Brain Injuries

Women Face More Injury in Car Accidents

When litigating car accident lawsuits, we have always found that women seem to consistently sustain more serious injuries than males. Predominantly, back and brain injuries. We began to wonder if this was just the experience of Grazian and Volpe or if it was a statistical fact.

We began to do some research and came upon a study done by the University of Virginia in October of 2011. Interested readers can access the full report at
ajph.aphapublications.org/.

Researchers reviewed information on 45,445 crash victims gathered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration over 11 years. Compared with male drivers studied, women were 5 1/2 inches shorter and 35 pounds lighter; fewer were overweight; and more were driving passengers cars at the time of the crash(carpools, ferrying children and elderly parents and family members). After controlling for these factors and others, the study found that women were 47 percent more likely to suffer severe injuries, most notably brain and spinal injuries.

The study concludes that females are more susceptible to brain injury and spinal injury because of differences in neck strength and musculature. In addition, the positioning of head restraints and seating positions are not configured for the shorter female stature. The study posited that car safety devices have been designed with a male template and car manufacturers may need to consider designing safety features which can accommodate gender differences.

Dipan Bose, lead author of the study cautions female drivers “ensure that their safety systems perform optimally, including maintaining a good belt fit and correct seating posture.”

We have not seen any accommodations made by car manufacturers so it seems incumbent upon female drivers to take it upon themselves to provide for a more secure interior driving environment by assuring their necks and backs are secure and well-supported and their seat belts fit firmly.

Remember, it is always better to stay safe and avoid an accident and a lawyer. But if you can’t stay safe, stay with Grazian and Volpe, Chicago’s experienced car accident attorneys for over 30 years.

Boy’s tragic accident calls attention to elevator hazards

Many Chicago parents are not aware of how often children are injured in elevator accidents. Most people assume that if an elevator is available for public use in a commercial or public building, it must be safe. In fact, property owners and elevator manufacturers are required by law to ensure elevators are safe, but they often fail to do this.

A news report recently shined a spotlight on one particular type of elevator that is hazardous to children. Swing door elevators – those with an exterior door on the landing and an interior door attached to the elevator car – are particularly dangerous. These elevators are found mostly in older buildings, but a number of families are also now installing these for home use.

Swing-door elevators have been around for more than a century, and they have posed serious risks to children since those early days. This is because children can fit into the space between the two doors; when a child is in the gap and the outer door closes, the elevator is live and the child may not be able to get out without assistance.

While it is not clear exactly how many children have been injured in such accidents, it was recently reported that 34 children were maimed or killed in swing-door accidents in a 10-year period in southern New York and New Jersey alone.

In a recent incident, a boy was seriously injured in an elevator accident in his own home. The swing-door elevator had been installed in the home to accommodate the boy’s elderly grandmother. On Christmas Eve 2010, the 3-year-old managed to open the outer elevator door, and it closed behind him. The boy was trapped between the outer and inner doors when his mother happened to call the elevator. The boy was dragged and pushed by the elevator car, and although he survived, he suffered brain damage and quadriplegia.

His parents were not aware of the hazards associated with swing-door elevators when they purchased theirs. In the aftermath of this tragedy, they have sued the manufacturer of the elevator and are calling for changes in the elevator industry to prevent additional accidents.

Companies should be held accountable to the fullest extent when their products injure children.

Source: The Modesto Bee, “‘Swing-door’ elevators blamed for child injuries,” Shawn Hubler, Dec. 18, 2013

Avoid Traumatic Brain Injury and Wear a Helmet When Hitting the Slopes!

In recent years, there have been countless stories involving celebrities who have fallen or collided while skiing and been killed or seriously injured by severe brain trauma. These are the stories that make headline news. Emergency room physicians have more reports of the common folk sustaining concussions or other serious head trauma while skiing- in fact, according to the Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma the number of ski-related brain trauma injuries is “alarming. So the question became whether or not it was better to wear a helmet for head protection while skiing or snowboarding.

Researchers from the department of sport science at the University of Innsbruck set out to determine whether wearing a helmet while skiing increased people’s willingness to take risks, in which helmets could actually decrease safety on the slopes.

They found no correlation between wearing a helmet and increased risk taking behavior. In fact, the more experienced the skier, the more likely they were to wear a helmet. In addition they found that helmets reduce the risk of serious head injury by as much as 60 percent but a surprising number of safety experts and snow sports enthusiasts remain convinced that helmets reduce overall risk.

