Articles Posted in Wrongful Death

Published on:

It’s that time of year again when the county fair rolls into town offering fatty food, family fun, and frightening rides. We all know that the county fair can be fun, but is it safe. Not always, as evidence by yesterdays news.

Southern California law firms Berman & Riedel and Walton Law Firm recently settled an $8 million case on behalf of ride operator who suffered a traumatic brain injury while operating a ride at the San Diego County Fair. A ride passenger was also injured the accident.

Just yesterday, a 31-year-old woman name Sabrina Gordon died at the San Bernardino County Fair in Victorville while attempting to participate in a new attraction called FreeDrop USA. According to reports, the ride required individuals to climb up on a platform and jump into a large airbag. No ropes or harnesses are used.san+bernardino+death

According to witnesses, Ms. Gordon, a navy veteran, was planning on jumping from 28 feet high when she suddenly fell to the ground.

Ms. Gordon’s father Lyle Bell told ABC7 News, “You get professional stunt people that do these things. You don’t have ‘Joe Blow’ off the street for $15 jump out of a tower on an airbag. They’re letting people do this down there,” Bell said. “It’s their first year there, and sure enough, somebody gets killed, my daughter.”

Sheriff’s and OSHA are investigating the death, and the ride has been shut down indefinitely. The ride was operated by FD Event Co. LLC.

Walton Law Firm represents individual and families throughout Southern California in a variety of injury and death related cases, including cases of amusement park ride injuries at commercial parks and county fairs. For a free consultation about a case of any kind, please call (866) 607-1325.

Published on:

It is always scary to learn that we could be driving an automobile that was subject to a product recall. In the past months, millions of vehicles were affected by a Takata airbag recall, and according to a story from PBS Newshour, it looks as if that recall is only continuing to expand.

Were you been seriouAirbagsly injured in a car accident caused by a defective automobile product? It is important to know that you can file a lawsuit to hold the manufacturer liable for your injuries. Contact an experienced San Diego product liability lawyer today to find out more about how we can assist with your case.

Airbags Can Release Metal Shrapnel, Resulting in Fatal Injuries

The defective airbags involved in the urgent recalls involve at least seven different automakers. Indeed, Takata, the Japanese automobile parts manufacturer, provides airbags for many different types of cars, trucks, and SUVs. Back in October, the U.S. government issued “an immediate recall” for nearly 5 million vehicles that were installed with defective airbags. The airbags, in case you have not read about the serious dangers they can pose, “have released metal shrapnel during crashes that has led to the deaths of at least four people.”

Since the federal recall, the consumer website providing information about the vehicle identification numbers (VINs) of those cars implicated has not been working properly. As such, it is important to check your VIN directly to see if your automobile’s airbags could be defective. By early November, the numbers for potentially affected vehicles caught up in this recall looked like this:

  •      778,177 Toyota vehicles;
  •      2,803,214 Honda vehicles;
  •      437,712 Nissan vehicles;
  •      18,050 Mazda vehicles;
  •      573,935 BMW vehicles;
  •      133,221 General Motors vehicles.

As you can see, millions of American drivers are at risk of a serious or fatal injury resulting from the defective Takata airbags. And those numbers continue to grow.

Recall Numbers Grow, More Automakers and Models Implicated

By mid-November, the Takata airbag recall expanded to include more Honda vehicles. According to a report in Autoblog, investigators discovered that a pregnant woman in Malaysia suffered fatal injuries in a car accident when the airbag inflator ruptured. This victim’s case was the first to be reported outside the U.S., and it resulted in the additional recall of about 170,000 Honda vehicles in Europe and Asia. With these additional recalls, the total number of potentially affected vehicles grew to more than 14 million.

Meanwhile, vehicles manufactured by Ford Motor Co. were also added to the list. A report from Automotive News indicated that Ford pickup trucks across the country may have defective Takata Corp. airbags installed in them. The recent death in Malaysia actually alerted the automaker and manufacturer to a previously unknown defect in the airbags. As such, Ford will be adding its 2004 and 2005 model year trucks to the list of Takata recalls, and it will replace both the passenger airbags and the driver’s-side airbags.

