Articles Posted in Traumatic Brain Injuries

Massachusetts residents had higher rates of traumatic brain injury-related emergency department (ED) visits than residents of any other state studied, according to a 2021 report in the Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation. Over 998 per 100,000 MA residents went to an emergency room for a traumatic brain injury (TBI) in a single year, topping the list of the 25 states reporting that data. While the Commonwealth fared better on TBI-related deaths and hospitalizations, one thing is clear: brain injuries affect a substantial number of Massachusetts residents every year.

TBIs occur when a bump, blow, jolt, or penetration to the head disrupts normal brain function. Although many TBIs result in mild concussions, serious brain injury is a major cause of death and disability. In fact, a 2018 special report by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH)  indicated that TBIs contributed to 68,260 emergency room visits, 5,062 hospitalizations, and 820 deaths of MA residents in one year.

Causes of Brain Injuries in Massachusetts

The frequency of traumatic brain injury (TBI) for Americans is eight times greater than that of breast cancer, spinal-cord injury, multiple sclerosis, and AIDS combined. TBI is a serious, and potentially-life threatening medical condition that affects an estimated 1.7 million people annually. Of those, about 275,000 will require hospitalization, and approximately 52,000 will die.

Common causes of TBIs include high-impact sports, motor vehicle accidents, and falls. Although TBIs can affect any person at any age, our risk of TBI increases as we get older. Adults age 75 and older have the greatest risk of hospitalization and death from TBI.

Despite its prevalence in the U.S., TBI remains a commonly misunderstood, misdiagnosed, and mistreated medical condition. The myths below can lead to improper treatment, irreparable damage, and even death.

Myth #1 -TBI is always preceded by a loss of consciousness.

Recent advances in the medical community’s understanding of TBI have debunked this rather controversial myth. Today, the general consensus among doctors experienced in TBI is that a patient does not need to lose consciousness to suffer a TBI.

Myth #2 – If the individual looks fine and has no immediate symptoms, TBI is not a concern.

A person who has suffered a TBI may retain consciousness, appear healthy, and be able to walk and talk normally. TBI symptoms are often so subtle that the patient simply feels “off,” or slightly different. For some people, TBI symptoms don’t become apparent for weeks or months. Even so, they may have sustained serious internal damage. If untreated, this damage could lead to permanent psychological and neurological problems. A Boston personal injury lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you believe you’ve suffered a TBI.

Myth #3 – Mild TBIs are not a big deal.

Even mild concussions and TBIs can have life-long psychological and neurological consequences. Symptoms of a mild TBI may include headaches, nausea, dizziness, noise and light sensitivity, problems with balance, vision and hearing problems, sleep problems, memory loss, personality changes, irritability, impulsivity, aggression, and depression.

Myth #4 – A TBI will always show up on a brain imaging scan.

Although MRI and CT scans can be helpful, this type of neuroimaging is rarely able to detect the structural differences caused by a mild TBI. These scans may appear normal, even if serious damage has been done. Slight differences, such as axonal shearing, may be too subtle to appear on the scan. That being said, other types of neuroimaging may be more effective at detecting structural differences in the brain. Functional imaging, including functional PET and MRI scans, may detect mild TBI and concussion. Unfortunately, functional testing is rarely used in clinical settings.

It’s important to know the symptoms of TBI, but it’s equally important to understand that symptoms may not be immediately apparent. If you have suffered any type of trauma to the head, it is in your best interest to seek immediate medical attention. There are many myths about TBI, and some of these misconceptions can lead to long-term or permanent damage. A MA personal injury lawyer can help you recover damages if you’ve been harmed due to another’s negligence. Continue reading

Ann McKee, neuropathologist and director of the Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) Center at Boston University, studied the brains of 111 deceased NFL players to determine if there is a link between sports concussions and CTE, a degenerative brain disease. Of the 111 brains studied, 110 showed signs of CTE. That’s more than 99 percent.