A survey of ski patrollers from across the country found that 77 percent did not wear helmets because they worried that it would reduce peripheral vision, hearing and response times.

However, researchers brought snowboarders and skiers into the lab in 2011 to test this theory. What they found was that peripheral vision and reaction times were virtually unchanged when they wore a helmet, compared with wearing a hat. Goggles slightly reduced peripheral vision and increased response times but helmets had no significant effect.

Dr. Adil H. Haider, a trauma surgeon and associate professor of surgery at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore states that the take-away form the growing body of science is unequivocal, “Helmets are safe. They don’t increase risk taking. And they protect against serious, even fatal head injuries. The Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma has issued a recommendation that “all recreational skiers and snowboarders should wear safety helmets,” making them the first medical group to on record advocation universal helmet use.

The lawyers at Grazian and Volpe have represented hundreds of clients who have sustained serious injury due to a head trauma. We advise all our clients to wear protective head gear whenever engaged in an activity that presents the potential of a fall or collision. We now add skiers and snowboarders to that list.

Remember, it is always better to remain safe and avoid injury, but if you can’t stay safe, stay with Grazian and Volpe, Chicago’s Leading Trauma Injury Lawyers for over 30 years.

General Electric Joins Forces with N.F.L. in Effort to Detect Brain Injuries

The N.F.L. has been plagued by a rash of litigation involving thousands of former players alleging that the N.F.L. knew of connection between head injuries sustained on the field and long-term cognitive impairment.

In response, the N.F.L has altered rules and fined and suspended players who hit opponents in the head. The N.F.L. has also contributed millions of dollars fort he study of head and traumatic brain injuries.

The league recently announced that independent neurological consultants will be on the sidelines at every game to help detect head injuries and concussions.

In addition, the new initiative with General Electric represents the N.F.L.’s most aggressive collaboration in pursuit of resolutions to some vexing player safety issues: determining if some players are predisposed to head and brain trauma; diagnosing and gauging the extent of brain injury and detecting the chronic effects of concussion; as well as improving equipment to insulate the brain during play.

These efforts will benefit the public at larger by determining those most vulnerable to brain trauma and diagnosing the trauma and long term effects. These tools will help doctors recognize brain trauma earlier and provide treatment that may prevent long term cognitive impairment. The improvement in helmets will aid bikers, skiers, construction workers and all persons engaged in activities that may threaten a head injury.

The lawyers at Grazian and Volpe caution all their clients to wear protective head gear where ever appropriate. We know that prevention of injury is always the best course, but it you can’t prevent an injury and accident, call Grazian and Volpe, Chicagoland’s Leading Injury Lawyers for over 30 years.

$13 Million Verdict For Elevator Fall in Highrise: How You Can Survive a Fall

Who doesn’t have at least a slight fear of an elevator fall anytime one enters an elevator in a high rise premises?  Fortunately, this plaintiff lived to tell her story and the jury awarded her $13 million for her multiple physical and mental injuries. The verdict was entered against the building premises manager and and Schindler Elevator Corporation, the building’s on-site elevator maintenance firm.

The plaintiff was injured in a highrise when she experienced a series of falls in the elevator between the 23rd floor and the basement.  Plaintiff had placed a call on the elevator intercom indicating that the elevator was acting erratically. Rather than take the plaintiff off the elevator and then repair the malfunction. The maintenance operator sent her to the basement causing a series of violent falls on the way down. It was shown at trial that Schindler grossly mishandled the malfunction and failed to consider Plaintiff’s safety as a priority. Plaintiff suffered post traumatic stress disorder, chronic depression, partial paralysis of left leg, pseudo seizures and was wheel chair bound for several years.

According to the website of the Department of Physics at the University of Illinois, the only chance of surviving a fall is to lie spread-eagle on the floor. That will distribute the force of impact across a wider area, which may cause internal injures but lessen the chance of breaking bones.

Remember elevator accidents are rare and elevator falls rarer. You are most likely to get injured by the elevator door so just be alert when entering and exiting. Remember, it is always better to stay safe but if you can’t stay safe, stay with Grazian and Volpe, Chicagoland’s Injury Lawyers for over 30 years!

