Articles Posted in Brain Injury Lawsuits

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Coming on the heels of two high profile settlements from the City of Chicago, the mayor’s administration has reached another potential settlement in the 2013 death of a 17-year-old. According to an article from the Chicago Tribune, this settlement proposal was reached less than two weeks before the scheduled trial on the incident, and still needs to be approved by the Chicago City Council.

The Situation

The incident that resulted in the fatal shooting began on January 7, 2013 around 1:30 p.m. when the victim and two friends beat and robbed a man inside the man’s car after negotiating whether or not they would purchase cell phone service from the man. After this, the victim left by himself in the man’s car. After observing the man’s car roll through a stop sign at Essex Avenue and 75th Street, police ran the vehicle’s license plates. The plates originally came back clean, presumably because the incident had not yet been reported. However, shortly thereafter, a call came over the police radio indicating that a carjacking had taken place and the vehicle that officers had seen roll through the stop sign had been involved. The police officers that had observed the vehicle rolling through the stop sign caught up with the vehicle and as soon as police officers stepped out of their vehicle, which was unmarked according to records, the 17-year-old left the stolen vehicle and police officers began pursuing him.

According to statements from the police officers, the 17-year-old had pointed an object that looked like a gun at one of the officers. However, that object later turned out to be a black cell phone box. As the 17-year-old fled from police officers on foot, one of the officers assumed a shooting stance on the sidewalk near where other people were also walking. After striking the 17-year-old in his side, a shot that pierced the victim’s heart and lodged in his spine, the 17-year-old rounded a corner and collapsed on the sidewalk. As officers caught up with the 17-year-old, he reportedly told officers, “I give up. I’m shot.” One of the officers cuffed the young man and placed a foot on his back while waiting for paramedics to arrive.

Initially, the officer who fired the fatal shot had remained on active duty until recently. The article indicates that the officer who fired the fatal shot has been suspended and is performing non-operational duties within the Chicago Police Department. The family’s attorney was unable to provide specific details as to the settlement itself because it has yet to be approved by the city, and a spokesperson for the city’s law department did not comment on the case.
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In 2010, a mother of five children was experiencing a sixth pregnancy, but this pregnancy came with an elevated risk level because the mother was 40. Feeling ill and complaining of shortness of breath, she went to a Chicago hospital where her doctor diagnosed her with pneumonia. Expecting the hospital visit to improve her condition, the mother didn’t realize the missteps of her caregivers during and after her admission. Unfortunately, those missteps resulted in the mother’s death as well as the death of her unborn child, according to a federal jury.

The Chicago Tribune article detailing the outcome of the lawsuit and the events leading up to it indicate that the victim’s doctor failed to admit the victim to intensive care after the pneumonia diagnosis. The victim had instead been placed in a regular room, and reported to a nurse that her condition was deteriorating. According to the article’s representation of the suit, the nurse in question attempted to contact the victim’s doctor twice. When both attempts were unsuccessful, the nurse allowed the victim to remain in the regular hospital room instead of having the victim transferred to the emergency room. Shortly thereafter, the victim was found unresponsive in her hospital room. Doctors attempted to revive the victim, but were unsuccessful. Doctors then performed an emergency cesarean section to try and save the baby, but the attempts were unsuccessful and the baby was pronounced dead after roughly 20 minutes were spent trying to revive him.

The Lawsuit and Verdict
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After an accident or injury affecting the brain; if a resultant disability or death was caused by the negligence or intentional acts of another, it is quite possible that a civil action will be the next step in the process, second to the immediate medical care and treatment of your injuries. However, with that said, litigation is usually the last resort because it can be a very stressful process.

If the lawsuit is against a healthcare provider due to an incident of an alleged medical malpractice in the care and treatment of the brain injury sufferer, or if it is against another individual because of their alleged negligence or intentional acts, in all probability, an insurance company will be involved in the matter in order to provide a defense for the defendant.
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Brain injury and (3) swelling. Millions of people are treated for brain injury in America, more than most people think. Most often these injuries are because by auto accidents, participation in sports, falling, etc., and they can go from mild to moderate, and in some instances, severe.

Bruising/Bleeding

When you are driving in a car at about 50 miles an hour; and you are involved in an auto accident that brings your vehicle to an abrupt stop, your brain is still travelling at a velocity of around 50 MPH at impact. The brain is then, slapped back and forth inside the inner walls of your skull, causing a bruising in mild cases or possibly tearing and swelling with more severe impacts. This is similar to the “shaking baby” syndrome that we were hearing so much about, a little while ago.