CTE refers to brain degeneration that is most likely caused by multiple head traumas.. Each of the athletes whose brains were studied had sustained head trauma on multiple occasions. As such, they had all suffered traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) during their time as football players. Although 99 percent of the brains studied showed signs of CTE, this does not translate to a more than 99 percent incidence of developing CTE among football players. A MA injury lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve suffered a TBI due to another’s negligence.

McKee emphasizes that her study was heavily biased; each brain was donated by families who suspected that their deceased loved one had displayed signs of CTE while alive. It was not a study comprised of a “random sample of N.F.L. retirees.” Even so, the fact that 110 of the 111 former players had developed CTE is cause for serious concern.

What is a TBI?

A TBI may occur when a blow, bump, or jolt to the head impairs or disrupts the brain’s normal function. These injuries can range from mild to severe, and complications can be short-term or permanent. Nearly 50,000 people die annually from TBI-related complications. A Boston TBI attorney can help you recover damages if you’ve been injured due to another’s negligence.

Sports-Related Brain Injury Facts and Statistics

According to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS):

  • Cycling accounts for the highest number of sports-related TBIs annually (nearly 20 percent).
  • Football comes second, accounting for 10 percent of all reported brain injuries.
  • Up to eight percent of all sports-related TBIs are due to injuries sustained during baseball and basketball.
  • Other high-impact recreational sports and activities, such as jumping on a trampoline or riding a horse, can also cause TBIs.
  • Between 2001 and 2012, emergency room visits for sports-related concussions more than doubled for children age 19 and younger.

Signs and Symptoms of TBIs

It’s important to understand that signs and symptoms of TBIs may not become apparent for days, weeks, or even months following a concussion or other form of TBI. If you sustained trauma to the head and notice any of the following signs or symptoms, contact your doctor immediately:

  • Severe or chronic headache
  • A sensation of pressure in the head
  • Loss of consciousness, can be brief or prolonged
  • Blurred vision
  • Dilated or uneven pupils
  • Disorientation or confusion
  • Loss of balance or feeling “dizzy”
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Loss of memory (short or long-term)
  • Slurred speech
  • Drowsiness or fatigue
  • Uncharacteristic agitation or irritability
  • Other personality changes
  • Extreme sensitivity to light and sound
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Depression
  • Strange taste in the mouth

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Multiple recent studies have revealed that head injuries in young children – particularly traumatic brain injuries (TBI) – can affect IQ, cognitive function, and even behavior for an extended period. Study results also showed, however, that recovery can continue for years. Several factors have a significant impact on recovery, including the child’s home environment and the presence or absence of certain genes.

Each of three studies (two conducted in Australia, and one in the U.S.) concluded that a loving, stable home environment has an immensely positive impact on a child’s recovery after a TBI. One in 30 children will experience a TBI by the age of 16. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), TBIs often occur when a child suffers a bump or blow to the head. As such, young children have the greatest risk of a TBI, and approximately one-third of children who suffer a TBI will have permanent or long-lasting damage. A MA injury attorney can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve suffered a brain injury due to another’s negligence.

“Many people think that the soft skull of a baby may give them some advantage because if they fall they are not likely to sustain a skull fracture. Also, because a baby’s brain is growing so quickly, it seems like the brain may be able to fix an injury. In reality, the soft skull and growing brain of a baby put them at a greater risk of future problems,” said Louise Crowe, an author of one of the studies and a postdoctoral research officer at Melbourne’s Murdoch Children’s Research Institute.

“Children with significant head injuries do recover, but they are generally slower to learn concepts, and some high-level skills are often too difficult for them,” said Crowe.

Therapy May Still be Effective Years Later

However, until now, few studies have tracked long-term effects of brain injuries in children. According to Vicki Anderson, a professor in critical care and neuroscience research at the Murdoch Institute, therapy and intervention may still be effective years after the initial injury.

“Although this does not suggest that children catch up to peers, it does imply that the gap does not widen during this period,” said Anderson.

Further, home environment has a significant impact on a child’s recovery. The more stable the home, the better the chance of full recovery. “It’s difficult to predict outcome,” Anderson said. “A quality home environment and access to appropriate rehabilitation is critical to maximize outcomes. Or, the young brain is plastic, and so the better the environment, the better the outcome.” A Boston TBI lawyer can help you recover damages if you’ve been injured by another’s negligence.

