Articles Posted in Head Injuries

The Illinois Appellate Court for the First District modified and answered the certified questions in addition to remanding a lawsuit back to the Circuit Court of Cook County. On Oct. 4, 2013, Drew Williams, who played on the Lane Tech High School’s football team, “violently collided” with a teammate during a game. The collision came during the first quarter of the game. Drew, although shaken, was not assessed with concussive brain trauma and continued to play. During the fourth quarter, he showed signs of a concussion. It was later diagnosed that the blows to the head resulted in numerous brain bleeds, which rendered him disabled.

The parents of Drew — Jodine and Christopher Williams — filed a lawsuit against Athletico Ltd. Athletico is a private company that was under contract with the Chicago Public Schools to assign and maintain an adequate staff of competent personnel who were “fully equipped, licensed . . . and qualified to provide on-site injury care and evaluation in all matters pertaining to the health and well-being of the athletes.”

The Williams family claimed that Athletico was negligent in failing to assess their son.  The head trauma or the concussion was the gist of their lawsuit.  The Williamses also named Accelerated Rehabilitation Centers Ltd., the predecessor to Athletico, a company also under contract to provide athletic training of trainer services to Lane Tech students during football games and to evaluate and treat injuries during football games. The trainer assigned to the game was also named as a party defendant.

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Mildred Thomas was shopping at the CVS drugstore and asked the clerk to check the price of a chair that was stacked with other chairs in a metal bin on a 6-foot shelf. As the clerk reached up and moved the chair to look for the price, multiple chairs and the bin itself fell from the shelf. One of the chairs hit Thomas on the head.

Thomas, 58, was taken to a hospital emergency room complaining of soreness to her head. Later radiology imaging showed no abnormalities, but she did develop severe headaches, dizziness, tinnitus, and memory issues.

A neurologist later diagnosed a head injury. When Thomas’ severe headaches persisted, she was treated with pain injections and other cognitive therapies.

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In 2007, Christopher Lindroth suffered a traumatic brain injury when he was thrown from a motorized cart that swerved to avoid an oncoming car. This incident took place at McCormick Place in Chicago.

Lindroth was standing on the back of the motorized cart as it traveled down one of the ramps at the convention center when a McCormick Place employee directed a car around a closed security gate, which came into the cart’s path. With no working brakes, the driver of the cart quickly turned the motor off and attempted to slow the vehicle with his feet, veering to the right curb in an attempt to stop. Lindroth was thrown from the cart as a result of that maneuver and suffered a serious head injury.

Because of his traumatic brain injury, Lindroth now requires 24-hour care. Lindroth’s mother, Marcia Dempe, filed a lawsuit on behalf of her son against The Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority (MPEA) and the event-planning company, Global Experienced Specialists (GES). The lawsuit was filed in the Circuit Court of Cook County in July 2008.  Dempe alleged the two entities were negligent in allowing contractors like Lindroth’s employer to use the cart in an unsafe manner.

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Kacey Strough was 16 years old when he joined his high school football team. Apparently as a prank, his teammates threw footballs at his head while he was sitting on the sideline during a practice. He later went to the school nurse complaining of a headache and double vision. Kacey told the nurse that he had been hit on the head with a football and was concerned that he might have a concussion. The nurse allegedly attempted to call his grandmother with whom Kacey was living, but she was unable to reach her.

 

Kacey continued participating in team practices over the next two weeks.  He also returned to the nurse with continued complaints of headaches and vision difficulties. The school nurse called Kacey’s grandmother, but allegedly discussed only Kacey’s diagnosis of pink eye; she said nothing about his headaches or vision issues.

 

Several days later, while Kacey was home, he complained to his grandmother of headaches, neck pain and problems with vision and balance. Kacey’s grandmother took him to a hospital emergency room where an imaging revealed a mass in his head.

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Scott Rankin, 37, was riding his bicycle on a two-lane rural, nonresidential road when he collided with the back of a United Parcel Service truck parked partially on the road. Rankin suffered serious injuries, the worst of which resulted in incomplete quadriplegia. He had been a band director earning about $60,000 a year, but now is unable to work.

Rankin filed suit against UPS claiming negligence per se for its driver’s violation of the Texas Transportation Code. The statute prohibits trucks such as a UPS vehicle in nonresidential districts from leaving their vehicles on the main part of the highway unless it is impractical to do so.

Rankin alleged that UPS endangered others on the road by choosing not to train its drivers on applicable parking laws in an effort to promote driver efficiency and safety.

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Pengxuan Diao rented a converted garage. An employee of Southern California Gas Co. arrived while Diao was sleeping to perform maintenance. The gas company employee opened a gas valve that activated an uncapped gas line running to the garage where Diao was sleeping. The Southern California Gas Co. employee left the property without ensuring that the line was free of leaks.

