Articles Posted in Skull Fracture

Published on:

Defendant American Real Estate Holdings, LP (American), an out-of-possession owner, leased the building where plaintiff’s accident occurred to defendant Levitz Furniture Corporation of Queens (Levitz). The building consisted of a furniture showroom, an office and warehouse space. Prior to plaintiff’s accident, Levitz had sold large furniture shelving rack unit, as well as other similar units, to defendant and third-party plaintiff International Storage Systems, Inc. (International). International was in the business of buying, dismantling, selling and then reinstalling large furniture rack systems. Pursuant to an oral agreement, which is reflected in various invoices and purchase orders, International then hired plaintiff’s employer, third-party and second-third party defendant Heatley Installations (Heatley), to disassemble the furniture rack system and transport it to another location.

A Lawyer said that, plaintiff testified that, just prior to his accident he was in the process of disassembling the free-standing furniture rack system while standing on a particle-board deck located on the third level of the rack. As plaintiff was removing beams from the level above, and dropping them onto the deck, the deck broke, causing him to fall and sustain brain injuries.

At the time of his accident, the Staten Island plaintiff was not utilizing an available order selector provided for use in retrieving furniture at higher levels. An order selector is a piece of equipment resembling a forklift, which has a platform upon which a worker can stand. In addition, although he was wearing the safety belt provided to him by his employer, plaintiff had not properly tethered to the order selector, despite having been directed to do so less than one hour before his accident.

Plaintiff then filed an action to recover damages against the defendants, for personal injuries he sustained.

Defendants American and Levitz move, for summary judgment dismissing plaintiff complaint as against them and granting indemnity as against defendant and third-party plaintiff International and third-party defendant and second-third party defendant Heatley.
Plaintiff cross-moves, for an order (1) granting summary judgment in his favor on his Labor Law § 240 (1) claim as against defendants American, Levitz and International; (2) granting a Special Trial Preference in his favor; and (3) directing that plaintiff be entitled to a lower burden of proof due to his cognitive injuries.

Defendant and third-party plaintiff International moves, pursuant to CPLR 3212, for summary judgment dismissing plaintiff’s complaint, as well as all cross claims against it.

Third-party defendant and second-third party defendant Heatley also moves, for summary judgment dismissing the third-party and second third-party actions against it in accordance with Section 23 of the Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Law which bars all third-party actions against the employer in common law; or, in the alternative, in the absence of a finding of “grave injury,” in accordance with Section 11 of the New York Workers’ Compensation Law. Heatley also moves for summary judgment on the ground that plaintiff’s actions were the sole proximate cause of his injuries.

The issue in this case is whether plaintiff is entitled to summary judgment to recover damages from the defendants, for personal injuries he sustained.

The Court in resolving the motion said that, the proponent of a summary judgment motion must make a prima facie showing of entitlement to judgment as a matter of law, tendering sufficient evidence to eliminate any material issues of fact from the case. The burden then shifts to the motion’s opponent to present evidentiary facts in admissible form sufficient to raise a genuine, triable issue of fact.

Labor Law § 240 (1), also known as the Scaffold Law, provides, in relevant part:
All contractors and owners and their agents in the erection, demolition, repairing, altering, painting … shall furnish or erect, or cause to be furnished or erected for the performance of such labor, scaffolding, hoists … and other devices which shall be so constructed, placed and operated as to give proper protection to a person so employed.

Labor Law § 240 (1) was designed to prevent those types of accidents in which the scaffold or other protective device proved inadequate to shield the injured worker from harm directly flowing from the application of the force of gravity to an object or person. To prevail on a section 240 (1) claim, the plaintiff must show that the statute was violated and that this violation was a proximate cause of the plaintiff’s injuries.

Pursuant to a stipulation of discontinuance, plaintiff discontinued his claims as against defendant Levitz. As such, Levitz’s motion to dismiss plaintiff’s claims as against it is denied as moot.

Initially, it should be noted that the furniture rack from which plaintiff fell was a “structure” within the meaning of the Labor Law, as a structure is viewed as `any production or piece of work artificially built up or composed of parts joined together in some definite manner’. In addition, since the furniture rack is to be considered a “structure” for Labor Law purposes, and because plaintiff was directed to dismantle it, plaintiff was engaged in demolition work covered by the Labor Law. Further, testimony in the record indicates that the furniture rack was being used by plaintiff, as well as other workers, as the functional equivalent of a scaffold at the time of plaintiff’s accident.