Meanwhile in the United States, researchers from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital conducted a study on long-term TBI effects for an average of seven years from initial injury. Individuals with mild to moderate TBIs were twice as likely to develop attention disorders, compared to five times more likely for those with severe TBIs. This study also emphasized the importance of home environment. Children with moderate injuries from poor home environments demonstrated worse outcomes than children with severe injuries who live in stable, loving homes. Although the reason for these outcomes is still unknown, it may have to do with early family response, which seems critical to the overall outcome of the child’s long-term prognosis.

More than 630,000 children visit the E.R. for TBIs annually in the U.S. Predictors of recovery, however, remain unclear. These studies provide greater insight into this grey area; particularly when it comes to the roles of environment and specific genes. Cincinnati Children’s Hospital is currently working on ways to identify the genes essential to TBI recovery, and how environmental factors may interact with these genes. To do so, they are collecting DNA samples from hundreds of children who have suffered a TBI. Continue reading

Riding horses can be an enjoyable and healthy – albeit expensive – hobby. Although less dangerous than many other sports, horse riding is not without risks. Jenna Tatoulian knows this all too well. In 2014, the experienced equestrian was thrown from a horse during training. As a result, she suffered multiple fractures to her tailbone and pelvis, and is now suing the riding club that she says is responsible for her injuries.

Tatoulian claims that a water truck at California’s Paddock Riding Club backfired, spooking her horse. She filed a lawsuit against the club, her trainer, and one of the club employees in Los Angeles Superior Court. The employee, Javier Del Angel, was driving the club’s water truck when it backfired. According to Tatoulian, the loud noise frightened the horse, causing the large animal to gallop off. She was thrown to the ground.

Working around horses, the club and its employees should have known that sudden, loud noises can spook horses. At least that’s what Tatoulian alleges in her lawsuit. She also claims that the club was negligent in employing the inexperienced Del Angel, who Tatoulian says was unfit to work there. A MA personal injury can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured in an accident involving a horse.

$7.8 Million Awarded in Horse-Related Wrongful Death Case

Another recent equine-related injury occurred in Pennsylvania, at the Parx Casino and Racetrack. Mario Calderon was killed when the horse he had been exercising dragged him and repeatedly kicked him in the head and torso. According to the family’s wrongful death lawsuit against the track, the horse was startled by chickens that were permitted to roam the track. The victim’s family was awarded $7.8 million when it was revealed that Parx had known the chickens were an issue before Calderon’s death. In fact, Calderson himself had already been injured in a similar incident.

How to Determine Who’s at Fault

Horse-related injury claims can be extremely complicated; who’s at fault – if anyone – depends on multiple factors. If any of the scenarios below are present, someone will likely be liable for any resulting injuries or property damage.

  • If damages occurred when a horse was running loose, the owner may be at fault for improper or inadequate fencing.
  • If the horse has previously injured another person, or has exhibited aggressive tendencies such as biting or kicking, the owner may be at fault if the victim wasn’t properly warned.
  • If the injury or property damage occurred on a road or another space not designated as “open range,” the owner may be liable because of improper fencing or gate locks.
  • If the horse’s owner was negligent in caring for or handling the horse, he or she may be liable if the horse “acts out” and inflicts injury or property damage.


Of course, the scenarios above are not exhaustive. There are multiple conditions in which a horse owner, trainer, or riding club or staff can be at fault for equine injuries. In many circumstances, horse owners believe that their homeowner’s insurance will cover any liability, but this is rarely the case. Even if it does, insurance companies will look for any loophole possible to excuse themselves from paying a dime. A Boston injury lawyer can help you recover damages if you’ve been injured in an accident involving a horse. Continue reading

In 2012, David Moradi was attacked by security staff in a Las Vegas nightclub, leaving him with a traumatic brain injury. The Cosmopolitan Hotel and Casino’s Marguee nightclub was ordered to pay Moradi a whopping $160.5 million for compensatory damages. But he also sought another $483 million in punitive damages to punish the nightclub for bad behavior and deter staff from engaging in similar behavior in the future. Moradi has since settled with the nightclub for an undisclosed amount.

