Head/Brain Injury

//Head/Brain Injury
Head/Brain Injury2018-07-04T05:39:30+00:00

CaseyGerry’s personal injury attorneys have successfully represented injured plaintiffs who have gone up against some of the largest corporations in the world.

Our experienced legal team includes certified private Investigators and top-notch attorneys with years of trial and courtroom experience. Our in-house investigators are known for their expertise in gathering the information necessary to support your claim, whether it is accident reports, medical records or witness statements. We also work with trained and expert witnesses in a wide variety of fields who may testify on our clients’ behalf in our cases throughout Southern California.

CaseyGerry partners have been named in Best Lawyers in America, Outstanding Trial Lawyers by the Consumer Attorneys of San Diego and Lawyer of the Year by the San Diego County Bar Association. Many have contributed their expertise to legal publications; others share their knowledge by teaching courses through professional organizations and local universities, while others volunteer their legal services to community organizations and individuals.

As a firm, San Diego Business Journal recently recognized CaseyGerry as a “firm with staying power” and Martindale Hubbell has ranked us among only 222 other firms as “One of California’s Top Ranked Law Firms.” 

Our vast experience has brought our clients verdicts and settlements of millions of dollars. We have represented clients small and large, from individual car crash survivors to multiple people injured in train collisions. As co-counsel, we worked on the landmark Exxon Valdez oil spill trial that resulted in a settlement of $5 billion, as well as helped litigate the historic multi-state tobacco settlement. Additionally, our attorneys were instrumental in working to provide services to the families of the victims of 9/11, helping spearhead Trial Lawyers Care – the largest pro bono program in the history of American jurisprudence. Within the past year alone, our attorneys have achieved numerous multimillion dollar recoveries for clients with traumatic brain injuries – from a devastating injury on a high school football field to injuries caused by automobile, bicycle and aviation incidents. CaseyGerry is also one of the select firms on the steering committee for the national brain injury litigation against the NFL.

The complexity of brain injury cases demands attorneys who are at the forefront of  ever evolving medical issues, such as Second Impact Syndrome (SIS) and Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). Our firm has the knowledge, experience and resources necessary to successfully represent victims of traumatic brain injury.

We are the largest and oldest plaintiffs’ law firm in the region – with seasoned litigators, expert staff and financial resources, as well as the dedication, savvy and perseverance needed to get results.

For more information or a consultation on your case please contact us.

Recent studies point to a correlation between head trauma and long term degenerative brain disease.

At CaseyGerry, our attorneys specialize in serious personal injury and traumatic brain injury – and are at the forefront of the complex medical issues related to brain injury, including Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disease thought to be caused by repeat concussions or blows to the head, and Second Impact Syndrome (SIS), a condition in which the brain swells rapidly after a person suffers a second concussion.

SIS is potentially catastrophic, and especially prevalent amongst adolescents – due to the developing brain’s susceptibility to injury. A second impact can result in a loss of auto regulation of the brain’s blood supply, causing significant swelling. Because the brain is more vulnerable and susceptible to injury after an initial blow, it takes minimal force to cause irreversible damage.

With equally devastating consequences, CTE, which causes depression and erratic behavior, has also drawn increased scrutiny in recent years – with public concern mounting following the high-profile suicides of several former professional athletes, most recently Junior Seau.

Working with Cooley LLP, CaseyGerry is representing the family of Seau, a former San Diego Chargers player who committed suicide last year at the age of 43.

Following Seau’s death in May, his family donated his brain to researchers at the National Institutes for Health (NIH) who are conducting ongoing research on traumatic brain injury and football players. The Seau wrongful death lawsuit claims that the former star linebacker’s suicide last spring was triggered by chronic brain trauma, and that “the NFL knew for decades of the harmful effects of sub-concussive and concussive injuries on a player’s brain, actively concealing these facts from the public and the players.”

CTE Cases Surge, NFL Players File Suit

In recent years, a significant number of NFL players have been diagnosed with CTE. In fact, more than 4,000 retired players have filed lawsuits against the league over alleged failure to educate and protect players from brain injuries.

Meanwhile, NIH scientists recently confirmed that Seau was suffering from CTE at the time of his death. A new study by Boston University noted that CTE symptoms could progress for years after head trauma, with long-term symptoms ranging from depression and short-term memory loss to dementia and aggression.

Ironically, that study was released on the heels of the tragic murder-suicide of Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher. Belcher’s behavior mirrors that of other NFL players who have committed suicide, including Ray Easterling, Kurt Crain and Dave Duerson.

