. The man was riding his bike to work when he hit a patch of ice that had not been properly cleared, causing him to slam into the pavement. He lost his job after the accident, because the injury made him unable to perform his duties.

Following the settlement an interview with the head of the Park District which was named in the suit was published. Many commentators proceeded to savage the injury victim following that interview. In large part because of the continued misperceptions about the civil justice system as it relates to these cases, the man was subjected to vitriolic comments by his fellow community members. He was bombarded simply because he used the civil justice system to reach an agreement with those whose negligence has caused him severe harm.

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Sports head injuries are a hot topic among child safety advocates. Most of the attention on the issue has been focused on helping athletes who play sports like football, soccer, hockey, and similar games. Obviously, our Chicago injury attorneys know that it is vital for those involved in these games to keep these players safe. Another youth and young adult pastime may also present significant risk of head injury, and it is getting less attention that that currently devoted to team sport athletes. Skateboarding injuries continue to affect many families across the area. Often families are unaware of the significant risks presented by these injuries-they can be fatal.

Just this week the Badger Herald reported on an advocacy campaign being waged by a family following the death of their son from a brain injury suffered after a skateboarding accident. According to the young man’s family, the victim enjoyed motorcycle riding and longboarding. He was always very careful to wear a helmet when he was on his motorcycle, but he did not always do so when on the board. One night several years ago he was on his longboard, when one of the wheels stuck to the underside of the board and sent him flying off of it at a speed of about 20 miles per hour.

The victim suffered serious injury upon hitting the ground. His skull was cracked completely across the back of his head, and his brain connected with his skull in at least four different locations. In the week after the accident, the young man’s brain swelled into his brain stem, making it impossible for him to perform basic functions (including breathing). The man went unconscious and ultimately died ten days after the longboarding accident.

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According to This is Plymouth, a new brain injury lawsuit was recently filed by a man after a fall at a hotel left him fighting for his life. According to the report, the victim was visiting a room in the hotel with his partner. The victim was walking down outside stairs from the second to the first floor of the hotel. He was at the top of six steps when the man fell and hit the concrete below. Per documents filed with the court initiating the claim, the victim claims that the hotel floodlights were not working properly, making it impossible to see the steps. In addition, a handrail was apparently not installed, a hose was lying across the stairs presenting a tripping hazard, and slick, wet leaves had accumulated on the steps.

As a result of the accident, the man has been left with sensory and memory problems. Doctors also explain that he is at risk of developing epilepsy and dementia as a result of the significant head trauma he suffered in the fall. All told he needed two major operations, had a titanium plate inserted into his head, and required months of rehabilitation. Following the accident and its aftermath the victim was unable to continue working as a quality services manager.

As this case demonstrates, the consequences of these injuries are far reaching. Many victims are ultimately unable to continue working as they did before, either because mental or physical complications from the injury prevent them acting as before. Of course, losing one’s job is a significant injury, and victims often spend years trying to get their lives back to working as it was before the loss Often the full scope of consequences of these accidents is not appreciated by community members until they or a loved one is forced to deal with it themselves.