A Concussion Can Change Your Life, and So Can a Verdict

A Concussion Can Change Your Life, and So Can a Verdict

While popular culture immediately associates brain injury with professional football players, minor brain trauma can also be debilitating and happen to anyone. One example of brain trauma is post-concussive syndrome (also known as post-concussion syndrome or PCS). While the body often self-heals concussions in one to six weeks, some are more serious and life-changing. In 10 to 20 percent of concussion cases, the symptoms persist for weeks, months, or years. PCS problems can be physical, cognitive, and emotional. Symptoms may include chronic headaches, dizziness, depression, and a change in personality. Sometimes the effects of post-concussive syndrome are so severe that people who suffer from PCS are no longer able to work. Because PCS is ongoing, the cost of medication and treatment are high. Most cases of post-concussion syndrome occur as the result of an accident, whether in the workplace, while driving — or even on vacation, as happened to my client, Owen. In 2006, Owen and his girlfriend traveled from Virginia to Orlando for a paintball tournament on Disney property. While browsing vendor booths, a large, tethered advertising balloon came crashing down on them. Owen was more seriously injured than his girlfriend, and after being transported to the hospital he was diagnosed with a concussion and released. Unfortunately, Owen’s symptoms did not dissipate within a few weeks. Instead, he suffered from constant headaches, depression, a change in personality, and rising health costs. He became suicidal. After 11 years of this, he finally sought legal recourse with my help. Thanks to the testimony of his former girlfriend, who described in detail the struggles and pain that Owen experienced, the jury awarded him $1.25 million so that he can get the life-long medical care he will need for post-concussive syndrome. Between 2010 and 2015, concussion diagnoses nearly doubled. You can’t always control […]

Soccer and Personal Injury: Traumatic Brain Injuries From Soccer Heading

Soccer and Personal Injury: Traumatic Brain Injuries From Soccer Heading

In a world that is more and more cognizant of the long-term damage that head injuries can do to a person, it’s a wonder that soccer has made it this far without enacting better protections for players. It remains one of the only sports that actually encourages the use of the head to control or advance the ball. It’s called soccer heading and it has come under increased scrutiny as a contributing factor to progressive brain damage and dementia later in life and has been the underlying cause in many an Orlando personal injury lawsuit. No Contact? Not Really Many parents encourage their children to play soccer because it is considered a “no contact” sport, but that’s not necessarily accurate. Soccer heading, crashing into other players, bumping heads, hitting goals posts…there are many ways a child can be injured playing soccer – and players have none of the personal protective equipment that athletes in “contact” sports like football or hockey wear. The soccer and personal injury connection occurs more often than many people realize and, in the case of soccer heading, it’s “all just part of the game.” Even though they are not subject to soccer heading to the degree that pro athletes are, children are especially at risk for brain injuries from soccer heading because their brains do not fully develop until they are in their early twenties. It’s possible that the minor head injuries and brain bruising that occurs in the elementary and high school soccer-playing years could have lasting impacts on developing brains. This is especially concerning given the dramatic changes that occur in the human brain during the teen years. How Soccer Heading Impacts The Brain Scientists have long studied soccer heading, suspecting that it can cause lasting damage to the brain. Studies have shown both short-term […]

3 Tips To Avoid An Orlando SunRail Accident

3 Tips To Avoid An Orlando SunRail Accident

The SunRail commuter train line is still relatively new to the area having opened in spring of 2014, and it seems the line is taking a bit of getting used to. Orlando SunRail accident numbers are up to 15 since the line opened. Many of these accidents have to do with cars being on the tracks at the wrong time. In train-automobile accidents, the automobile always loses. Even though there are warning lights, sounds, and crossing arms that block access to the tracks, accidents still happen. Drivers need to take extra precautions when crossing SunRail tracks to protect themselves from deadly accidents. Avoid An Orlando SunRail Accident Common sense and basic safety tips can help keep drivers safe near SunRail lines. Follow these basic safety tips to avoid an Orlando SunRail accident: Obey railroad crossing signs. Stop when the lights are flashing and crossing arms are down. Don’t try to beat the train or drive around the crossing arms. Trains cannot stop in time to avoid hitting something on the tracks. They are simply too big, too fast, and too heavy. There’s also nowhere for them to go, they can’t swerve to avoid an accident. If something is in front of them, they’re going to hit it. Don’t sit on the tracks. It’s not unusual to see cars stop on the tracks as they wait for traffic to move forward. This is not safe under any circumstances. Even if the crossing arms have gone up and the lights have turned off, it does not mean the tracks will remain clear long enough for you to move forward. Don’t chance it. Wait until you can safely cross and completely clear the tracks before advancing. If you do get stuck on the tracks with a train coming at you, get out of […]