The 2014 lawsuit alleges that security and a manager forced Moradi into a private room where they demanded that he show identification and give them a credit card. All of this occurred after, Moradi claims, he had already paid a $10,000 tab. According to the Marquee’s attorneys, there was an issue with Moradi’s signature on the original bill. Moradi, who claims he was a VIP guest at the Marquee, accuses staff of doing a lot more than just asking for his signature. A Boston injury lawyer can help you recover damages if you’ve been unlawfully detained.

Moradi Feared for His Life

“The Marquee security members and manager shoved David to the ground, causing his head to forcefully hit the concrete surface … The Marquee security members and manager repeatedly hit and smashed David’s head into the concrete and continually held his head and right eye against the concrete with a high degree of pressure … Still pressing his head to the concrete, they asked, ‘Are you going to cooperate and give your ID back?’ Believing he could be killed, David agreed in order to end the violent attack.”

At the time of the accident, Moradi was a hedge fund manager, earning approximately $11 million annually. Since then, he has been diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and his hedge fund closed its doors. Although the amount of the settlement remains unknown, it is likely that it was between the $160.5 million in compensatory damages and the $640 million in total that he asked for. Based on jury interviews, it is highly unlikely that the initial $160.5 million award was appealed. “I would have given him everything,” said juror Sara Sanguinetti, “the way we saw the evidence.” A MA injury lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been harmed by another’s negligent or intentional actions.

Security Guards, Bouncers, and the Use of Excessive Force

Individuals in these industries are more prone to using excessive force than other groups due to the nature of their work. Physical force is a factor of their jobs, and there is a fine line between appropriate and excessive force. Security guards and bouncers can easily cross this line, resulting in serious harm, and even death. When a security guard’s use of excessive force results in injury, it may be considered an “intentional tort.” An intentional tort is a civil – not criminal – act that is committed on purpose, rather than from negligence. In some cases, security guards and bouncers can be charged with assault and battery. False imprisonment is another common charge in cases involving guards and bouncers who misuse their authority. Unlawfully detaining a guest or patron for an extended period of time can result in a charge of false imprisonment or false arrest.  Continue reading

Snowmobiling accidents? Slipping on icy walkways? Shoveling injuries? Although all of the above would make sense, they are not more likely to happen in MA than other states. And the actual answer comes as a bit of a surprise. It’s concussions. MA reports more concussions than any U.S. state. Why? Read on for more information about this surprising statistic and why MA seems to have such a high rate of concussions.

Amino, a company that analyzes electronic insurance claims, recently conducted an analysis of claims for each U.S. state. According to the company’s data, Massachusetts reports more concussions than any other state in the nation. Now, to be clear, this does not mean that concussions are the most common injury in MA, only that they are more commonly reported in MA than in other states. The most common injury in nearly every state was actually open wounds or bruising. Whatever the injury, consulting with a Boston injury lawyer can be instrumental in helping you obtain the compensation you deserve.

Amino studied about 244 million health insurance claims filed from 2012 to 2016. If nothing else, the results were interesting. New York reports more fist fight-related injuries than other states and residents of Missouri suffer more animal bites than residents of other states. So what’s the deal with MA’s high rate of concussions? Interestingly enough, many conditions were seen with abnormal frequency in multiple states, but MA was the only state with a higher-than-average rate of concussion diagnoses. So, it must be more than a coincidence, right?

Could Increased Awareness be the Reason?

A 2016 Blue Cross Blue Shield report may shed some light on these results. According to the report, MA diagnoses more youth concussions than any other state. In states with strong concussion education campaigns (such as MA), patients may be more likely to seek medical attention immediately after a head injury. Early treatment is extremely important when it comes to concussions. However, seeking medical attention for head injuries more often than other states may also raise the rate of concussion diagnoses. Basically, we may not get more concussions, we may just diagnose more concussions. The strong medical and health community in MA is likely at least partially responsible for our high rate of reported concussions. But that’s actually a good thing.

