Articles Posted in Brain Injury

Forrest Buchtel, 74, was riding his bike southbound on Sherman Avenue in Evanston, Ill.  He stopped for a stop sign at Greenleaf Street, which is a four-way stop intersection and then began peddling his bike into the intersection when he was hit by an eastbound car driven by the defendant, Jason Whitaker.

Buchtel testified that he saw the Whitaker SUV about one-half block away as he peddled through the intersection and observed that Whitaker was not looking at the road ahead while talking to a woman in the front passenger seat.  Whitaker ran the stop sign.

The impact between the SUV driven by Whitaker and Buchtel on his bike, knocked him onto the hood of the SUV and then onto the pavement of the street.

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Individual NFL retired players will receive up to $5 million of the $1 billion settlement that was reached with the NFL (National Football League). The NFL has recognized that current and former players are exposed regularly to different forms of brain concussions. Some of these injuries lead to neurocognitive or neuromuscular symptoms. The NFL brand of football is increasingly fast, including extremely talented and bigger players. All participants are subjected to serious injuries, including brain injuries.

The player lawsuits originally accused the NFL of hiding what it knew about the link between concussions and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), the degenerative brain disease found in dozens of former NFL players after their deaths. The settlement avoids the need for a trial and means the NFL may never have to disclose what it knew and when about the risks and treatment of repeated concussions.

The settlement covers more than 20,000 retired NFL players for the next 65 years. The league estimates that 6,000 former players, or nearly 3 in 10, could develop Alzheimer’s disease or moderate dementia. Continue reading

Raymond Berke fell in the vestibule of an apartment building where he and his wife were staying with friends. A doorman heard but did not see him fall. There were no eyewitnesses. He suffered spinal injuries that rendered him a quadriplegic. He has no memory of his fall.

Berke filed a lawsuit against the building owner and the management company claiming that the vestibule area, stairs and doorway, in particular, were improperly designed and maintained and were a direct and proximate cause of his injuries.  His wife brought a loss of consortium claims against both defendants.

The defendants moved for summary judgment. The trial judge entered judgment in their favor. The Berkes argued that they presented sufficient admissible evidence to support their prima facie case of premises liability that would preclude summary judgment. They also contended that the trial court erred in striking parts of their expert witness affidavits, submitted in support of their response to defendants’ summary judgment motion and that the court should have granted their motion to cite supplemental authority.

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Lizeth Pimentel, age 24, approached a bridge in Long Beach, Calif., while driving her SUV. The bridge was undergoing a seismic retrofit, which necessitated lane closures and led to traffic backups. As she drove onto the bridge, several vehicles in front of her stopped without warning. She lost control of her SUV, crossed several lanes of traffic and struck the bridge’s handrail, plummeting with her vehicle into the Los Angeles River 40 feet below. Pimentel was submerged in her vehicle for about 30 minutes, was in a coma for 8 months and sustained anoxic brain damage as a result of the incident.

Pimentel, who had been a clerk earning about $10 an hour, now suffers from permanent tetraplegia. Tetraplegia is also known as quadriplegia where there is a total loss of use of all four limbs and the torso. Compared to paraplegia, although similar, it does not affect the arms.

Pimentel and her husband filed a lawsuit against the general contractor for the project, Riverside Construction Co., the subcontractor that designed the project’s traffic control plan, FPL & Associates Inc., the City of Long Beach and the subcontractor resident engineer, TCM Group Inc.

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An Illinois jury evaluated a bicycle accident lawsuit to determine not only whether the defendant driver was liable, but also whether her employer was liable in Cedric Bacon v. City of Joliet, Sgt. Cordelia Dunn , 08L-859. The personal injury lawsuit arose out of a bicycle accident in which the defendant, Sgt. Cordelia Dunn, struck the plaintiff’s bicycle while driving 50 mph through an intersection. Sgt. Dunn was responding to a call under her duty as a Joliet Police Officer, thereby making her employer, the Joliet Police Department, liable as well.

Cedric Bacon, the injured bicyclist who brought the personal injury claim against Sgt. Dunn for the injuries he sustained from the Joliet bicycle accident. Bacon required an open reduction internal fixation (ORIF) surgery to repair the broken bones in his right leg; the breaks were so severe that the surgeons needed to place screws and plates to try to stabilize the bones. Despite the surgery, injuries to the surrounding artery and nerves caused Bacon to develop a severe foot drop. In addition, Bacon suffered a severe brain injury and developed subsequent anxiety.

At the personal injury trial, the bulk of the testimony centered on what happened at the intersection accident and whether Sgt. Dunn was acting within the scope of her employment. In an unusual turn of events, Sgt. Dunn refused to testify for her discovery deposition. As a result, the judge barred her from testifying at trial, forcing the defense to find an alternative way to represent Dunn’s versions of the events. To do so, the City of Joliet hired two accident reconstruction experts to reconstruct the intersection accident and testify before the jury at trial.

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A Chicago jury awarded $850,000 to a Chicago construction employee who suffered severe injuries after falling from his work on elevated train tracks. The personal injury verdict in Raul Luna et al. v. Chicago Transit Authority, Kiewit Western Co., Divane Brothers Electric Co., et al., No. 07 L 12550, came despite evidence that suggested the employee was injured because he violated some of the construction site’s safety requirements.