Proving Negligence In Train Accident And Personal Injury Lawsuits

Proving Negligence In Train Accident And Personal Injury Lawsuits

Train accidents remain common throughout the U.S. In addition to derailments and spills, there are impact accidents involving automobiles and pedestrians. Sometimes, the train company is at fault. Also, not all train accidents don’t happen on the rails. Take, for example, an incident that occurred in a Washington, D.C. subway recently. The victim suffered a head injury after being struck by a metal pole that was being used to close an area of a Washington Metro Transit Authority subway station. The pole became dislodged and struck him as he was walking by. The traumatic brain injury was so extensive that the victim is unable to return to work for the foreseeable future. He has sued the transit authority in a $50 million negligence lawsuit for failing to “properly inspect and maintain” the subway station and for failure to “properly train and supervise its agents.” Railroad Negligence Can Lead To Lawsuits Train companies have a responsibility to provide safe passage on their trains but they also have a responsibility to build and maintain safe stations and crossings. This is not just a responsibility, it’s a legal requirement. Train companies are bound to comply with state and federal laws to meet a certain standard of care – on and off the actual rail lines. Failure to do so is negligence and sets the stage for train accident and personal injury lawsuits to occur. If a Sunrail accident were to occur, the first thing you’d need to establish in order to bring forth an Orlando personal injury lawsuit is if the company’s negligence resulted in the accident. Negligence can occur in many ways. It may be due to poor or non-existent training, faulty equipment, or lax safety measures. If your personal injury attorney can prove that the train company’s action or inaction led […]

Buyer Beware: Dangerous Christmas Toys Could Be Hiding In Plain Sight

Buyer Beware: Dangerous Christmas Toys Could Be Hiding In Plain Sight

As consumers, we trust manufacturers and federal government oversight to keep unsafe products off the shelves, but that doesn’t always happen. Every year in Orlando, toy liability cases crop up and many of them stem from products that parents were unaware could be dangerous to their children. So, if such toys are on the shelves, what can consumers do to avoid buying dangerous Christmas toys this year? Don’t Assume Dangerous Toys Are Reported In one landmark case, Aqua-Leisure Industries, Inc. was hit with a civil penalty of $650,000 for failing to report defects involving a line of inflatable baby boats. Under federal law, companies are required to report defects within 24 hours of becoming aware of them to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Aqua-Leisure knowingly failed to report a defect wherein the leg strap in the seat of the inflatable baby boats could tear, causing children to fall into the water unexpectedly. Between 2001 and 2008, Aqua-Leisure had received several reports of incidents involving more than one line of inflatable baby boats. This was even after a recall of 90,000 boats in 2001. It took until 2009 for Aqua-Leisure to report the incidents to the CSPC. This led to a recall of 4 million inflatable baby boats that had been sold between 2002 and 2009. The takeaway message here is that parents should not assume that just because a toy is on the market, means it is 100% safe. What Can Parents Do? Social media and the internet are great research tools, especially when there isn’t an official toy liability case or product recall to research. If you want to check up on the safety of certain toys, do a Google search on the toy. Add in keywords like “defects”, “problems”, or “dangers” and you are certain to pull […]

Watch Out For Dangerous Christmas Toys Marketed Under New Names

Watch Out For Dangerous Christmas Toys Marketed Under New Names

Sometimes, when a toy is recalled, the manufacturer will remarket it under a new name, especially if the toy had proven popular with consumers. Aqua Dots is one example of this. In the early to mid 2000’s, Aqua Dots was a hugely popular plastic bead art set. Kids could create their own colorful designs, then set the design by spritzing the beads with water. The water effectively melted the beads together so they formed a solid piece of art that could then be lifted, moved, or handled without fear of falling apart. Sounds fun and educational, right? The problem was Aqua Dots were toxic and several children ingested them. Testing showed that the beads were coated with a chemical that turned into the date-rape drug gamma hydroxybutyrate (GHB) when digested! At least one child who ingested the beads suffered permanent brain damage and won a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer. Aqua Dots was pulled off the market, but not for long. Soon, Pixos and Chixos showed up for sale by the same manufacturer – essentially the exact same toy as Aqua Dots. Product Safety Laws Rely Heavily On Self-Regulation As incredible as it is to hear, many product safety laws rely on the manufacturers themselves to report toxins in their products! If a company does not declare the toxins, the product may not be tested, and could make it to market, which is what happened with Aqua Dots. What is even more shocking is that the U.S. distributor of the toy, Spin Master, has reportedly said that they still don’t test for the hazardous chemicals in their products, including the new Pixos and Chixos. While the likelihood that Spin Master has reverted to the same formula as that used in Aqua Dots is extremely low, it’s still disconcerting to […]