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Traumatic Brain Injury In The Law

 Posted on April 12, 2021 in Personal Injury

We are seeing an increased amount of traumatic brain injuries in our cases. The popular press is discussing this more and more in relation to professional football. We asked our research clerk, Hannah Grace, to firm up our research in this area and the following is an article by Hannah summarizing her findings. As a caution to the public nothing herein is intended as medical advice and anything anyone can rely upon medically. Consult your physician.” — Charles E. Adler

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is defined as a severe, violent strike to the head that causes the brain to bump against the inside of the skull.  The injury can range from mild to severe. The degree of trauma depends on different factors including the force of impact and nature of the accident. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the leading causes of TBIs are falls, blunt trauma, and motor vehicle accidents. Violence, sports injuries, and explosive blasts are also common in causing TBIs. Symptoms for both mild and severe TBI can include some of the same symptoms. Intellectual and communication problems are also known to develop after a TBI. In 2014 an average of 155 people died each day from injuries that included a TBI. Deaths that were related to TBI were the highest among people 75 and older.  Emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and deaths relating to TBI’s increased 53% from 2006 to 2014. Different tests are used to diagnose a TBI.

The Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) is a commonly used test. The Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) measures a person’s ability to speak, open their eyes, and move. A score of 13 or higher represents a mild TBI, 9-12 indicates a moderate TBI, and 8 or below indicates a severe TBI. Different imaging tests are used to take photos of person’s brain. A computerized tomography (CT) scan can take x-rays to show bleeding in the brain. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses magnets to produce more detailed images than a CT. There are both long term and immediate problems surrounding a TBI. Longer-term effects of TBI can cause problems with brain functions including issues with cognition, senses, communication, behavior, and emotions.

The duration and onset of symptoms vary from patient to patient. If the patient is diagnosed with a moderate or severe TBI, critical care, and acute medical care are needed.

Physical symptoms are not the only symptoms one could experience with a TBI. Psychological and personality problems are also common symptoms of the injury. These symptoms typically develop hours, days, weeks, or even months after the initial injury. Emotions and behaviors of a person who is suffering from a TBI can be altered as a result of part of the brain having been injured.  If the frontal lobe is damaged, a patient’s personality could become muted or “seemingly emotionless.” The patient can also experience verbal outbursts, physical outbursts, impulsive behavior, poor judgment, among other changes in behavior that were not present before the TBI.

There are number of cases in the law involving TBIs. In Rose v. Nat’l Collegiate Athletic Ass’n, the Plaintiffs filed a six-count complaint with one count asserting negligence on behalf of the football association. “As Plaintiffs see it, by concealing these facts, the NCAA and the Big Ten  intended to induce Plaintiffs to have a false belief that they could safely continue to play football after sustaining such injuries, even though they themselves knew that Plaintiffs greatly increased their risk of long-term injury and illness by doing so.” Rose v. Nat’l Collegiate Athletic Ass’n. 346 F.Supp.3d 1212, 1226. (N.D. Ill., 2018). In this case the Plaintiffs were asserting various contractual and common law claims concerning how the NCAA handled concussions and the risks surrounding concussions. In Majchrzak v. Gap, Inc., a minor tripped and fell over the leg of a clothing rack in a Gap store and struck his head on the corner of the wall, sustaining a severe injury. Majchrzak v. Gap Inc.,2018 WL 2220292 (N.D. Ill. 2018).  In this case, the Plaintiff alleged that the Defendants owed a duty of care and were negligent in fulfilling that duty. Id. Not every case involving TBI is the same. Every case rests on its own factual setting. With traumatic brain injuries unfortunately becoming such a prominent injury, it is important to understand the types of TBIs, symptoms, and what the recovery could look like for a TBI. They are especially crucial to understand for purposes of pursuing legal remedies including navigating a traumatic brain injury case through the legal process to a just result for a client.

Giving Back A Note From Charles Adler

The purpose of my becoming a lawyer was to make a positive impact on people I crossed paths with.  That purpose is intertwined in the way we represent clients, our relationship with referring attorneys and my personal community involvement.  Our steadfast goal in representing clients is to protect their rights and to obtain just compensation for their injuries.  In the process of doing that I keep in mind that clients come to us with a major disruption having occurred in their lives.

I have learned that that keeping clients fully informed and taking the time to explain in detail the legal process to them helps smooth the path they find themselves on. 

As to referring attorneys we want them to know not by words but by actions that their clients are well taken care of and that their rights are being protected.  We are ever mindful of the relationship of the referring attorney with their client.  We will do no harm that disrupts that relationship.  Also, if during the course of our representation of a referred client they raise questions in areas of the law other than personal injury we refer the client back to the originating lawyer. 

In turning to community, our practice is dedicated to offering free legal services to people in need.  We have in the past and are now conducting free legal clinic days.  Outside of the legal practice I have been involved in many community organizations as a director and officer. My current endeavors include being on the boards of the north/northwest region of the United Way and Project H.O.O.D. in Chicago.

To sum up, you will find professionalism, honesty, integrity, bedrock commitment to clients, results, and likeability at Adler Law Offices, Ltd.  Please feel free to contact me anytime with any questions you may have.  My direct email address is  Also, due to the flu pandemic, we are conducting conferences with clients and others remotely.

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