The brain is made of soft tissue, inside the skull. It is not stationery. The skull is hard and without the ability to expand. If the brain is moved back and forth inside the skull, and is hitting up against the walls of the skull, there is the possibility of it being damaged. Bruising may lead to bleeding, which is a very dangerous situation since the skull has no way of releasing (without medical intervention) the buildup of pressure inside the skull due to the bleeding.
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On September 4th, the world of comedy lost one its most beloved queens, when Joan Rivers passed away. Now, almost six weeks later, the official medical examination is reporting that Rivers’ death was the result of traumatic injury to the brain. According to a CNN report, the 81 year old comedian died from “therapeutic complications” following a medical throat procedure. The New York Chief Medical Examiner is reportedly listing the cause of death as anoxic encephalopathy, a type of brain damage that occurs when the brain is deprived of oxygen. In the official statement, the examiner defines the events as “a predictable complication of medical therapy.”

Lack of Oxygen to the Brain

Oxygen is vital to the functions of the brain. After only takes four minutes without oxygen, brain cells begin to die. This is defined as hypoxia. According to Mount Sinai Hospital, it can occur in two ways, including:

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The National Football League (NFL) is not the only sports organization to reach a concussion settlement agreement with players. As of this week, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is also reported to have a settlement. According to a report in USA Today, the college sports organization reached an agreement with the lawsuit plaintiffs just hours before a scheduled status hearing.

The first complaint was filed more than three years ago by four former players. Two of the complainants were former football players, while one was a soccer player and the fourth played hockey. Each of them reportedly claimed to suffer from headaches and depression. Some also asserted having seizures. Over the next few months, at least nine other lawsuits were reportedly filed. They each asserted that NCAA officials knowingly withheld information from student players about the risk of concussions, along with their long term effects. While the settlement does not provide specific damage awards for the original plaintiffs, it does allow each of them to bring their own personal injury complaints against the NCAA individually.
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The effects of serious traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are well known and significantly documented. However, recent research is shedding light on the lesser known lasting effects of mild and moderate traumatic brain injuries. According to a report by Fox News, researchers determined that cognition and brain matter are impacted by these injuries as well. The study involved 86 participants in total, 44 with mild TBI, nine with moderate TBI and a healthy control group of 33 participants. All of the subjects were similarly situated in education and age.

The study started immediately following the date of injury, with a Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) scan completed within one week. The test is a type of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) that contrasts the brightness of collected images to determine the health of the brain. When looking at the images, a healthy brain’s white area is ‘very structured and orderly,” according to the report. Where there is damage to the brain, the images show variances in brightness.
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A huge legend in football recently added his name to the increasing list of players who are suing the National Football League over allegations that players were intentionally misled about the potential dangers of concussions and continuous injuries to the brain. According to a report by CNN, Dan Marino filed suit in a Philadelphia court last week. Fourteen other former players are also named in the legal complaint. Marino, who is 52-years-old, retired from the league in 1999 as a quarterback, following 17 seasons with the Miami Dolphins. The article calls him a “durable quarterback,” starting in 99 consecutive games at one point in his career. In 2005, he was inducted into the pro Football Hall of Fame.

The lawsuit alleges that, though NFL executives were knowledgeable about the effect of concussions on long term health and well-being, information about the risk was not provided to players. Each of the complaints included a written statement from the players, acknowledging that they suffer from a brain injury and briefly discussing some of the health related effects. While Marino’s complaint does not list any specific injuries, it requests that the court award unspecified monetary damages, along with continuous monitoring of his health.
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Levin & Perconti has proudly advocated for plaintiffs in brain injury cases in Chicago-area courts for decades now, and the firm possesses over 130 collective years of experience with brain injury cases.

We would like to share the stories of some of our previous clients and their individual successes at seeking justice. All of the following Levin & Perconti cases have been published in the National Jury Verdict Review & Analysis.

Heflin v. Stammich Management

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The Associated Press reported this week on yet another class-action concussion lawsuit against a large, professional sports organization. This time it is the National Hockey League (NHL) that is under fire from former players who alleged that league action (and inaction) contributed to long-term player harm as a result of brain injuries sustained during their playing days.

The Lawsuit

Following in the footsteps of thousands of former NFL football players, at least ten former hockey professionals are part of this initial class action suit. The lawsuit includes the “class” of all NHL players who retired before February of this year and who suffered brain injuries.