If you or a loved one sustained severe or fatal injuries in an accident caused by a defective product, you deserve to be compensated. You may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit and should contact a San Diego defective product attorney to discuss your case.

Image Credit: DodgertonSkillhause via morgueFile

See Related Blog Posts:

Do Product Recalls Prevent Consumer Injury?

More GM Recalls Amidst Release of Defect Report

Published on:

When automobile drivers tafile000911994102ke their eyes off the road or experience distractions, serious and fatal accidents can occur.  Indeed, according to a recent report from NBC San Diego, a woman suffered fatal injuries after she was struck by an automobile while unloading her car “along a busy La Jolla street.”  The pedestrian accident occurred in the late morning on Girard Avenue, just across the street from Nosh Delicatessen and Orange Theory Fitness, the article reported.

Elderly Driver Strikes Victim

How did the accident happen?  According to reports, the victim, a 45-year-old woman who was a resident of La Jolla, was pinned between her own parked car and the vehicle of the elderly driver who caused the collision.  The driver, a 91-year-old, “backed out of a nearby parking spot on the west side of the street, crossed into the other side, and rammed into the woman,” according to San Diego Police Department Sergeant Joe A. Benavidas.

Benavidas emphasized that the 91-year-old driver stayed at the scene after the collision to answer questions from the police.  While the accident remains under investigation, the San Diego Police Department believes that “speed likely played a factor.”

This part of Girard Avenue—around the 7700 block—is particularly busy.  According to residents of the area, the street often produces “a difficult dance in the afternoons between shoppers and heavy traffic.”  One resident, Justin Rowley, told NBC San Diego that the intersection of Silverado and Girard, near to the victim’s fatal accident, “is always busy with foot traffic and cars.”  As such, if you are a pedestrian, “you always have to watch what you are doing when you are walking across the street.”

Filing a Wrongful Death Claim in California

When you lose a loved one due to the negligence or wrongful act of another person, you may be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit.  What is a wrongful death claim?  It is a civil lawsuit that is brought by the survivors of a person who sustained fatal injuries because of another person’s negligence or bad behavior.

A wrongful death claim is a lot like a personal injury lawsuit in that it allows for recovery of damages following a serious accident and injury.  Here is another way to think about it: if the deceased person had lived, she or he would have been able to file a wrongful death claim to seek compensation for injuries.  Since the deceased died as a result of those injuries, the survivors can step in and file a wrongful death claim on behalf of the deceased person.

California law specifies that only certain people are eligible to file a wrongful death claim.  Typically, the following people are the ones to bring a lawsuit for another person’s wrongful death:

  •      Surviving spouse;
  •      Surviving children;
  •      Surviving domestic partner.

If the deceased person does not have a surviving spouse, domestic partner, or children, then the following people are the likely ones to file a wrongful death claim:

  •      Surviving parents of the deceased;
  •      Surviving siblings;
  •      Children of deceased siblings;
  •      Surviving grandparents;
  •      Persons who financially depended upon the deceased person.

Pedestrians who sustain severe and life-threatening injuries in traffic collisions may be eligible for compensation.  If you have lost a loved one in a dangerous pedestrian accident, you should speak to an experienced San Diego injury lawyer about filing a wrongful death claim.

Photo Credit: xandert via morgueFile

See Related Blog Posts:

Fatal Nighttime Diving Accidents

Patients at Risk of Injury in Smaller Military Hospitals


Published on:

Although the weather is beginning to cool down around the country, diving remains a popular sport in Southern California.  Indeed, lobster diving takes place with frequency at this time of year.  However, fatal diving accidents occur too often, and many of these deadly accidents are preventable.  If you lost a loved one in a diving-related incident, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim.

Deadly Diving Accident Near Cfile000316008356atalina

According to a recent article in CBS’s KUTV2, a vacationing physician was recently identified as the victim of a deadly diving accident off the coast of Orange County.  The victim, Jared Royer, 40, was on a lobster-diving vacation with a group of other physicians.  Royer’s brother-in-law indicated that it was an annual trip, and Royer “was an experienced diver who had been on several similar trips with his colleagues in previous years,” according to a report in The Spectrum.  The group was diving in Emerald Bay late in the evening, and around 11p.m., the other physicians noticed that Royer had not returned to the boat.

