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The closed head injury victim suffers life-changing restrictions

Brain injuries present demanding challenges for preparation of personal injury negotiations and settlement with the wrongdoer's counsel or insurer. Closed head injury in Massachusetts and throughout the country is not always easily proved, and must be established instead by medical inferences and circumstantial probabilities. In such cases, neuropsychologists and similar practitioners are sometimes used to establish a physiological connection with the particular symptoms that the injured victim is suffering.

The range of closed head injuries is a broad one. There can be a concussion injury that clears up in a week or two, and there can be the most horrific instance of an individual languishing in a brain-damaged coma for years on end. The reported case below presents the extreme extent of the latter category. Most cases will fall in between.

In the reported case, an 18-year-old male was driving his friends home on a rainy night and could not negotiate a curve going at 45 mph. He collided with a tree and suffered severe head trauma when the air bag inflated and rammed violently into his upper torso and head. At first it seemed like it may be a less serious closed head brain injury, but he soon suffered an associated oxygen loss.

The young man never talked or walked again. In fact, he never moved again, for the next 13 years until he passed away at the age of 31 in a room at his North Carolina home, where he had been cared for constantly by his devoted mother. She fed him through a tube, gave him physical therapy, took him to doctors and administered to his daily living. There's no big multi-million dollar award here because it was a one-car accident where the injured man was also the driver.

The case is valuable, however, to show the horrific demands of severe traumatic brain injury. Some of the same demands and suffering can occur in lesser degree where the closed head injury is less extensive. In Massachusetts and elsewhere, experienced counsel will detail each aspect of the victim's life that's changed since the accident. Counsel will obtain videos and other indicia of a pre-accident happy, active life, and show the grim comparison of the limitations that now control the brain injury victim's very different existence.

Source: Gaston Gazette, After 13 years of care, mom loses son who suffered brain injury, Diane Turbyfill, Sept. 8, 2013

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