Traumatic brain injuries are a major cause of death and disability in the United States, accounting for nearly a third of all injury deaths. Those who survive a brain injury can suffer effects, which last months, years, or a lifetime, affecting the victim’s family as well.
Recently, comedian Tracy Morgan was involved in an accident on the New Jersey Turnpike with a Wal-Mart truck driver who had allegedly been driving too many hours and was fatigued. Morgan suffered a broken leg, broken ribs and a brain injury which could well place his career in jeopardy. Morgan is currently undergoing rehabilitation, which includes daily speech therapy as well as vocational, physical and cognitive therapies as he struggles to get his life back.
Morgan’s friend and fellow comedian, James McNair, was killed in the crash, and two others in Morgan’s vehicle required multiple surgeries for their injuries. Reportedly, the Wal-Mart Driver, Kevin Roper, was driving more than twenty miles above the posted speed limit. Tracy Morgan’s lawsuit, filed against Wal-Mart, alleges the driver had fallen asleep after being awake for more than twenty-four hours on a 700 mile trip from Jonesboro, GA. Roper denies he fell asleep or that he was fatigued, and Wal-Mart denies liability for the incident because Morgan was not wearing a seat belt. Morgan’s memories of the actual crash are fuzzy, due to his traumatic brain injury, and he has had to forego jobs, including a movie and a television show due to his injuries.
Depending on how severe the brain injury is, a victim may experience mental and emotional changes, as well as physical injury. External brain injuries can lead to nausea, chronic headaches, sensitivity to light, blurred vision, difficulty speaking, reading or thinking, concentration problems, extreme fatigue, listlessness and short or long-term memory loss. In cases in which the brain trauma is not as severe, the brain will slow begin to recover and the neurotransmitters involved will begin to mend. Over a period of months, the injured person could largely return to their “old” self.
More severe cases of brain trauma can lead to loss of consciousness, seizures, convulsions, loss of coordination, an inability to wake up, profound confusion, combative behaviors, slurred speed and even coma. The person with a more severe brain injury may never be the person they were prior to the accident, even after months or years of rehabilitative therapy. Many of those with traumatic brain injuries are very aware that their brain speech or actions are not properly conveying their thoughts, and they can become very agitated and angry as they attempt to make themselves understood.
Falls are the leading cause of brain injuries, followed by auto accidents and acts of violence. Falls can occur at home, at work, or during recreational activities. The results of a fall which causes a brain injury can be the threat to the person’s health and independence. Fall rates are highest for children under the age of four, and adults over the age of 75. More women, than men, will suffer a serious fall over the course of their lifetime, and a full two-thirds of those who experience a serious fall will fall again within the next six months.
For younger adults, uneven surfaces can cause falls, such as curbs or steps, and many falls are the result of hazards in the workplace. Those who take a number of prescription medications may also be much more likely to fall. Any person who experiences a fall is at risk for hitting their head, and, depending on the force of the head against the surface, the resulting brain injury can be relatively minor, very serious, or even fatal. Just as Tracy Morgan may spend months, or even years, recovering his former self, hundreds of thousands just like Morgan are doing the same thing across the United States.
If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident and sustained a brain injury, you need a lawyer on your side from the start. For a free initial consultation with Fuicelli & Lee, PC, send us an e-mail or call (303) 355-7202. You pay nothing unless you receive a financial settlement or award.Google+
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