Royer was an anesthesiologist, and he worked in the operating room and birthing center at a Southern Utah hospital.  In addition to his work and prior diving experience, he was an “accomplished triathlete” who had also run the Boston Marathon.

What happened off the coast of Orange County, then?  While autopsy results are pending, early indications suggest that Royer “may have run out of air and made a rapid ascent.”  The accident happened on the third day of Royer’s dive, and according to the other physicians in the group, he was in about 110 feet of water at the time of the incident.

Royer made it to the surface and called for help, but the other divers could not locate him afterward.  After nearly 70 hours in which search and rescue officials from Los Angeles County attempted to locate him, including the Los Angeles County Fire Department dive team, divers from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office, and the U.S. Coast Guard, Royer’s body was found nearly 100 feet underwater at around 11:30a.m.

Diving Accident Trend in Southern California

Since lobster season began on September 27th, Southern California has experienced a striking number of diving-related deaths.  While diving fatalities are more common among inexperienced divers or those with existing medical conditions, these dangerous accidents can happen to anyone.

As of October 2nd, five deaths were already been reported, according to Fox 5 San Diego.  Four of those deaths occurred at night during lobster-diving excursions, and one of the deaths resulted from a diver’s medical complications.  Royer was the fifth fatality reported in just about a week’s time.

What are the primary causes of diving fatalities?  According to statistics from the Diver’s Alert Network (DAN), the following represent the top three causes of death resulting from diving accidents:

  •      A pre-existing medical condition in the diver (such as a disease or other pathology);
  •      Poor buoyancy control;
  •      Rapid ascent or violent movement in the water.

While the overall risk of death during scuba diving is low (only 1 in every 211,000 divers suffers a fatal injury, according to the DAN), nighttime diving in Southern California can prove deadly.  If you lost a loved one in a diving accident, do not hesitate to contact an experienced San Diego wrongful death lawyer.  You may qualify for compensation.

Photo Credit: heirbornstud via morgueFile

See Related Blog Posts:

Boating Race Accident Fatality

Six Children Suffer Near-Drowning Accidents Over a Two-Day Span

Published on:

Many Californians are wondering about the outcome of a ballot initiative to raise the damages cap in medical malpractice claims. If the proposed legislation goes through, California residents who sustain injuries because of medical negligence will be eligible to obtain up to $1.1 million in certain compensatory damages, as opposed to the current cap at $250,000. But what types of medical errors usually result in medical malpractice lawsuits?

Small and Underused Militarfile000850100179y Hospitals

According to a recent article in the New York Times, military hospitals that care for about 1.35 million active-duty service members and their families show “signals of failing in a system” of care.  What is wrong with these hospitals? Investigators for the New York Times identified two major issues.

The first issue was size. The hospitals are so small, and so few patients use them, that “it compromises the ability of doctors and nurses to capably diagnose and treat serious illnesses.”

The second issue was underuse. About two-thirds of military hospitals served only 30 patients or fewer per day in 2013, and many served 10 or fewer patients each day. To put this number in perspective, the highest number of inpatients is still “less than a third as many as the typical civilian hospital. That means about half the beds in these military hospitals remain vacant on a daily basis.

According to Dr. Lucian L. Leape, a patient safety expert at the Harvard School of Public Health, these hospitals “should be outlawed.” The Pentagon is planning to scale back on the military hospital system, thus encouraging patients who would otherwise enter the doors for surgery or treatment for a serious illness to visit a civilian hospital instead. What will happen to the hospitals? Many will be converted into outpatient clinics or birthing centers.

Medical Errors and High Rates of Patient Injury

The New York Times report emphasizes the serious problems these hospitals experience in relation to maternity patients and birth injuries or birth defects. The following birth injuries occur with much more frequently at military hospitals:

  • Trauma to the infant during birth: 95 percent higher risk at a military hospital than a civilian hospital;
  • Postpartum hemorrhage: 43 percent higher risk, on average, at a military hospital;
  • Shoulder dystocia and resulting harm in the infant: 40 percent high risk on average;
  • Maternal trauma with instruments: 22 percent higher risk at a military hospital than at a civilian hospital.