Beyond the medical community, other contributing factors could be regulations imposed by the state (to seek medical attention or test for concussions, for example), higher participation in sports than some other states, and higher rates of physical activity than many other states. If you have suffered a concussion due to another’s negligence, it is in your best interest to consult with a Boston injury lawyer as soon as possible.

Warning Signs and Symptoms of a Concussion

What seemed like a bit of bad news may actually be quite positive. Stricter regulations, strong healthcare, and a physically-active community all contributed to the Amino study’s findings. That being said, it’s still a good idea to be aware of the risk for concussions and to watch out for warning signs and symptoms following a car accident, any type of head trauma, or if you engage in high-impact sports. Symptoms of a concussion include:

  • Thinking and remembering symptoms: Inability to think clearly or concentrate, a general feeling of “slowness”, difficulty remembering new information.
  • Physical symptoms: Nausea and vomiting, headache, blurry vision, problems with balance, a feeling of dizziness, sensitivity to noise or light, fatigue.
  • Emotional or mood symptoms: Feeling sad, nervous or anxious, becoming easily upset, generally feeling more emotional than usual.
  • Sleep symptoms: Sleeping more or less than usual, difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep.

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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 1.4 million people in the U.S. suffer some type of brain injury annually. Brain injuries can range from mild concussions to severe brain damage. If your brain injury was caused by another’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages.

Most Common Causes of Brain Injuries

Any type of trauma to the head, or sudden, violent “jostling” of the body, can result in injury to the brain. However, the causes below account for the majority of reported brain injuries annually.

  • Slip and fall accidents: Falling accounts for about 40 percent of all brain injuries in the US. The very young and the very old are most at risk. In children between the ages of 0 and 14, more than half of brain injuries are a result of falls. More than 80 percent of these types of injuries in the elderly are fall-related. A skilled Boston slip and fall attorney can help you determine whether to file a lawsuit for your injuries.
  • Blunt trauma: About 15 percent of all brain injuries in the US are caused by unintentional blunt trauma to the head. Blunt trauma usually occurs when the victim is hit by an object. For example, if a child “sneaks up” on mom or dad while they are golfing and gets hit in the head with a golf club, the child could suffer blunt trauma, and thus a brain injury. Nearly one-quarter of all brain injuries in children are caused by blunt trauma.
  • Motor vehicle accidents: Car crashes are the third leading cause of brain injuries, accounting for about 14 percent annually. However, they are the second leading cause of brain injury-related fatalities, at about 26 percent. Brain injuries can occur even without blunt trauma to the head. For example, if a car accident causes the body to jostle back and forth violently, the brain could move within the skull, resulting in brain damage.

Types of Brain Injuries

An individual’s prognosis following a brain injury is largely dependent on the type and severity of the injury. A mild concussion, for example, will likely heal well on its own without long-term side effects. But the most serious types of brain injuries can result in cognitive and physical impairments, and even death.

  • Concussion: When sudden movement or impact results in injury to the brain, the victim may experience a concussion. This is the most common type of brain injury and can be caused by direct trauma to the head or through violent shaking or force. Car crash-related whiplash is a common cause of concussions, as are sports injuries. A brief loss of consciousness may or may not occur, and concussions can range from mild to severe.
  • Contusion: This type of brain injury is characterized by bleeding on the brain, and is generally caused by blunt trauma to the head. Some contusions may need to be removed through a surgical procedure.
  • Coup-Contrecoup: These injuries occur when the brain suffers damage at the site of impact as well as on the opposite side. If blunt force to the head causes an injury at the site of the impact, but is forceful enough to slam the brain into the opposite side of the skull as well, the victim may suffer a coup-contrecoup injury.

