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Brain Injury: Military Studies and Legal Recovery

A brain injury can easily happen to anyone for any number of reasons. Adventurers, athletes, accident victims, babies during birth, kids at play, and military veterans, are all at risk. But treating head trauma is very difficult, and the best bet is to prevent it. Now Defense Department scientists are focusing on pinpointing how brain cells change after experiencing explosions to learn how to improve protective equipment. Let’s consider their experiments and legal recovery for brain injury. The Experiments Military researchers say that mild traumatic brain injuries are on the rise among veterans. There is so far no relief for these injuries, no treatment. So the scientists are trying to prevent them altogether by making better protective equipment. To do this, they must first understand what happens to a brain that experiences trauma, even mildly, over time. To figure out how the brain responds to trauma physically, the Defense Department scientists recreate the effects of explosions on the brain and measure how cell structure changes accordingly. The hope is to then sort out how to prevent these changes by making equipment that appropriately protects vulnerable areas. “For mild traumatic brain injury there is currently no treatment available, so we need to assess the mechanism of injury to find out how we can mitigate it,” said Thuvan Piehler, a research chemist with the Army Research Laboratory’s Explosive Technology Branch. Her team measures brain damage thresholds for the development of protective equipment. The civilian public often benefits from this type of military experiment. The Internet, for example, was a defense project before it was our window on the world. So it stands to reason that we’ll see the fruits of these experiments in civilian equipment soon enough. Brain Injury Lawsuits The most famous brain injury lawsuit is no doubt that of National Football League players who suffered from concussions and sued the league. But there are many ways to suffer from a brain injury and many such cases. Anyone who suffers head trauma in an accident, at the hands of a doctor, or otherwise due to someone’s negligence, could sue to recover damages. Suing is not just about allocating blame. It allows people who have incurred medical expenses and lost wages, and experienced pain and suffering to get much-needed compensation for current and future costs. Talk to a Lawyer If you have been injured due to someone else’s negligence, talk to a lawyer. Tell your story. Many personal injury attorneys consult for free or a minimal fee and will be happy to hear to assess your case. Related Resources: Have an injury claim? Get your claim reviewed for free. (Consumer Injury) Brain Injury Symptoms and Diagnosis (FindLaw’s Learn About the Law) Types of Brain Injury (FindLaw’s Learn About the Law) Brain Injury Rehabilitation Resources (FindLaw’s Learn About the Law)
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7 Steps to Take Immediately After a Bike Accident

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, bicyclists face a higher risk of crash-related injury and deaths than occupants of motor vehicles. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that over 700 bicyclists were killed in crashes with cars in 2013. With the risk of accidents so high, you can expect to get into an accident at least once during your bicycling career. Here are seven steps to take immediately after a bicycling accident: 1. Stay at the Scene This is the number one rule. Do not leave the scene of the accident. You can be guilty of a hit and run even if you’re on a bicycle. 2. Check for Injuries Take a moment to evaluate yourself. Common injuries after a bike accident include lacerations, broken bones, whiplash, or concussion. Often, you’ll be hyped on adrenaline so you may not feel the injury right away. See a doctor as soon as possible, even if you feel fine right after the accident. If you do get medical treatments, keep good documentation of all your medical treatments and expenses for your insurance claim later on. 3. Call the Police If there is significant damage, bodily injury, or death, be sure to call the police. The Police will investigate the accident and ask you questions. Answer those questions but be careful to not admit any fault. 4. Exchange Information Always exchange insurance information with the other party, even if you do not notice any damage or feel any pain right after the accident. You may develop symptoms later on after the adrenaline wears off, and you want to be able to make an insurance claim for it. Also, don’t freak out about not having bicycling insurance. It’s true that your car insurance will not cover bicycling accidents. However, did you know that your homeowners or renters insurance will pay for damages caused by sporting activities, such as bicycling? Additionally, your personal injury protection insurance will cover your medical bills. 5. Take Pictures Once you finished exchanging information, document the accident. Take pictures of your bike, the car, your injuries, and the immediate surroundings of the accident. If you happened to be wearing a Go Pro camera, make sure any video of the accident is saved and backed up. If there are witnesses, ask for their contact information. After you get home, take a moment to write down as much as you can remember about the accident. Insurance claims can take a long time, and memory can get fuzzy with time. 6. Inform Your Insurance Company Again, just because your car insurance won’t cover the damages in a bike accident, does not mean you are without insurance protection. If you have homeowners, renters, or personal injury protection insurance, notify your insurance company of the accident. Give your insurance all the information you’ve collected 7. Call an Attorney If you are having trouble getting compensation for your injury from your insurance or the other party’s insurance company, consult with an experienced personal injury attorney for help. Related Resources: Injured in a car accident? Get your claim reviewed by an attorney for free. (Consumer Injury) Top 10 States for Bicyclist Fatalities Revealed (FindLaw’s Injured) In Car v. Bike Crashes, Why Are Charges So Rare? ...
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Coaches Sued Over Teen’s Hazing, Brain Injury

A high school football player's parents are suing over their teenager's brain injuries, blaming his coaches for allegedly sanctioning a dangerous hazing ritual. Head football coach Britton Devier and assistant coach Todd Bringman of Woodmore High School in Elmore, Ohio, are named in a suit brought by the parents of a 16-year-old student, The Associated Press reports. As a result of the alleged hazing, the teenager now suffers learning and memory problems, the lawsuit states. Can some football practice horseplay be the source of a federal lawsuit? Hazing Allegedly Led to Concussion The teen's parents filed their lawsuit in federal court in Toledo on Monday, asserting the coaches and the Woodmore school district subjected the boy to a dangerous hazing ritual. According to the complaint, the teen -- referred to as "D.E." in the suit, as names of minors are typically not revealed -- was required to allow other boys to hit him "as hard as they could" without attempting to defend himself. During this incident, D.E. allegedly struck the back of his head on the ground, began vomiting, and later collapsed. After his collapse, D.E. was helped to the locker room but no ambulance was called. It wasn't until D.E. returned home that his parents took him to a local hospital, the lawsuit states. Just like a suit for police misconduct, D.E.'s parents are suing the school and the coaches for excessive force, claiming that this practice ritual required their son to take deliberate injury in violation of his rights. The suit essentially claims that the coaches were acting under the government's authority (because Woodmore is a public school) when ordering the intentional striking of D.E., and that D.E. is entitled to recover for his injuries. Potential Liability for Hazing D.E.'s case is similar to a 2009 case involving a coach who required a player to be a live tackling dummy for his team. In these cases, the typical arguments about assuming the risk of injury from football go out the window. Those assumed risks include the normal bruises and injuries that come from standard play and practice -- not bizarre hazing rituals. Participating or recklessly allowing hazing in Ohio is a crime, but according to the AP, the two coaches were not indicted for their actions in criminal court. Despite the lack of criminal convictions, a judge or jury may still find that the coaches were liable for D.E.'s hazing injuries. Neither the coaches nor the school district's superintendent could be reached for comment by the AP. Follow FindLaw for Consumers on Facebook and Twitter (@FindLawConsumer). Related Resources: Woodmore Schools, football coaches sued after alleged hazing that led to player's brain injury (Toledo's WNWO-TV) NY Boy, 15, Dies at HS Football Practice (FindLaw's Injured) Max Gilpin School Football Death Suit Settles (FindLaw's Injured) Browse Brain Injury Lawyers by Location (FindLaw)
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