Birth-related injuries are not the only ones that patients are at risk for at military hospitals. The article also demonstrates higher rates of injury during even routine surgeries, such one to correct a hiatal hernia. Although more than 25,000 Americans undergo this surgery each year, one patient at military hospitals lost her stomach as a result of a medical error. Another example involves the six-year-old son of a Navy officer who suffered fatal injuries after receiving improper treatment at a California military hospital.

Some commentators suggest these high rates of injury are caused by a lack of training for young doctors at these facilities. Other suggest that limited financial resources are to blame.

If you or a loved one suffered personal injuries because of a medical professional’s negligence, it is important to talk with an experienced San Diego medical malpractice lawyer. Given the recent focus on raising the damages cap, you may be eligible to receive substantial compensation for your injuries.

Photo Credit: taliesin via morgueFile

See Related Blog Posts:

Medical Error Prevention and Medical Malpractice Legislation

San Diego Medical Malpractice and NFL Drug Abuse Claims

Published on:

The summer months increase the risk of childhood drowning. The weather is at its warmest, and many people in the San Diego area enjoy swimming at the beach and in pools throughout the area. However, it is extremely important to keep a close eye on children when they are near the water to prevent drowning accidents. According to arecent article from San Diego News 6, the last week of August saw six near-fatal child drownings in San Diego County.

According to Oseana Bratton, file2041245784619a nurse at Rady Children’s Hospital, “six cases of young children nearly drowning in a 48-hour period may seem like a lot, but it’s not that uncommon this time of year, and there’s plenty more hot weather ahead.” Are parents and caregivers keeping an appropriately watchful eye?

One-year-old Gabriel Clark, his four-year-old sister, and the children’s nanny were swimming in a neighbor’s pool in Oceanside. According to the article, “it was just another day for his parents, both of them at work, until his mom Karen got a heart-stopping text.” The nanny texted Gabriel’s mother with a “terrifying text” that simply said “please call me.” The nanny had placed Gabriel in a flotation device—“the kind where his feet were in the water.” Karen told San Diego News 6 that the nanny reportedly “turned away for just a few seconds to help four-year-old Mia jump into the pool.”

In the brief moment during which the nanny turned her attention away from young Gabriel, he “had just tried to get out, so he wasn’t totally out, but his head was submerged,” according to the victim’s mother. When the nanny removed Gabriel from the water, “he was blue and not breathing.” The nanny performed CPR on Gabriel. When emergency medical responders arrived, Gabriel was breathing on his own again.

Though Gabriel was okay in the end, secondary drowning can be a serious—and often deadly—result of a near-drowning. As a precaution, Gabriel stayed in the pediatric intensive care unit at Rady Children’s Hospital overnight.

Unintentional Drownings: Keeping Kids Safe

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately ten people suffer fatal drowning injuries each day in the U.S. About 20 percent of those victims are kids under the age of 15. The CDC emphasizes that drowning is the fifth-leading cause of unintentional injury death in our country. Those figures do not include people who die in boating-related accidents.

To prevent unintentional drownings, it is important to know the risk factors:

  • Males are much more likely than females to die from drowning. In fact, about 80 percent of fatal drowning victims are males.
  • Children between the ages of one and four years old are at greatest risk of drowning. About one-third of accident related fatalities of children in that age group are caused by drowning.

According to the CDC, important prevention measures include the following:

  • Learn to swim, or ensure that your children have swimming skills before you go near or into the water;
  • Learn CPR;
  • Wear a lifejacket or other flotation device;
  • Always make sure children are supervised when they are in the water or around water;
  • Teach children to use the buddy system when in the pool or at the beach;
  • Always avoid drinking alcohol before swimming.

If your child died in a drowning accident, it is important to talk to an experienced San Diego wrongful death attorney. Contact the Walton Law Firm to learn how we can assist you.