A History of Results

For more than 65 years, CaseyGerry has fought to protect the rights of victims – playing a key role in some of San Diego’s most high profile cases. In the last year alone, our attorneys have achieved multi-million dollar settlements for many victims of devastating head injuries – from a seriously injured young football player to those severely injured in cycling, aviation and automobile accidents. In addition to handling multiple NFL lawsuits, our firm is also one of the select firms playing a key role on the steering committee for national MDL litigation against the National Football League.

We have the knowledge, expertise and resources necessary to successfully represent those who have been impacted by traumatic brain injury – and suffered dangerous and complex medical consequences such as CTE and SIS as a result.

For more information or a consultation on your case please contact us.

The complexity of brain injury cases demands attorneys who are at the forefront of ever evolving medical issues, such as Second Impact Syndrome (SIS) and Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). At CaseyGerry, we have the knowledge, expertise and resources necessary to successfully represent those who have been impacted by traumatic brain injury – and suffered dangerous and complex medical consequences as a result.

With our depth of knowledge and involvement in a broad range of cases, the attorneys at CaseyGerry will help you seek recovery for pain and suffering from brain injury and other serious injuries – or if you have suffered the loss of a loved one due to a wrongful death.

Regardless of how a person was injured, our legal team will work to resolve your claims and help you get the medical treatment you need so you can focus on recovery. Whether the case involves reimbursement for medical bills, rehabilitation costs, lost wages and future earnings, or pain, psychological or other physical distress, we understand the law and your right to fair compensation.

We treat each and every client with dignity and respect, understand your worries, can answer your questions and use every legal option available to alleviate your burden.

We deal with claims throughout Southern California and know what documentation and paperwork is needed to advance each case. We also recognize the urgency of filing claims or lawsuits in a timely manner to avoid being precluded from filing because of statutes of limitations.

For more than 65 years, we have fought to protect the rights of victims – playing a key role in some of San Diego’s most high profile cases. In the last year alone, our attorneys have achieved multi-million dollar settlements for many victims of devastating head injuries – from a seriously injured young football player to those severely injured in cycling, aviation and automobile accidents. In addition to handling multiple NFL lawsuits, our firm is also one of the select firms playing a key role on the steering committee for national MDL litigation against the National Football League.

For more information or a consultation on your case please contact us.

Recent studies point to a correlation between head trauma and long term degenerative brain disease. Following are some answers to frequently asked questions on the topic.

Q. What is Traumatic Brain Injury?

A. Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) refers to a blow or jolt to the head or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the function of the brain. The severity of TBI may range from mild – a brief change in mental status or consciousness – to severe, an extended period of unconsciousness or amnesia after the injury.

Q. What Causes TBI?

TBI can be caused by a direct blow to the head, an indirect force or a penetrating injury. It can range from an injury so mild that it is completely overlooked, to a severe injury that causes profound coma just short of, or including, death. When loss of consciousness is brief – a few seconds or minutes – it is characterized as mild TBI. It is not always clinically evident and if unrecognized may result in adverse outcomes. Concussions are seldom life threatening, thus the term mild is used when the person is only dazed, confused or loses consciousness for a short time.

With mild TBI patients, full recovery can be within minutes to hours; small percentages have symptoms that may persist for months or years.

Severe TBI usually results from a significant closed head injury, as in an automobile accident, or most open or penetrating injuries, where there may be considerable residual deficits of brain function.

Not all blows or jolts to the head result in a TBI.

Q. What are the different types of brain injuries?

  • Concussion: Concussions are perhaps the most common type of brain injury. They are caused by an impact or sudden momentum or movement change. A concussion can cause blood vessels to stretch and can damage cranial nerves. A concussion can be caused by a direct blow to the head, gunshot, violent shaking of the head or whiplash. A concussion can cause a brief loss of consciousness (less than 20 minutes), but often causes no loss of consciousness at all and, therefore, goes undetected. Concussions can take months or years to heal.
  • Contusion:  A contusion is a bruise, and a brain contusion signifies bleeding on the brain. These are normally caused by a blow to the head.
  • Penetration injury:  A blow to the head from a sharp object can cause a penetration injury, which involves something entering the brain. A gunshot wound would be a typical example of a penetration injury.
  • Diffuse Axonal Injury: A diffuse axonal injury is caused by rapid movement such as shaking or a strong rotation of the head. In this type of injury the skull moves faster than the brain which causes the brain to tear.
  • Second Impact Syndrome (SIS): Also known as recurrent traumatic brain injury, SIS occurs when a person has a brain injury that has not yet healed, and sustains another brain injury. This is very dangerous because it is more likely to cause severe damage or death than an injury to a healthy brain.

