Articles Posted in Traumatic Brain Injury

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One of the most interesting cases our law firm has ever handled, was a jail house assault matter in Sarnia Ontario.

The Sarnia Jail has been know for its overcrowding issues and violence. When you have too many people under one roof, things are going to get rowdy. When you have too many people under the same roof with poor supervision and deteriorating conditions, things are going to get bad QUICKLY. Nevermind the fact that none of those people in the jail want to be there in the first place.

And things sure did get bad for a client of ours. He was beaten repeatedly with a hunk of cement from a deteriorating jail house wall which was stuffed in to a pillow case to create a sling like weapon. The result was a traumatic brain injury, multiple orthopaedic injuries, along with permanent disfigurement to his fingers and ears. It wasn’t a pretty site.

Where were the guards in all of the commotion? How diid the guards not stop the beating, or prevent it from happening in the first place? Why didn’t the guards see an inmate with a hunk of cement wrapped in to a pillow case to begin with? How on earth does such a violent assaut take place on government premises?

All of these questions and more were asked by the lawyers trying this case.
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Catastrophic Injury claims, by their very nature, are the most serious car accident claims which a personal injury lawyer will face during their legal career.

The term “catastrophic” has a special meaning at law for car accident claims in Ontario. At law, we were refer to “castastrophic” as a term of art. This means that it has a special legal significance, and means something very specific which is defined in the Insurance Act.

If you meet the definition of “catastrophic“, you will be eligible for a greater amount of accident benefits. In particular,, you will be eligible for:

$1,000,000 in medical and rehabilitative benefits, instead of just $50,000 or $3,500 under the Minor Injury Guideline
Up to $1,000,000 in attendant care benefits, instead of just $36,000 for non-catastrophic car accidents
Up to $100/week in housekeeping and home maintenance, instead of ZERO for non-catastrophic claims
Up tp $250/week for a caregiver claim, plus $50 for each dependant, instead of ZERO for non-catastrophic injuries
These differences are signficant, and dramatically increase the amount of value to any car accident claim. But, how do one’s injuries meet the definition of “catastrophic” in the first place? Read on and I’ll fill you in.
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In around August 2013, the personal injury bar, along with the sports world was shocked that the NFL and its former players had reached a $765 million dollar settlement in a concussions class action law suit brought against the league.

The former players argued that the NFL knew or ought to have known of the dangers of concussion and hid these dangers from their players; often not providing them proper treatment and expecting them to play through the brain injury. The dangerous playing conditions and expectations put on these players led to significant long term cognitive and psychological damages. Just do a Google search for Junior Seau or Jovan Belcher and you’ll see what I mean.

Seems like a very plausible argument on the part of the players. But, then again, I’m a plaintiff personal injury lawyer so I tend to side on the part of the little guy accident victim.
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Over 4,500 former NFL players suffer from Alzheimer’s disease or depression. 2 high profile suicides of NFL players in the past 4 years (Jovan Belcher & Junior Seau). Was it the sport they loved? Was it that the sport they loved attracted volatile personalities. Nobody can be certain.

But, what we do know is that the players launched a multi billion dollar class action lawsuit against the NFL for their brain injuries acquired while playing the game they loved or continue to love.

The argument: that the league knew or ought to have known of the frequency and propensity of brain injury while practicing or playing and did nothing about it.The league did nothing to protect its players, and put them in dangerous situations. Had the league done a better job protecting the safety of its players, then the likelihood of those players sustaining a brain injury or head trauma would be far less.
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There was a great piece on 60 Minutes last night featuring brain injured American soldiers returning from wars in the Middle East with problems such as depression, mood disorders, anxiety, memory loss, word finding difficulties, blurred vision, nausea etc. These were initially diagnosed as concussions, or simply not diagnosed at all. Soliders were called malingerers, liars and fakers! Much like insurance companies and their lawyers call accident victims. Eventually, doctors, through using scans more sophisticated then MRIs found that these soldiers were experiencing traumatic brain injury. The piece is called, “The Invisible Injury” and refers to traumatic and mild brain injury. My favourite part of the piece is when a soldier said that he’d rather lose a limb then experience a brain injury. Watch this piece and you will understand why, and understand why brain injury is so serious. They just don’t happen in battles. They can occur in slip and falls, car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bike accidents and a variety of other ways which we here at Goldfinger Personal Injury Law see every day. I like it when the mainstream media shines some light on brain injury. Thanks to the NFL, NHL, and now injured soldiers, the severity of brain injury is getting some much needed attention.

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There’s no higher profile sport/personal injury case around right now then the thousands of NFL players who have brought a class action law suit against the league for failing to protect them against concussion/brain injury.

The case opened yesterday in Philadelphia, and right from the outset the league made an attempt to dismiss the class action. U.S. District Court Judge Anita Brody delayed her ruling on the league’s motion to dismiss the case, and will be hearing argument for weeks to come from both sides.

The players are accusing the league of “deliberately and fraudulently” hiding the risks associated with concussion and brain injury from them while they were playing. Essentially, the players argue that the league knew, or ought to have known of the danger of brain injury and repeated knocks to the head, but they didn’t share these dangers with their players and required that they work/play in a dangerous environment without proper safeguards in place. The working conditions for the players were dangerous, and the league did little about it to protect their safety. If the players didn’t do what they coaches said and sacrificed their brains and livelihood, they’d be off the team and out of a job.
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Brain injury following a car accident is devastating, and the injury remains a mystery for many. But slowly, the best neurologists and neuroscientists from around the world (including right here in Canada, specifically Toronto and London) are unlocking the mystery of the brain. Better treatment options are becoming available every day. I saw an example first hand on TV last week!

Did any of you catch 60 Minutes last week on CBS? If you did, you might have seen a great story by Scott Pelley where researchers for the American Military have tapped in to allowing amputees to use brain waves and brain waves alone to move, control and operate mechanical limbs (arms, hands, legs etc.). The feature was simply AMAZING. Here’s the clip:

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Yes. End of post….

Alright, you want some more legal info. Well here ya go.

Around Halloween, I get the odd call from parents telling me that their children were out trick or treating with them, and got a bit too much sugar in their system; and didn’t look both ways before crossing the street. And Blam. A car accident involving a minor happens. We get a lot of these calls from Toronto, because Toronto’s streets tend to be more congested than other areas of Ontario. But that’s not to say that these sort of pedestrian car accidents don’t happen elsewhere in Ontario (London, Peterborough, Cobourg, Oshawa, Belleville)
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I’m sad to report that Goldfinger Personal Injury Law has a file cabinet full of drunk driver cases. That means that despite all of the public service announcements, press releases, and sad stories you see on the 6 o’clock news, people still aren’t getting the message. Drinking and driving kills. Drunk driving accidents have resulted in some of the most serious and catastrophic accidents our law firm has seen. The stories of the accident victims and their families from these car accidents is horrific, and something nobody should have to live through or experience.

One of the most horrific drunk driving accidents Toronto has even seen took place this past month.
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Goldfinger Personal Injury Law is celebrating Brain Injury Awarness Month by donating 100 bike helmets to children in need. Donations have been made to communities in Toronto, London and Peterbourough. Bike accidents, and cyclists wearing helmets are the number 1 preventer of head and brain injury. There has been a lot of discussion as of late in news about what laws and legistlation either need, or don’t need to be enacted in order to prevent brain injury.
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