Photo Credit: taylorschlades via morgueFile

See Related Blog Posts:

Child Drowning Accident in San Diego

Child Pool Drowning Figures Released by Consumer Product Safety Commission

Published on:

Last week, two teenagers were involved in a serious train accident in Marysville, California, according to an article in the San Luis Obispo Tribune.  The transit accident resulted in the death of one of the teens, Mateus Moore, and serious injuries to the other, Mickayla Friend.  The young high school couple had been on their way to a school dance when they were struck by an oncoming freight train.  Friend remains in critical condition in the Sutter Roseville Medical Center, according to a spokesperson for the hospital.

Train tracks

Train accidents can be very serious and often are life-threatening.  It’s very important to take steps to ensure your own safety, and that of others, when you’re walking near train tracks.  If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a dangerous transit accident, it’s important to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer.  In some cases, the train conductor or the train company may have been negligent. Contact the Walton Law Firm today to discuss your case.  You may be able to file a wrongful death claim.

Details of the Train Accident

On the Friday night of a Sadie Hawkins dance, Moore and Friend were walking southbound on the train tracks, which, according to KCRA-TV, was the same direction in which a Union Pacific freight train was traveling.  Witnesses at the scene indicated that the train engineer blew the horn and even activated the emergency brakes, “but the two kids didn’t move out of the way in time.”

Based on witness reports, Moore pushed Friend out of the way of the oncoming train, saving her life, according to an article in the New York Daily News.  Sean Stark, one of the witnesses, told the newspaper that “the engineer was on the horn when finally, they both looked back at the same time.”  According to Stark, “they would have both been underneath that train if he didn’t push her out of the way at the last second.”

The accident occurred close to the high school and nearby to a crowded little league park in Marysville.  Witnesses rushed to the scene of the accident to try to save the two teenagers.  Moore died at the scene, and Friend was airlifted to Sutter Roseville Medical Center.

Authorities currently are investigating the accident, and are “looking into whether the pair was distracted by headphones or something else with the accident occurred.”  A spokesperson for Union Pacific indicated that it “takes more than a mile for a train to stop,” explaining why the emergency brakes couldn’t halt the train before it crashed into the teenagers.

Train and Transit Safety

How can you stay safe around trains and tracks?  According to the Rail Safety Education network, there are some important tips to remember when you’re a passenger on a light rail or commuter train, as well as when you’re walking or driving near train tracks.  These safety tips include:

·      Keeping alert: it’s important to remember that trains can come from both directions of a track, and in many cases, they’re quite quiet.

·      Obeying warning signs: since passerby often don’t hear trains coming, it’s especially important to abide the warning signs and signals, and to be especially careful if you’re wearing headphones or talking on a cell phone.

·      Watching out for the overhang: since trains are wider than train tracks, it’s very dangerous to sit on the edge of a platform at the station.

·      Watching your step: when you get on or off a train, there’s often a gap that can lead to a fall.

·      Only crossing the tracks where it’s legal: directional signs and safety warnings are in place for a reason—if you cross the tracks or walk along the tracks in any place except a designated crossing zone, you could be risking your life.

If your loved one has been injured or killed in an accident or has sustained a catastrophic injury, a San Diego accident lawyer can talk with you today about your case.

See Related Blog Posts:

Rail Safety Campaign Launches in California

Multi-Vehicle Crash Involving Train

Photo Credit: carnagenyc via Compfight cc

Published on:

Four Major Bus Crashes in December

Rainy weather in Southern California has made the highways slick and dangerous. Currently, four serious bus crashes have occurred on the California highways in the last month. Some commentators believe the rainy weather contributed significantly to the crashes.


A tour bus on its way to Valley View Casino, just north of San Diego, crashed and caused serious injuries and one fatality, according to an article in Reuters. The bus accident injured more than 20 passengers when it overturned near Fallbrook in the middle of the afternoon, reported California Highway Patrol Office Jim Bettencourt. According to the article, the bus passengers were older adults on a casino excursion. The crash victims were transported to nearby hospitals, where their injuries were reported as “ranging from minor to serious.” In the hours after the accident, the cause of the charter bus crash remained under investigation.

Similar accidents have occurred since, making for a total of four very serious bus accidents in Southern California in the month of December alone. For example, every passenger on a 30-passengers bus sustained injuries “when it spun out near Corona,” according to an officer on the scene. Many of these passengers suffered minor injuries, “but several were taken to area hospitals with moderate injuries,” reported Reuters. One of those passengers later died from his injuries, according to an article in the Huffington Post. This bus had been on its way from Orange County to a casino in the San Diego area. This crash, too, remains under investigation, but one of the police officers on the scene indicated that “rain might be a factor.”