American moves to dismiss plaintiff’s claims against it on the ground that it was an out-of-possession owner who lacked notice or knowledge of the work being performed at the site.
The Court said that, it is well settled that, to recover under Labor Law §§ 200, 240 and 241 as a member of the special class for whose protection these provisions were adopted, a plaintiff must establish two criteria: (1) that he was permitted or suffered to perform work on a structure and, (2) that he was hired by the owner, the general contractor or an agent of the owner or general contractor
In order for the Labor Law to be applied to an out-of-possession owner, there must be a connection between the defendant and the worker, whether by a lease agreement or grant of an easement, or other property interest.

In the case at bar, a review of the record reveals no proof that defendant American contracted for the work at issue or that it had any notice whatsoever that plaintiff was on its premises until after the accident. In fact, under a triple net lease between American and Levitz, Levitz was responsible for all structural and non-structural repairs, maintenance and costs. American did not employ anyone to supervise any work on the property. As no nexus has been shown to have existed between American and plaintiff in this case, American cannot be charged with the duty of providing the safe working conditions contemplated by Labor Law §§ 240 (1) and 241 (6). Thus, American is entitled to summary judgment dismissing plaintiffs section 240 (1) and 241 (6) claims as against it.

However, as evidence in the record indicates that defendant International not only owned the furniture racks at issue at the time of plaintiffs accident, but that it also contracted with third-party defendant Heatley for their disassembly and removal, International is to be considered an owner of the structure within the meaning of the Labor Law.

Defendant International asserts that plaintiffs Labor Law § 240 (1) claim must be dismissed as against it, as plaintiff’s own negligent actions in not wearing his safety harness, despite being told by his employer that he had to be tied off in order to work, as the sole proximate cause of his head injuries. Where plaintiffs own actions are the sole proximate cause of the accident, there can be no liability under Labor Law § 240 (1).

Here, the Court said that, even if plaintiff was negligent for his failure to properly tether his safety harness, utilize the order picker, or for dropping beams onto the decking, the testimony indicates that such alleged failures were not the sole proximate cause of his head injuries in light of the fact that the particle board shelving that plaintiff was utilizing as a scaffold collapsed. Where the owner or contractor fails to provide adequate safety devices to protect workers from elevation-related injuries and that failure is a cause of plaintiff’s injury, the negligence, if any, of the injured worker is of no consequence. In other words, even if the plaintiff was partially at fault, a worker’s contributory negligence is not a defense to a Labor Law § 240 (1) claim. Neither comparative fault nor assumption of the risk is a defense to a Labor Law § 240 (1) cause of action. Thus, defendant International is not entitled to summary judgment dismissing plaintiff’s Labor Law § 240 (1) claim against it, however plaintiff is entitled to summary judgment on the issue of liability under Labor Law § 240 (1) as against defendant International.

With regard to the claim for common-law indemnification, defendants American and Levitz move for summary judgment in their favor on their cross claims for common-law indemnification as against International and Heatley. In addition, Heatley moves for summary judgment dismissing International’s third-party action for indemnification on the ground that, under Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Law § 23, all third-party actions against the employer in common law are barred.

The Court in resolving the claim of the defendants said that, to establish a claim for common-law indemnification, the one seeking indemnity must prove not only that it was not guilty of any negligence beyond the statutory liability but must also prove that the proposed indemnitor was guilty of some negligence that contributed to the causation of the accident. In the absence of any negligence, a claim for common-law indemnity may be established upon a showing that the proposed indemnitor had the authority to direct, supervise, and control the work giving rise to the injury.

Here, defendants American and Levitz have not been shown to be guilty of any negligence. In addition, although vicariously liable for plaintiff’s brain injuries under Labor Law § 240 (1), such liability is not tantamount to negligence. Moreover, defendant International did not exercise a degree of control over plaintiffs work so as to predicate liability based on common-law negligence. In fact, a review of the record indicates that plaintiff’s work was supervised solely by his employer, Heatley.

The Court held that, general supervisory authority is insufficient to constitute supervisory control; it must be demonstrated that the contractor controlled the manner in which the plaintiff performed his or her work, i.e., how the injury-producing work was performed.
Thus, defendants American and Levitz are not entitled to summary judgment in their favor on their cross claim for common-law indemnification as against defendant and third-party plaintiff International. In addition, International is entitled to summary judgment dismissing American and Levitz’s cross claim for indemnification against it.