Wrongful Death Tragic But Instructive In Litigating Stairs and Premises Liability

The Chicagoland Accident Lawyers at Grazian and Volpe specialize in premises liability issues and find that the vast majority of cases involve personal injury. A recent case involves a hidden stairway and the tragic wrongul death of a 21-year-old college student. Samuel Jacob Freeman sought out a quiet alcove in a bar he was patronizing to conduct a cell phone conversation. In his quest, he fell backward down a flight of 12 wooden stairs, striking the back of his head on the landing below. He suffered a severe subdural hematoma and traumatic brain injury from which he died several days later.

His parents as individuals and on behalf of his estate sued the bar’s owner alleging that the stairs were dangerous and violated the state building code (the accident occurred in Massachusetts). Key in the allegations were the following: 1) Plaintiff’s contention that the stairway lacked adequate lighting and code compliant handrails and; 2) that the individual steps lacked proper riser heights and tread depth which rendered them dangerously steep and, 3) that the entrance to the stairway was covered only by dark-colored vinyl strips and not a self closing door as required by the building code.

In addition to the negligence and strict liability code violations, the plaintiffs alleged that breach of the building code violated the state’s unfair and deceptive trade practices act. Under state law, violation of the a statute intended to protect the public’s health and safety may constitute a violation of the trade practices act.

The trail court submitted the negligence and statutory strict liability claims to the jury but reserved the unfair trade and deceptive trade practices claim. The jury found that the defendants were negligent and had violated the building codes but that these were not constitute the proximate cause of Freeman’s fatal injuries.

Most interestingly, the court found that the defendant’s violations of the state building codes constituted a violation of the state unfair and deceptive trade practices act and awarded treble damages totaling approximately $6.73 million.

The Chicago and South Chicago Accident Lawyers at Grazian and Volpe find this case an interesting study in the litigation of premises liability and very informative in stating the prima facia case for accidents sustained during falls on stairs. However the addition of the violations of the state’s unfair and deceptive trade practices act opens the door to other means to hold landlords and owners of premises open to the public liable for their negligence or disregard for code violations and basic issues of building safety.

Seriously Hurt in a Bicycle Accident: You May Still Get a Ticket in Illinois

Personal injury lawyers and their clients are all too painfully aware that where a bicycle is involved in a serious bicycle accident – the bicyclist is the driver who sustains the worst injuries (see myaccidentlaw.com/blog “bicycle accidents.”) Of course, motorcycle accidents share the same dynamic (same at “motorcycle accidents.”) A recent verdict reported notes the case of a plaintiff bicyclist struck in the pre-dawn hours of January. The young man who was a grocery clerk suffered traumatic brain injury with cognitive brain effect plus a pelvic fracture and aggravation of a hip condition.  It was determined that the defendant, who was operating a car, failed to maintain a proper look-out and safe speed resulting in his inability to avoid striking the bicycle. Plaintiff, however, was ticketed for failure to have reflective equipment on his bike and for improper position on the roadway. We have to ponder-a cyclist on a winter’s morning, traveling the wrong side of the road without reflective gear?!?!?! A hard lesson to learn, the hard way.

The Chicago Accident Lawyers at Grazian and Volpe value our avid cyclist clients and endeavor through our blogsite and TV appearances to provide tips on bicylcle safety and regulations. Please follow us on our website and on WCIU, You and Me in the Morning and help us help you stay safe!

 

Worker Falls Through Skylight and Suffers Traumatic Brain Injury

Personal injury attorneys who represent the victims of traumatic brain injury never feel satisfied that their client received just compensation-no matter how large the settlement. As Grazian and Volpe has expounded on numerous occasions on myaccidentlaw.com/blog – the extent and ramifications of any serious brain injury is not always readily apparent and quantifiable and may not be fully known until decades after the victim sustains the injury. We were unhappy to read of a recent California settlement involving a 19 year old worker who fell through a skylight unto a concrete floor 35 feet below. The young worker was an employee of a HVAC contractor who had been hired on a renovation project that included adding air conditioning units to an existing building. The worker tripped while on the roof causing him to fall through the skylight. He suffered a traumatic brain injury including a a skull fracture, intracranial hemorrahage, multiple blunt-trauma injuries and bilateral fracturs to the tibia and fibula. As a result of the brain injury, he suffers from difficulty concentrating, trouble processing complex information, short-term memory loss, blurred vision, headaches, impaired balance and numbness to his scalp. Since the accident he also suffers from anxiety and depression. His past medical expenses totaled about $302,400 and his future medical expenses and life-care costs are estimated at about $590,900.00. The young man attempted to return to work after two years but was unable due to his resulting physical limitations.