Does rain often cause serious bus accidents and traffic crashes? Travis Monks, a California Highway Patrol Officer, emphasized that drivers need to take extra precaution when it’s raining in Southern California. According to Monks, “the roadway was wet at the time of the accident.” Rain may also have been a factor in a Riverside County accident in which a Riverside Transit Agency bus “slid sideways and hit a car traveling in the opposite direction,” according to the Huffington Post.

Just a few days later, the Huffington Post reported that a tour bus heading north from a San Diego-area casino crashed off a freeway east of Los Angeles. In this bus accident, the vehicle crashed just after 4:30 a.m. when it careened off an I-10 shoulder. According to the article in the Huffington Post, “the bus wheels went into a small drainage ditch and it came to a rest against a fence and light pole.” The bus had been carrying 40 passengers, and 13 sustained injuries. Of those victims, only two reported moderate injuries, while eleven reported minor injuries.

While investigators haven’t yet determined with certainty whether slick roadways caused these accidents, the slippery highways combined with the speed of the buses likely played a role.

Rainy Highways Can Cause Serious Accidents

Is bus travel safe after heavy California rain? According to the Federal Highway Administration’s Road Weather Management Program, precipitation can significantly impact roadway safety. For instance, rain can lessen visibility distance, and it can cause pavement friction and lane obstruction. In addition, precipitation can negatively affect vehicle performance and driver behavior.

If you or a loved one has recently suffered injuries in a bus accident, you may be eligible for financial compensation. It’s important to speak to an experienced California bus accident lawyer. Contact us today to discuss your claim.

Photo Credit: pantranco_bus via Compfight cc

See Related Blog Posts:
Federal Safety Regulators Shut Down 52 Bus Companies
Hot Air Balloon Accident Leaves Four Injured

Published on:

Bus accidents happen with some frequency in California, and such mass transit accidents can be especially dangerous. An article in the Huffington Post reported that federal bus safety regulators recently shut down 52 companies due to poor safety records and failures to meet certain standards. In southern California, buses are not only responsible for transporting San Diego residents on daily commutes through the city, but they also provide transportation for school students and senior citizens. And when these buses aren’t safe, victims can sustain severe injuries.


In California, there’s a statute of limitations for filing a bus accident injury claim. In our state, under California Code of Civil Procedure §335.1, you must file a lawsuit within two years from the date of your accident. If you have been injured in a bus accident, it is extremely important to speak to an experienced California bus accident lawyer.

Motor Coach Industry Statistics

Each year, buses carry about 700 million passengers—that number is pretty similar to the number of yearly passengers on domestic airlines. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, fatal motorcoach crashes don’t happen very frequently. However, when these dangerous accidents occur, statistics suggest that there’s no single factor at work.

For instance, between 1996-2005, the NHTSA conducted research on different types of motorcoach accidents and the related number of fatalities. The study showed that about one-third of the crashes were rollover or turnover crashes, in which passengers often were ejected from the bus. Of the remaining crashes, about one-third resulted from roadside accidents. Then, about one-fourth resulted from multi-vehicle crashes, with the remainder occurring in “non collision” situations. One statistic has remained constant, however: passengers are injured and suffer fatalities much more frequently than drivers when bus crashes occur.

Details of the Federal Shut Downs
One of the most surprising features of the recent government bus company shut downs is that these companies aren’t likely offenders. As the Huffington Post article explains, “the companies aren’t just low-cost, fly-by-night carriers.” In fact, according to Anne S. Ferro, the administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), some of these companies have been chartered for school trips and by many different reputable organizations.

The FMCSA began its investigations back in April, looking into about 250 motor coach companies that had “poor safety records.” This set of investigations was known as “Operation Quick Strike,” a project that resulted in part from crashes in bus companies that were known to have “dismal safety records,” the Huffington Post reported.

The FMCSA’s inspectors took a close look at more than 1,300 buses, and they ended up taking 340 of those buses “off the road, at least temporarily.”