Moving forward to plaintiff’s cross-motion for lesser burden of proof, the Court said that, a plaintiff who suffers amnesia as a result of a defendant’s acts is not held to as high a degree of proof in establishing his right to recover for head injury as a plaintiff who can describe the events. “It is only where the memory loss has effectively prevented a plaintiff from describing the occurrence that invocation of the rule of Schechter v. Klanfer is warranted”.
In the case of Schechter v. Klanfer (supra), wherein the plaintiff, who was injured while operating a motorboat, was unable to recall the events of his accident, the Court noted:
The danger is, of course, that amnesia is easily feigned. The dangers may be ameliorated. Plaintiff has the burden of proof on the issue of amnesia as on other issues. A jury should be instructed that before the lesser burden of persuasion is applied, because of the danger of shamming, they must be satisfied that the evidence of amnesia is clear and convincing, supported by the objective nature and extent of any other physical injuries sustained, and that the amnesia was clearly a result of the accident.

In the absence of expert evidence establishing a loss of memory and its causal relationship to defendant’s fault, the jury may not consider the question or apply a lesser degree of proof in evaluating plaintiff’s claim. On this record, it is clear that plaintiff, although he suffers from a memory defect caused by his accident, is not entitled to application of this rule. When plaintiff was asked if, other than taking medication, there was any reason that he was not able to testify in his deposition, plaintiff replied in the negative. Thus, as in this case, where the parties are on equal footing insofar as accessibility to the facts there is no need to afford preferential treatment.

The Court in resolving plaintiff’s cross-motion for trial preference, stated CPLR 3403 (a) (3) allows for a trial preference in an action in which the interests of justice will be served by an early trial. Under the circumstances of this case, and in light of evidence of plaintiff’s indigency, plaintiff’s application for a trial preference is granted in the interests of justice. Plaintiff testified that he currently resides in a homeless shelter in Chicago, which provides food to him. Plaintiff, who has not worked since his accident, also testified that he does not know if he can care for himself. Plaintiff also stated that he receives no workers’ compensation and does not have a bank account.

In addition, in his medical report, Dr. Schuster concurs that, as a result of plaintiff’s brain injury, plaintiff is indigent and existing in a city shelter. Kim Allen, the manager of the facility where plaintiff currently resides, stated that at the time that plaintiff was referred to the facility, plaintiff had been wandering the streets in Chicago for several days. She also maintained that, other than cashing his Social Security Disability checks, plaintiff does not manage his own finances. Thus, plaintiff is entitled to trial preference in this action.
Hence, in view of the foregoing, the Court ordered that the part of American’s motion, for summary judgment dismissing plaintiff’s complaint against it is granted; and the complaint is severed and dismissed as to this defendant.; and it is further ordered that defendant Levitz motion, for summary judgment dismissing plaintiff’s complaint against it is denied as moot; and it is further ordered defendant and third-party plaintiff International’s motion, for summary judgment dismissing plaintiff’s Labor Law §§ 240 (1) and 241 (6) claims predicated on violations of Industrial Code 12 NYCRR §§ 23-1.11 (a), 23-1.22 (c) (1) and 23-5.1 (c) (1), (f) and (g) as against it are denied; and it is further ordered that the parts of International’s motion, pursuant to CPLR 3212, for summary judgment dismissing plaintiff’s common-law negligence and Labor Law § 200 claims, as well as American and Levitz’s cross claims for indemnification as against it, are granted; and it is further the parts of plaintiff’s cross motion, for summary judgment in his favor on his Labor Law § 240 (1) claim as against defendants American and Levitz and directing that plaintiff be entitled to a lower burden of proof due to his cognitive injuries are denied; and it is further ordered that plaintiff’s cross motion, for summary judgment in his favor on his Labor Law § 240 (1) claim as against International, and granting a Special Trial Preference in his favor are granted.
Continue reading

Published on:

A doctor shared with his colleagues how U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords sustained brain injurieswhen she was shot by an Arizona resident during her speech in front of a local grocery store.

Gabby Giffords, as she is affectionately known, almost died during the attack. Her life was saved by her aide, who put pressure on the wound as she was taken away by the ambulance.
However, according to the hospital and the doctors, it looked like her condition would improve because of the heroic action of her volunteer aide. There were several other people shot in the incident, but Gabby Giffords received the worse injury.