All of the brain injuries above can be mild or serious, even fatal. If you are concerned that you may have experienced a brain injury, seek immediate medical attention. If your injury was the result of another’s negligence, you may wish to consult with a Boston brain injury attorney to determine whether you have a successful lawsuit on your hands. Although it’s always best to file a lawsuit as close to the injury incident as possible, even an older injury may be worth looking into. Continue reading

A traumatic brain injury is defined as any brain injury that results in some form of temporary dysfunction of brain cells. More severely traumatic brain injuries can result in the total loss of function in brain cells, which can lead to permanent, devastating injuries such as paralysis, vegetative states, and death.  Traumatic brain injuries can happen to anybody, anywhere and at any time. All that is required to suffer a traumatic brain injury is to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and suffer a significant blow to the head. Head trauma can occur when something physically hits the head – like from a thrown object or as the result of a fall – but it can also occur as the result of “whiplash,” when the head is snapped rapidly due to a strong collision and resulting force; most commonly from a vehicular accident or a work related accident.

There are many symptoms that a traumatic brain injury has occurred. If you were in any accident in Massachusetts involving a blow to the head, you should always see a doctor immediately to assess the seriousness of the incident. Symptoms of a severe traumatic brain injury will usually be apparently evident, such as an extended loss of consciousness, clear fluid leaking from the nose or eyes, and profound mental difficulties.

Some common symptoms of a more mild traumatic brain injury include:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Being confused, dazed or “foggy” for an extended period of time without losing consciousness
  • Vomiting or feeling nauseous
  • Severe or constant headaches
  • Difficulty sleeping or sleeping abnormally long
  • Constant or severe dizziness or regular spells of dizziness
  • Blurred vision, a ringing in the ears, odd tastes in the mouth or sudden changes in the ability to smell
  • Light and sound sensitivity
  • Wild and random mood swings
  • Difficulty concentrating or remembering
  • Sudden depression or anxiety

As stated before, traumatic brain injuries can really happen to anybody. However, the most common causes are falls, vehicular accidents, sports injuries, violent assaults, and explosions. Employees working in transportation, construction, and most industrial fields are at the highest risks for experiencing a traumatic brain injury while on the job.

Traumatic brain injuries can cause life-altering and life-threatening complications, depending on the severity of the injury, the location of the injury, the age of the victim, and the quality and timeliness of medical care received after the injury. Traumatic brain injuries can cause some of the most horrifying conditions known to happen, including comas, “locked-in syndrome,” vegetative states, and total brain death. Continue reading

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) can vary in type and severity, and symptoms may not be immediately apparent. A serious TBI can be life-altering, impacting your personality, speech, and ability to complete even the simplest tasks. High-impact sports, motor vehicle accidents, and falls from high places are all common causes of TBIs. If you’ve been injured and suspect that you may be suffering from a TBI, contact your physician immediately.

Delayed Symptoms

Unfortunately, it can take weeks, even months, for TBI symptoms to appear. In some cases, the injuries don’t become obvious until the swelling around the brain begins to subside. If you’ve experienced any type of trauma to the head, it’s crucial to seek medical attention immediately. Typically, physicians will monitor head trauma patients for symptoms of TBI for several weeks. If you’ve suffered from a TBI due to another’s negligence, Contact a Boston Personal Injury Lawyer Today.

Beware of Quick Settlements

Insurance companies often encourage quick settlements in cases involving head trauma because symptoms haven’t yet appeared. It is in their best interest to settle as quickly as possible; if symptoms arise after a settlement, the insurance company may be ‘off the hook’ entirely. This is why it is so important to have a skilled personal injury attorney at your side if you even suspect a TBI. If you’ve been injured, the last thing you want to do is deal with an unscrupulous insurance company.

Common Signs and Symptoms of TBIs

When signs of TBI do begin to appear, they can vary in type and severity. Symptoms are based on many factors, including the location and extent of the injury to the brain. The following side effects are common in TBI cases:

  • Loss of short term memory
  • Loss of long term memory
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Difficulty controlling emotions
  • Becoming easily angry or agitated
  • Loss of ability to use certain limbs
  • Vision loss
  • Hearing loss
  • Loss of sense of smell
  • Loss of bladder and bowel control
  • Tremors or shaking

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