Some of the violations included safety problems, as well as maintenance standard violations. In addition, some of the companies violated the “hours of service” rules that prevent bus drivers from being on the road for too long without a taking break.

The FMCSA has faced scrutiny from other federal agencies following fatal bus accidents in California and elsewhere in the U.S., and the recent inspections are intended to correct the problems that might have led to those dangerous accidents. If you or a loved one has been injured in a bus accident, you will need experienced legal counsel on your side. Contact an experienced bus accident attorney at the Walton Law Firm today.

Photo Credit: Chοkz via Compfight cc

See Related Blog Posts:
Rail Safety Campaign Launches in California
North County Bus Accident Injures Eight

Published on:

Medical research involving brain damage has increased dramatically in the past few years, and researchers have begun to learn more about the long-term effects of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). Recent studies reported in U.S. News & World Report suggest that athletes and soldiers may be at even greater risk of memory loss and harmful behavioral changes than originally thought. While the Brain Injury Association of California and other advocacy groups engage in awareness work throughout our state, brain injuries continue to plague many California residents.


If you or a loved one have suffered a mild or severe brain injury, it’s important to speak to an experienced California brain injury lawyer. In many cases, another person’s negligence may have caused your injury, and you may be eligible to seek compensation.

Brain Scans and Alzheimer’s-Like Symptoms

A November article in U.S. News & World Report reported on new brain injury research that showed a link between TBIs and later-life memory problems. The study appeared in JAMA Neurology. It used new brain imaging technology that’s known as positron emission tomography (PET), and the study revealed that persons who had suffered a traumatic brain injury even early in life developed certain “plaques” in their brains that mimicked those typically seen in Alzheimer’s patients. These plaques are amyloid deposits, and according to the study’s author, Dr. David Menron, “these deposits can show up within hours of the blow to the head.”

Previous studies had emphasized a possible link between TBIs and memory problems down the road, but there remains no definite link between the two. Even the results from the new brain scan technology need to undergo further scrutiny. According to Menon, “patients can be imaged with PET to detect early amyloid deposition, and then followed up to see whether this early amyloid deposition resolves, whether it recurs, and how these processes relate to later cognitive mental decline.”

This new research can tell us, however, that harder blows to the head do result in more Alzheimer’s-like plaque in the brain. Menon explained, the “greater the blow to the dead, the more amyloid plaque accumulation and dementia risk was seen.” While this study didn’t include athletes, on average the participants were in their 30s. The connection between younger brains and dangerous amyloid deposits strikes other researchers as particularly relevant to many different brain injuries in athletes and other younger adults. Indeed, a former sideline physician with the N.Y. Jets emphasized that “this type of imaging may potentially play a role in helping to understand how traumatic brain injury affects the brain and serve as a marker to evaluate such patients over the long term.”

Even Mild Brain Injuries Produce Long-Term Effects

The PET study makes clear that there’s a potential connection between memory loss and TBIs. Another recent study from HealthDay News suggested that even mild brain injuries produce long-term effects. Studying soldiers who suffered brain injuries from blasts, the new research revealed that a “special type of MRI called diffusion tensor imaging” highlights the changes salient changes in the brain.

Previously, medical professionals found it difficult to study mild brain injuries caused by explosions, as standard CT and MRI scans couldn’t provide sufficient information for researchers to determine brain problems later in life. Now, the new MRI technology has shown “significant differences in the brain’s white matter” in veterans who have experienced minor brain injuries. This part of the brain “consists mostly of signal-carrying nerve fibers,” and changes within it are “linked with attention problems, delayed memory and poorer psychomotor test scores.”

What’s the key takeaway here? Equipped with new medical technology, medical researchers are beginning to discover that both mild and severe brain injuries, whether one-time or recurring, can produce serious long-term effects. If you or a loved one have sustained a brain injury, you should seek legal counsel. You may be eligible for financial compensation, and the California brain injury attorneys at the Walton Law Firm can discuss your case with you today.

Photo Credit: Sarah G… via Compfight cc

See Related Blog Posts:
California Workers’ Comp Panel Rejects Brain Injury Claim
Personality Changes and Traumatic Brain Injuries