The assailant used a gun to shoot Democratic Representative Gabriel Giffords and he was quickly subdued by several bystanders before he could reload the gun.

A doctor told a source that, “Representative Giffords was lucky and her progress will depend on the support that she receives from family and friends, but more importantly, she will need a good medical team.”

According to the Police Sheriff, at a news conference later that day, the shooter appeared to be unstable mentally. The Sheriff was quick to blame political oratory as the reason for the shooter’s action. Ironically, Representative Giffords was also concerned about the political undertone of many politicians and expressed her concern openly.

The incident shook up the community of Tucson, Arizona and many people came out to lend their support and sympathy to what happened. It would also shake places like Queens and Staten Island.
Continue reading

Published on:

The infant plaintiff, then a sixth grader at Intermediate School 292 in Brooklyn (IS 292), was seriously injured when he fell down a flight of stairs on his way to lunch. Because of the resultant traumatic brain injury, plaintiff was unable to remember what caused him to trip and fell down. However, it was plaintiff’s theory at the trial of this action, that he was pushed down the stairs by a group of older students. Plaintiff further presented testimony that it was the written policy of IS 292 to have a teacher escort the sixth graders down to lunch from their second floor classrooms. Plaintiff claims that his teacher’s negligent failure to do so proximately caused his injury.

Plaintiff testified that, he had been in math class on the second floor right before lunch and that the teacher for the class was Mrs. Thomas. According to plaintiff, Mrs. Thomas never escorted her class to the lunchroom and that day was no exception. Plaintiff stated that at the sound of the bell, he and his friend Nathaniel headed to one stairwell, while the rest of the class went to the stairwell at the other side of the hall. The Manhattan Plaintiff testified that he suddenly heard footsteps which sounded like they were coming from a herd of buffalo and the next thing he remembered was waking up in the school nurse’s office with a tissue on his forehead and blood stains on his shirt. Plaintiff was taken by ambulance to Brookdale Hospital where he spent time in the Intensive Care Unit.

A Lawyer said that, at trial, plaintiff detailed the “excruciating” pain he suffered immediately following his accident and for the six days he spent in the hospital. Plaintiff described this pain as being in his head, neck, and lower back. Additionally, his arms and leg were swollen and sore and he was in a neck brace. After his release from the hospital, plaintiff received outpatient physical and occupational therapy there. The purpose of the physical therapy was to improve his balance and mobility skills and the occupational therapists sought to improve plaintiff’s hand/eye coordination and to build strength in his arms. Plaintiff stopped attending therapy but had to use a cane for balance for about three years.

Plaintiff testified that up to about a year before the trial he would get very bad headaches every week or two and these headaches would last between two and three days. When he had a headache, all he wanted to do was sleep because it hurt to be around noise and light. At trial, plaintiff reported that he continues to take medication to prevent the return of these attacks. Lastly, plaintiff testified that his head injury has affected his ability to play sports because he is unable to stand for long periods or to jump.

A Lawyer said that, defendants The City of New York and the Board of Education of the City of New York called only one witness to testify. Dr. Marlon Seliger, a neurologist examined plaintiff for about five or ten minutes. In conducting his neurological examination upon plaintiff, the doctor first asked plaintiff questions to determine if he was oriented to person and place. He also asked him questions to assess his cognition, memory, and speech and language ability. He then performed a motor and sensory examination. Dr. Seliger did not find any deficits in plaintiff’s neurological function and concluded that he did not suffer a neurological injury as a result of his trip and fall down the stairs.

The jury found defendants “negligent in the supervision of plaintiff” and further found that that negligence was a substantial factor in causing the injuries sustained by him. The jury awarded plaintiff damages in the aggregate sum of $200,000 for past pain and suffering and $150,000 for future (58 years) pain and suffering. The jury also awarded plaintiff damages of $800,000 for impairment of future earnings during the next 45 years.

Defendants’ moves to set aside the jury verdict rendered in favor of plaintiff and grant judgment in their favor on the ground that they cannot be liable for plaintiff’s brain injuries as a matter of law. Alternatively, defendants seek an order, pursuant to setting aside the jury verdict and ordering a new trial on the ground that the verdict is against the weight of the evidence.

The issue in this case is whether defendant is liable for the brain injuries suffered by the plaintiff.