Q. What is the treatment for brain injuries?

A. The primary treatment for concussion is education about what concussion is and what to expect during recovery, and protection from sustaining a second injury before the brain heals.

For patients who have persistent symptoms after a concussion, treatment may include evaluations and possibly treatment by specialists such as neuropsychologists, speech and language pathologists, neurologists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, ophthalmologists, optometrists, and audiologists. These specialists evaluate impairments and develop individualized interventions. They introduce patients to cognitive, behavioral, and learning strategies that prepare them to successfully engage in daily living activities at home, at work, or in a classroom environment.

For patients who have a moderate, severe or penetrating injury, treatment will involve a diverse team of specialists including case managers, nurses, doctors, surgeons, social workers, and rehabilitation experts. Treatment typically starts during acute hospitalization and depending on the severity of the injury can continue for months or even years after the injury in various settings such as inpatient rehabilitation, outpatient rehabilitation, home care, and long term care.

Q. If you have a brain injury does that mean that you are brain damaged and will not fully recover? If not, how long does recovery take?

A. Having a brain injury may or may not indicate long-term health ramifications. Length of recovery depends on many factors —  including severity of the brain injury, time unconscious, timeliness of treatment, health of the individual at the time of injury, and more. People who sustain concussion almost always recover within hours to days. Those who sustain moderate, severe and penetrating brain injuries tend to have a more prolonged recovery, months to years.

Q. What are some common symptoms of brain injury?

A. Difficulty organizing daily tasks; blurred vision or eyes tiring easily; headaches or ringing in the ears; feeling sad, anxious or listless, easily irritated or angered; feeling tired: trouble with memory, attention or concentration: more sensitive to sounds, lights or distractions; impaired decision making or problem solving; slowed thinking, moving, speaking, reading; easily confused; change in sexual interest or behavior.

Q. What helps with TBI?

A. Getting plenty of rest and sleep; increasing activity slowly; carrying a notebook and writing things down if you have trouble remembering; establishing a regular daily routine to structure activities; doing only one thing at a time if you are easily distracted; check with someone you trust when making decisions; avoid activities that can lead to additional brain injury, such as contact sports, motorcycles, skiing, etc.; avoid alcohol, caffeine or energy enhancing products and avoid excessive use of over the counter sleeping aids – they can slow thinking and memory.

For more information or a consultation on your case please contact us.

Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) is a degenerative brain disease.

According to researchers from Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy at Boston University, CTE is a progressive disease found in those with a history of repetitive brain trauma, including symptomatic concussions as well as asymptomatic sub concussive hits to the head. Originally diagnosed as dementia pugilistica or “punch-drunk syndrome,” CTE has been known to affect boxers since the 1920s.

CTE, which can cause depression, erratic behavior, memory loss, impaired judgment, aggression, and, eventually, progressive dementia, has drawn increased scrutiny in recent years – with public concern mounting following the suicides of several former professional athletes, most recently Junior Seau.

Recent reports have been published of neuropathologically confirmed CTE in retired professional football players and other athletes who have a history of repetitive brain trauma. According to BU researchers, this trauma triggers progressive degeneration of the brain tissue, including the build-up of an abnormal protein called tau.  These changes in the brain can begin months, years, or even decades after the last brain trauma or end of active athletic involvement. Currently, CTE can only be officially diagnosed through autopsies, but UCLA researchers are working toward a breakthrough on that front, and have used a PET scan – an imaging test that uses radioactive tracer dye to show how organs and tissues are working – to identify abnormal tau proteins in living football players.

Other than repeated brain trauma, the risk factors for CTE remain unknown, but research studies are looking into possible genetic, exposure level, and other risk factors.

For more information or a consultation on your case please contact us.

Second Impact Syndrome (SIS)

A condition in which the brain swells rapidly after a person suffers a second blow to the head, Second Impact Syndrome (SIS) occurs when an athlete returns to sport too early after suffering an initial concussion.