A leak in the gas line caused gas to accumulate in the garage. Two hours after the leak began, Diao awoke and lit a cigarette, which triggered the gas explosion.

Diao, age 24, suffered second and third-degree burns over more than 20% of his body, including his head, torso, arms and right leg. He also suffered a traumatic brain injury from lack of oxygen, the concussive force of the explosion and from the carbon monoxide poisoning.

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In the early morning hours of April 19, 2010, Chantel Jobes was driving a vehicle alone and left the southbound lane of Highway 11, crossed the northbound lane and crashed into a concrete railroad trestle. Jobes was seriously injured and filed a lawsuit against the Norfolk Southern Railway Co., the Mississippi Transportation Commission and the Mississippi Department of Transportation. The trial judge denied the defendants’ motion for summary judgment. The Supreme Court of Mississippi granted the defendants’ request for an interlocutory appeal and that court entered summary judgment in their favor.

Jobes was working at TGI Fridays in Hattiesburg, Miss., when she started her shift as the manager at 4 p.m. on April 18, 2010. She finished her shift at approximately 1:30 a.m. the morning of April 19 and then went directly to a 24/7 gym nearby to work out, which was her normal routine. After about an hour at the gym, she headed to a friend’s house to celebrate his birthday. She does not remember the party, but her friends told her that she “didn’t want to finish the cocktail drink [she] had,” and she wanted to go home.

Jobes left the birthday party and drove toward her home. The crash described above occurred about 4:42 a.m. on April 19. The weather was clear and dry, and the crash injuries were life-threatening. Jobes was driving with a suspended license and was legally intoxicated and also had prescription anti-anxiety medication in her system. Jobes testified at her deposition that she had worked 3 straight weeks without a day off up until the crash. She could not remember a time when she had been more stressed.

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A lawsuit was filed against the Chicago Zoological Society, which operates Brookfield Zoo, on land owned by the Cook County Forest Preserve District. The case was filed by Kristine O’Toole for injuries that she suffered when she fell because of an alleged defect in the pavement.

The defendant, the Chicago Zoological Society, which is a not-for-profit corporation, moved to dismiss the lawsuit under the Illinois Local Governmental and Governmental Employees Tort Immunity Act, which includes a shortened statute of limitations — that being one-year rather than two years for the usual tort claim. The shortened one-year deadline applies to “any not-for-profit corporation organized for the purpose of conducting public business.”

The Cook County judge granted the motion dismissing O’Toole’s case because she had not filed the lawsuit within the one-year statute of limitations from the date of her injury that the judge decided applied. She took an appeal claiming that the defendant did not qualify as a “local public entity” that would impose the one-year statute.

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On Aug. 2, 2005, Brandy Pirrello was a resident at Maryville Academy, a facility that houses and treats minors with behavioral problems. At the time, Brandy was 16 years old. She had been admitted to the facility in early 2005 and had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and was at risk of suicide or self-harm. On Aug. 2, 2005, Brandy leaped from her second-story window, landed on a cement patio and seriously injured herself.

On July 17, 2007, Brandy turned 18 years old. The day before, she filed a lawsuit against Maryville. Brandy claimed that Maryville had been negligent in choosing not to take precautions against the risk that she would try to hurt herself. Brandy was seeking compensation for the expenses that she incurred due to her hospitalization and related medical expenses.

However, the injury and the bulk of the expenses incurred between the ages of 16 and 18 and as such, fell under Illinois Family Expense Act. By the terms of the act, the responsibility for paying for Brandy’s medical care was her parents’ responsibility rather than Brandy herself. Therefore, her parents had the right to sue. Brandy’s parents did not join her as a plaintiff in the lawsuit. Brandy’s parents divorced when she was 8, and Brandy was on her father’s health insurance at the time of her injuries. Brandy’s father indicated at a deposition that he did not intend to be involved in her lawsuit.

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Robert Barnett, a homeowner, hired Dawson Construction LLC to do some home repair work. The work included climbing a ladder to get on the roof to make some repairs to it. Juan Garcia , a 43-year-old day laborer, was working for Dawson Construction at the time. Garcia was asked to work on the roof, which was wet.

Garcia climbed the ladder to the roof and then fell. He sustained multiple injuries, including cervical injuries at C3-4, a left elbow fracture and a fractured right knee cap (patella). Garcia underwent a number of surgeries related to his injuries and incurred approximately $118,300 in medical expenses.

He filed a lawsuit against the homeowner, Robert Barnett, claiming that he chose not to comply with state law by correctly evaluating Dawson Construction, which was not licensed or bonded, before hiring the contractor and insuring that the work at his home would be performed safely.

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