The Court insofar as deciding in the question of liability of the defendants, said that according to defendants, assuming that plaintiff was pushed down the stairs by the unidentified group of students, that attack was not reasonably foreseeable by the school and, since the unprovoked attack was sudden and spontaneous, any lack of supervision by the plaintiff’s teacher could not have prevented it. Thus, concludes defendants, that lack of supervision was not the proximate cause of plaintiff’s injury. The court rejects defendants’ contention that the verdict is contrary to the law.

The Court held that, it is beyond cavil that schools are under a duty to adequately supervise the students in their charge and they will be held liable for foreseeable injuries proximately related to the absence of adequate supervision. The duty owed derives from the simple fact that a school, in assuming physical custody and control over its students, effectively takes the place of parents and guardians.

In previously denying summary judgment to defendants, this Court, in a decision, found that questions of fact existed “as to whether the school had a written policy for teachers to escort the sixth grader classrooms to the cafeteria; whether it violated that policy and whether such violation was a proximate cause of the injury”. At trial, it was undisputed that the school did have such a written policy. As noted, David Prager, the assistant principal of the school, explained that that policy was put into effect because it was recognized that the sixth graders should not be unsupervised in the hallways and the stairwells since, as the youngest members of the school community, they were at the greatest risk of being injured in those areas. Having defined their duty, the defendants cannot now claim that no such duty existed. In that same vein, it is disingenuous for defendants to claim that such an attack was unforeseeable when their own assistant principal testified that one of the reasons that crowds were kept out of the stairwells by the teachers was because someone could get pushed down the steps.

Nor did defendants present any evidence to dispute plaintiff’s testimony that his teacher violated that duty by staying in the classroom instead of escorting her class to the lunchroom. Finally, the evidence failed to establish as a matter of law that the violation of the defendants’ duty that is, the fact that there was no teacher in the stairwells was not the proximate cause of plaintiff’s head injury or that her presence therein may have prevented the incident.

Thus, the court concludes that defendants have not established their entitlement to judgment as a matter of law, and that the issues of fact were properly left for jury determination. Defendants contend that its determination was against the weight of the evidence presented at trial. Further, it is well established that a jury verdict may not be set aside as against the weight of the evidence unless it plainly appears that the evidence so preponderates in favor of the other side, that such verdict could not have been reached by any fair interpretation of the evidence. In that regard, great deference is accorded to the fact-finding function of the jury, since, having seen and heard the witnesses at trial, it is in the foremost position to assess their credibility.

In the case at bar, as discussed, the evidence supported the jury’s determination that the defendants had a duty to protect plaintiff by escorting him and his classmates down to the lunchroom and that her failure to do so was a violation of that duty. The long Island Court also concludes that the jury’s further determination that that violation was a proximate cause of plaintiff’s head injury was supported by a “valid line of reasoning and permissible inferences” and therefore should not be disturbed.

It is true, as defendants note, that there was no direct evidence as to how plaintiff trip and fell down the stairs. However, the circumstantial evidence at trial supported the conclusion that plaintiff was in fact pushed down the stairs by an older student. In that regard, it is well settled that when relying upon circumstantial evidence to establish all or part of a plaintiff’s prima facie case it is enough that plaintiff shows facts and conditions from which the negligence of the defendant and the causation of the accident by that negligence may be reasonably inferred.

In this case, Mr. Prager testified that he saw a group of students running toward the stairway and bounding into the stairwell. While plaintiff had no memory of his fall, he did remember hearing heavy footsteps approaching. When Mr. Prager opened the stairwell’s door minutes later, the group was no longer there, but he saw plaintiff’s blood on the ground at the bottom of the stairs and plaintiff being helped to the nurse’s office by a security guard.

Faced with this evidence that the group charged through the stairwell where plaintiff had just entered and disappeared after his fall, it was reasonable for the jury to infer that one or more of the members of the group was responsible for plaintiff’s head injury.

Defendants contend, however, that even assuming their duty and their negligence, they cannot be held liable because the evidence established that the attack happened so quickly that, even had a teacher been stationed on the stairwell, it could not have been prevented. Thus, defendants claim that the evidence failed to support the jury’s finding that their lack of supervision was a proximate cause of plaintiff’s injury.