The syndrome is potentially catastrophic, and especially prevalent amongst adolescents – due to the developing brain’s susceptibility to injury. A second impact can result in a loss of auto regulation of the brain’s blood supply, causing significant swelling and ultimately resulting in increased cerebral blood volume which can cause in brainstem herniation and death. Because the brain is more vulnerable and susceptible to injury after an initial blow, it takes minimal force to cause irreversible damage.

The pressure to the brain can increase rapidly, causing brain death in as little as three to five minutes. Because brain death is so rapid, second impact syndrome has a high fatality rate in young athletes. Surviving patients may suffer from permanent neurological symptoms impacting speech, visions, cognitive ability, social/emotional interactions and more.

SIS is most often reported in boxers and football players.

The most important way to prevent SIS is to be aware  of the signs of concussion, which headache, dizziness, irritability, mood changes, vomiting, changes in vision and hearing and difficulty following instructions.

If athletes have any of these symptoms in the hours or days immediately after a head injury, physical activity should be restricted until they are cleared by a  physician.

For more information or a consultation on your case please contact us.

Plaintiffs steering committee will oversee national litigation.

Appointed by U.S. District Court Judge Anita Brody, CaseyGerry serves on the Plaintiffs Steering Committee which is overseeing national MDL litigation against the National Football League (NFL). The litigation alleges that multiple concussions can lead to long-term brain injuries. CaseyGerry is one of only nine law firms in the nation serving on the leadership committee.

CaseyGerry is represented on the committee by firm partner, Frederick Schenk, who is charged with overseeing pre-trial discovery; coordinating, submitting and arguing pre-trial motions; deposing and examining witnesses; introducing evidence at hearings; and negotiating stipulations and settlements with defendants. Also playing a role is partner Robert J. Francavilla, who serves on the medicine and science sub-committee, which will retain experts and research the medical and scientific literature to help identify the relationship between playing football and developing head injuries.

All of the lawsuits contend the league has not done enough to educate players or to protect them from concussions and multiple blows to the heads. The former players also allege that the league failed to care for them afterwards.

Overview of the case pending against the NFL

Over 4,000 former NFL players and their families have joined in multi-district litigation against the NFL, alleging that the NFL deliberately and fraudulently concealed from its players the link between football-related head impacts and long-term neurological injuries.

Many former NFL players who suffered concussions and other brain injuries now experience conditions such as dementia, depression, reduced cognitive ability, sleeplessness, early-onset Alzheimer’s, ALS and a debilitating and latent disease known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). Other players worry about their futures and the uncertainty of whether they too will develop severe neurological disease and the impact it will have on their families. The former players are seeking recourse that includes a Court-supervised, NFL-funded medical monitoring program, which will facilitate the diagnosis and adequate treatment of former players for neurodegenerative diseases.

This case is pending before Judge Anita B. Brody in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

A San Diego native, “Junior” Seau was a star linebacker in the National Football League (NFL), and a 10-time All-Pro, 12-time Pro Bowl selection. In 1994, he was named NFL Man of the Year for his many philanthropic endeavors.

For 13 years, Seau starred with the San Diego Chargers before being traded to the Miami Dolphins, where he spent three years. He then played for four years with the New England Patriots prior to retiring in 2009.

Following his tragic suicide on May 2, 2012, his family donated his brain to the National Institute of Health (NIH). In an unprecedented blind study, a team of three independent neuropathologists separately determined that Seau suffered from Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). These findings have had a dramatic impact on the NFL and on football throughout the United States – raising to a new level growing concern for the safety of football players.

Case Filed on Behalf of Family

After the NIH study was released, David S. Casey, Jr. and Frederick Schenk of CaseyGerry partnered with Steve Strauss of Cooley LLP to bring a wrongful death suit on behalf of the family of the former linebacker. The Seau suit claims that the former star linebacker’s suicide last spring was triggered by chronic brain trauma, and that “the NFL knew for decades of the harmful effects of sub-concussive and concussive injuries on a player’s brain.”

Litigation for Change

A significant number of NFL Players have been diagnosed with CTE, which can cause erratic behavior and depression, and over 4,000 retired players have filed lawsuits against the league over its purported failure to reveal the known long-term health risks associated with head injuries. All of the lawsuits contend the league has not done enough to educate players or to protect them from concussions and multiple blows to the heads, as it marketed and promoted hard hitting contact between the players.

The tragedy of Junior Seau’s passing has brought a renewed focus on past practices within the NFL and has already helped trigger changes both in the NFL and in college and high school football programs. Hopefully, these efforts will lead to minimizing any future head injuries to football players of all levels and ages.