He sued the the construction company which had contracted his employer alleging that the company has violated Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations by failing to provide personal fall protection, guardrails and skylight covers. The parties settled for $965,000 and the worker’s compensation carrier waived its lien of approximately $276,200.00.

As Chicago Workplace Injury attornerys of over 25 years, Grazian and Volpe has striven to keep our clients aware of the requirements and safety standards and precautions which their employers should follow-see myaccidentlaw.com articles filed under “workers’ compensation“.  Unfortunately, employees cannot always count on employers to follow safety measures or be aware of dangerous conditions. The young man in California will suffer his entire life for the negligence of another and no settlement will ever restore him to his physical state before the his accident. Grazian and Volpe would prefer that all their clients stay safe but when they can’t-they know that Grazian and Volpe will obtain the best outcome possible for them and their loved ones.

Athletes, Coaches, Parents-New Tool in the War Against Traumatic Brain Injury

Traumatic brain injury can result in a degenerative brain disease known as  Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). We have written extensively on this site about the state of research and law aimed at the prevention, treatment and advocacy for victims of this debilitating condition.(see myaccidentlaw.com/blog keyword, brain injury, concussions, Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy).

Most victims of serious brain injuries are sustained upon impact or collision (as in a motor vehicle accident, especially motorcycle accidents or bicycle accidents) a fall from a bed (nursing home accidents) or as an athlete in a sport where tackling, checking or blocking are involved (think football or hockey).

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has implemented a new website designed to keep athletes and the public safe from concussions. The new website is beneficial to everyone but parents and coaches should pay special attention to the free online course designed to aid in the recognition and response to potential head injuries. The course offers a cerificate at course completion as proof of the individuals readiness to recognize the situations where brain concusions are likely to occur and the symptoms of any potential brain injuries.

Grazian and Volpe cautions all clients and the general public that a concussion cannot be diagnosed without medical testing and that it may be hours or days after the injury before victims may experience or report symptoms. Knowledge and prompt attention are key to minimizing the medical impact of brain injury. Please share this site with any and all persons you know so that we can all help safeguard our families and loved ones: www.cdc.gov/concussion/HeadsUp/youth.html

Visit myaccidentlaw.com for more tips and information on injury prevention and law. The accident lawyers at Grazian and Volpe love to talk law and telephone calls are always free.

Federal Judge in Bike Accident Rides Smart But Still Gets Hurt!

We read a story of a Federal Judge involved in bicycle accident and we thought his misfortune might drive home our messages on bicycle and motorcycle safety. Please see our blogs “Cyclists Get a Garmin” and “Don’t Buy Your Helmet at the Flea Market” (myaccidentlaw.com/blog July 28, 2011 and October 3, 2011).

According to the ISBA E-Clips, U.S. District Court Judge Michael Reagan has been ruling from a wheel chair after being involved in a bicycle accident on October 3rd. He landed on his shoulder and then is quoted in E-Clips as stating, “Then my head bounced twice followed by the impact to my left hip”. Reagan was knocked unconscious and credited his bike helmet with sparing him serious brain injury.

Grazian and Volpe loves that a Federal Judge can drive home our messages regarding bicycle safety. We are always sharing any information we can find to help our motor and non- motor cyclist clients avoid serious personal injury when cycling. Judge Reagan still suffered serious fractures his shoulder and clavicle and we can only hazard at the traumatic brain injury he may have suffered without a helmet. This is of especial note because he suffered a collision with another bicycle. Imagine the injury if he had an an impact with a fast moving motor vehicle! Even at lower bicycle speeds, the Judge lost consciousness. We hearken back to our article “Cyclists Get a Garmin”- and wish to remind our readers that the nature of impacts while cycling often lead to loss of memory and brain injury. A GPS system can help a bicycle accident victim reconstruct the accident and help prove liability. Any avid cyclist and motorcycle rider should consider carrying one when on the road.

There are few joys greater than open road riding on a bicycle and motorcycle. Your Chicago Bicycle and Motor Cycle Accident Lawyers at Grazian and Volpe want your experience to be safe and enjoyable. Please follow us on WCIU, You and Me in the Morning and at our blog on myaccidentlaw.com/blog where we strive to keep you safe from injury and apprise you of laws and regulations which help protect you and your family. Remember, stay safe first and foremost, but if you don’t stay safe-stay with Grazian and Volpe, Your Chicagoland Accident Lawyers for over 25 years.