Moreover, the jury could have reasonably concluded that had a teacher been present in the stairway, the student or students would not have pushed plaintiff. After all, the jury may use the “logic of common experience itself, as applied to the circumstances shown by the evidence” in determining whether the defendant’s negligence caused plaintiff’s injury. The conclusion that the students did not want to be identified and would not have committed what could have been charged as a criminal assault in front of a witness is not only supported by common sense, but by the fact that they ran from the scene after plaintiff’s fall. The jury could also conclude that had plaintiff tripped down the stairs through no fault of these students, they would have likely sought to get him help rather than run away.

In view of the foregoing, the Court denied the motion of the defendant which seek to set aside the jury verdict as contrary to law or as against the weight of the evidence; and the motion which seeks an order reducing the damages awarded plaintiff, as well as plaintiffs’ cross motion seeking an increase in those damages.
Continue reading

Published on:

Traumatic brain injury, not caused by flying objects, can be divided by physicians into primary and secondary types, according to doctors in The Bronx. The force that causes the injury directly damages blood vessels, brain cells, and other parts of the brain, which in turn cause secondary damages like inflammation, and changes in neurochemistry and metabolism. The study of these secondary injuries has lead to a number of pharmacological therapies that can help limit this type of damage.

The primary damage is anything that is a direct result of the force that caused the injury, which deforms the tissue at the moment of injury, New York Brain Injury Lawyers have learned. This is blood vessel damage, damage to brain cells, and other brain injuries that have a different effect depending upon the parts of the brain that are harmed in the initial impact.

Secondary traumatic brain damage is a complication of the primary damage and often includes cerebral swelling, changes in pressure inside the skull, and infection. Secondary brain damage is sometimes reversible with treatment. Study of these injuries have enabled pharmacologists to develop therapies that can do a lot to mitigate the harm done by a head impact. These studies in Brooklyn have also shown Lawyers, among others, that brain injury is not a single type of injury, but one that has many different manifestations that can occur and combine in any number of ways.

Published on:

Closed head injury is almost always the consequence of an impact to the head, hospitals in The Bronx and Brooklyn have noted. There are experiments and references, however, that relate to brain injuryin non-impact situations, such as when the body is accelerated in such a manner as to cause injury. For now, the basic distinction to be focused upon is the difference between an impact to the head and an impulse transmitted to the head from the neck.

An impact or an impulse can accelerate or decelerate the head to the point of injury, but the effects of an impact are usually very clear. A deformation of the skull or a fracture can occur, with the attendant injury to the brain. Doctors have seen that brain injuries are almost always the result of an impact to the head or to a helmet protecting the head, rather than an impulse transmitted through the neck.

Some research has indicated to experts that brain injuries may different depending upon whether the head is stationary and struck by a moving object, or is moving and strikes a stationary object. This matter is important for legal concerns when it must be determined if an injury was caused by a blow to the head or by striking the head in the resulting fall. Physicians have noted, however, that when the head is moving, it generally strikes and object much more massive than itself, whereas a moving object that strikes that head is generally of a similar or lesser mass to the head itself, such as a club, a brick, or a baseball.

Published on:

Brain injury can be very tricky to find and properly assess and treat, doctors have learned. Very often, the location of the actual injury is not at the point of impact. When an impact does not have the force to breach the skull, but is significant enough to cause injury, the force can be transferred to thinner bones found in other places, such as the base of the skull.

Physicians in New York and Westchester County sometimes use the term ‘countrecoup’ to describe head injuries that result from an impact on the other side of the head. Contrecoup injuries are caused by rapid and localized pressure changes on the surface of the brain due to force transmitted by a sudden impact. These injuries can also be caused by the brain actually moving inside the skull and sustaining injury from striking the bony surfaces.

The location of the head injury is also important, studies have learned. As far back as 200 years ago, physicians have been noting that injuries to the frontal portion of the brain tend to be less severe than injuries taken to other parts of the brain. Research has shown this to be the case time and again, both from experiments and from collecting medical data. There are, however, studies that suggest that the nature of head injuries may be far more complex than that, depending upon the location of the injury. The very complexity of the brain itself makes it difficult for physicians and other medical experts to establish a clear pattern when it comes to head injuries.

Published on:

Injuries caused by an improvised explosive device (IED) can be complicated, doctors have learned. Such a blast can cause a number of injuries that have their own problems, like traumatically amputated limbs, multiple penetrating wounds, and heavy bleeding. It takes a great deal of skill and knowledge to treat injuries from an explosive blast, because there are so many different brain injuriescaused by it.