Raul Luna was an industrial painter employed by SCI Coatings, LLC. At the time of his construction site accident, Luna was working on Chicago Transit Authority’s (CTA) elevated railroad tracks as part of the CTA’s Chicago Loop renovation project. Luna was brought in to help sandblast and paint columns on the Van Buren St. train tracks between State St. and Wabash Ave. Because the train tracks were elevated, workers were using a manlift to reach the above ground areas. This essentially involved workers securing themselves using a harness-like device in order to prevent them from falling in the event that they slipped while working above ground.

In addition to his painting duties, Luna was also responsible of removing the construction site’s containment structure, which was constructed of tarps and wood two-by-fours. In order to reach the top of containment structure, Luna used the manlift as required by the job’s safety requirements. Luna proceeded to remove the nails from the two-by-fours in order to break down the containment structure. However, at some point Luna untied himself from the manlift, exited its basket area, and began to crawl across the elevated tracks.

It was while crawly unprotected across the tracks that Luna fell; one of the two-by-fours broke as Luna was removing a nail, sending him falling to the street below. Luna sustained an epidural hematoma, a comminuted displaced wrist fracture, and a comminuted fibula fracture. The fibula fracture required an internal fixation surgery so that Luna’s bones would heal properly. In addition, Luna suffered from a traumatic brain injury, which left him with cognitive, psychological, and behavioral deficits following his construction site injury.

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A Macon County jury entered one of the highest verdicts in its county’s history when it awarded $3.09 million to an Illinois worker who sustained a brain injury at work. The Illinois personal injury verdict was entered against Tate & Lyle Ingredients Americas, Inc. for its failure to maintain a safe work environment in William C. Jones v. Tate & Lyle Ingredients Americas, Inc., 07 L 152 (Macon County).

At the time of the workplace injury, William Jones was working as a contract employee for Tate & Lyle at its Decatur corn processing plant. Jones had been hired to perform general maintenance work and was performing his duties in the vicinity of an above ground storage tank when the tank unexpectedly broke apart. Its contents burst out towards Jones, knocking him down.

The storage tank contained 300,000 gallons of corn gluten that was heated to 115 degrees Fahrenheit, which caused burn injuries to parts of Jones’s body. In addition, the force of the fall resulted in a closed head injury, which was eventually diagnosed as a brain injury. The plaintiff contended that this brain injury caused Jones to suffer not only from short-term memory loss, but also from a perceivable personality change.

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As lawyers, we often hear accounts of clients who sustained fairly severe injuries after being involved in a car accident, yet did not have any medical complaints immediately following the crash. This is the case for a pedestrian who suffered a brain injury after being hit by a SUV. Despite her lack of symptoms at the accident scene, a Cook County jury awarded the plaintiff $713,602.

At the time of the Illinois pedestrian-car accident, the plaintiff was walking across a Northbrook intersection when she was struck by a Lexus SUV. There were opposing accounts of what happened. While the defendant driver stated that she was only traveling at one to two miles-per-hour at the time of impact, the plaintiff alleged that the impact was more severe. Also, while the defendant claimed that she merely bumped into the plaintiff, the plaintiff claimed that the impact was so severe that it caused her head to bounce of the defendant’s hood as she was thrown a few feet away.

However, both parties agree that the plaintiff refused medical treatment at the accident scene and did not immediately go to a hospital. Instead, the plaintiff continued on her way, even going out to dinner that night. In fact, it was at dinner that she began to experience some abnormal neurological symptoms.

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A Cook County trucking accident recently resulted in a $675,000 verdict for the plaintiff, who suffered traumatic brain injuries as a result of the 2005 rear-end collision. The Illinois personal injury case was brought against both the defendant driver and his employer; Heather Davis v. Keith M. Longsine, Schneider National Carriers Inc., 07 L 3098.

The Illinois highway accident occurred in March 2005, during Illinois’s road construction season. The plaintiff, Heather Davis, had come to a complete stop due to the road construction on Illinois Interstate 94 near Thornton, Illinois. However, the truck driven by defendant, Keith Longsine, did not stop and ended up crashing into Davis’s vehicle. At the time of the accident, Longsine was driving a truck owned by his employer, Schneider National Carriers, Inc.

At the Illinois personal injury trial, the plaintiff hired a mechanical engineer to offer opinions as to how fast the defendant was driving at the time of the rear-end crash. The severity of the impact caused Davis’s car to be pushed five feet forward into the rear of a pickup truck stopped in front of her. In addition, Davis’s airbags deployed and her headrest broke off of her driver’s seat. The plaintiff’s engineering expert, Michael Rogers, used this information to opine that the defendant was driving in excess of 33 mph when the trucking accident occurred.

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A recent Chicago birth injury settlement provides an extreme example of Illinois surgical complications. The Cook County medical malpractice case was filed on behalf of a boy who was left with severe brain damage following his cardiac surgery at Loyola University Medical Center.

The minor plaintiff was eight months-old at the time the Chicago medical malpractice occurred. According to the details of the case, the little boy presented to Loyola University Medical Center for cardiac surgery. This surgery was necessary due to his congenital heart condition, but should not have resulted in severe brain damage.

However, both during and after the procedure there was a marked reduction in the oxygen flow to the plaintiff’s brain, which in turn led to the unexpected brain injury. The minor plaintiff’s brain injury was classified as a hypoxic brain injury versus an anoxic brain injury. The difference between the two types of brain injuries is that a hypoxic injury results when the brain does not receive enough oxygen to properly perform its functions, whereas an anoxic injury occurs when the brain does not receive any oxygen. However, both hypoxic and anoxic brain injuries can result in severe brain damage, which is exactly what occurred in this case.

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