A number of subspecialists in Queens and Staten Island are required to help the patient, under the direction of a trauma surgeon. Soft-tissue loss is common, in addition to severe burns to the face and scalp. When it comes to the military, a helmet can be excellent protection against penetrating objects, so if the blast does cause penetrating object injuries, it is often through the face, orbit of the eye, or base of the skull, all areas not covered by the helmet. Even when the helmet does prevent an object from penetrating the skull there can still be associated cTBI (closed head traumatic blast injury) that may cause anything from mild concussions to severe contusions and skull fractures, where the helmet is dented from the blow, studies have discovered.

The force of a flying object and where it penetrates are of utmost importance, doctors have told Lawyers. Something traveling at a low speed might penetrate the skull, but actually cause little damage, while something traveling a greater speed could very well cause a secondary cavity in a vital area.

Published on:

After seven hours of deliberation, a District Court jury delivered a majority, or 11 jurors to one, verdict in the case of a 22-year-old stepdad. The man was found guilty on the charge of causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

The stepfather had always denied the charge that he caused a head injury that left a 2-year-old child with little more than 50% of his brain function. He stood passively in the dock as he was remanded to custody for a July sentencing. As he was escorted from the court, a supporter mouthed “I’m sorry.”

The Judge thanked the jury and told them, based on the evidence, their decision was the only one open to them.

During the five-day trial, the jury heard that the small boy had been found face down and unconscious on his bedroom floor in May of 2009. He was then taken to Southland Hospital, in Westchester where an urgent CT scan revealed a collection of blood on his brain. He was transferred to another facility to undergo a lifesaving brain surgery, and then sent to Auckland’s Starship children’s hospital.

At the time of the injury, the defendant was in a relationship with the boy’s mother. The mother told the jury that the toddler was sent to time out on May 31 because he had stood too close to the television after being repeatedly told not to. She said the 22-year-old had walked the boy to his bedroom and was only gone long enough to place him in the room and then leave. She said that a few minutes later he checked on the toddler, but again quickly returned.
The mother reported that he again checked on the child. This time, he returned carrying Harry, who was floppy and acting like a ragdoll with blood coming out of his mouth.

The prosecuting attorney pointed to something being ‘amiss’ in the household because the little boy was subjected to repeatedly lengthy time-outs. She also posited that the injury happened because the defendant was angry and slammed the little boy’s head into the floor. Apparently 11 of the 12 jurors in New York City agreed with her.
Continue reading

Published on:

Another factor that doctors need to consider when it comes to head injury is the location of the impact on the head. Where an impact deforms the skull, or the level of the acceleration of the head, can be very important in determining the nature of a head injury.

When the skull is deformed by an impact, it generally causes injury to the brain through direct contact. This is a common occurrence when it comes to an object displacing part of the skull so it hits the brain tissue. Studies, however, have discovered there are some impacts that can indent the skull for just a few milliseconds, but the skull will return to its original shape, without any evidence in the bone.

Experiments using anesthetized monkeys showed doctors that occipital impacts did not deform the skull, nor did it create any lesions on the brain. Impacts in the temporoparietal region of the brain did show evidence of skull deformation, however, along with the accompanying lesions on the brain. This is further proof that the location of impact is very important, and can mean the difference between a major and a minor injury. Studies in New York City and Westchester have shown that impacts that produce a skull fracture in one region of the skull may have to be at least twice as forceful to cause a fracture in another part of the skull.

Published on:

When it comes to injury of any kind, including head injury, classification of severity is important. The first AIS (Abbreviated Injury Scale) was published in 1971, propelled by the American Medical Association, the Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine, and the Society of Automotive Engineers. It was originally created to assess impact injuries, but it has been revised a number of times since then.

The scale uses numbers to rank injuries by severity, based upon the anatomical injury. This means that any lingering consequences of the injury, like disabilities, are not noted. Each injury only receives one AIS score, and there is no single assessment for multiple injuries.

The system has a 6-point scale, with 1 meaning a minor injury and 6 being the worst possible injury. Later revisions included a six-digit code for each injury. The first number signified body region, the second anatomic structure, the third and fourth the specific nature of an injury if external, and the fifth and sixth related to the level of injury in an anatomic region. Later revisions included further categorization for brain injuries.

Contact Information