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Closed-Head Injuries

Beware of Delayed Onset Symptoms of Closed-Head Injuries

Many people erroneously believe that if they suffered a brain injury they’d know it or at least the responders treating them would pick up on it. This is not always the case, especially following a traffic accident when adrenaline often masks injuries, and you should be aware that symptoms of a brain injury can be delayed by hours or even days.

In a closed-head injury, brain tissue is damaged when force causes the brain to shift within the cranium. Damage results from shearing — that is, the tissue tearing as the brain shifts — and bruising as the brain strikes the wall of the skull. Motor vehicle collisions are the most common cause of closed-head injuries for teenagers and young adults. These injuries affect more than half a million Americans annually.

Many victims of this type of injury have immediate symptoms that are readily associated with traumatic brain injury, such as a headache or a feeling of pressure in the head, temporary loss of consciousness, confusion or “foggy” feeling, amnesia concerning the accident, dizziness, tinnitus, nausea or vomiting, slurred speech, delayed response to questions, and fatigue. However, according to the Mayo Clinic, many symptoms may only appear after a significant delay. These include:

 

  • Depression
  • Disrupted sleep
  • Irritability
  • Personality changes
  • Problems with concentration and memory
  • Sensitivity to light and noise
  • Taste and smell disorders

It is always best to seek immediate medical care after an accident. If for some reason you forego emergency care, you should see a doctor as soon as any of these delayed onset symptoms materialize. An untreated brain injury can have catastrophic consequences, especially if bleeding and swelling of the brain occur. We suggest that you have an MRI to get an accurate diagnosis.

After you’ve sought appropriate medical treatment, be sure to consult a personal injury attorney with specific experience in traumatic brain injury cases. To schedule a free initial consultationat the Law Offices of Brian deBrun, call us at [ln::phone] or contact our office online

Can Children Be Held Negligent for Their Own Injuries?

North Carolina is one of the few remaining states adhering to the law of pure contributory negligence. This is an all-or-nothing rule that bars an injured party from recovering compensation if he did anything to contribute to the cause of the injury. But what does the law say when the victim is a child? For example, if your daughter picks up a knife in a kitchen store and cuts herself severely, can the store be held responsible?

For purposes of contributory negligence, child plaintiffs fall into three categories according to age:

  • Younger than seven years
  • Seven years and older, but younger than 14
  • Fourteen years and older, but younger than 18

Children in the first category are legally incapable of negligence, and therefore cannot commit contributory negligence. A judge must forbid any discussion of the issue.

Children in the second category are presumed to be incapable of negligence, but the defendant can present evidence to rebut that presumption. The defendant would have to show that a reasonable child of that age would have the capacity to act carefully, based on the typical knowledge and experience of a youngster, but simply did not exercise the necessary care. This is a question of fact that the jury must decide.

Children in the third category are presumed to be capable of negligence, but they may present evidence to rebut that presumption. In this case, the plaintiff would have to show that a reasonable child of the plaintiff’s age would not have the discretion to act carefully under the circumstances in which the plaintiff was injured. Again, this is a question of fact for the jury.

Although the law presents opposite presumptions for children in the second and third age categories, the practical difference in almost negligible. The question remains the same: did the injured juvenile plaintiff act with age-appropriate care under the circumstances that led to the injury?

If you’re the parent of an injured child, be sure to consult an experienced personal injury attorney with specific knowledge of North Carolina’s contributory negligence statute and relevant case law. Call the Law Offices of Brian deBrun at [ln::phone] today or contact our office online to schedule a free initial consultation.

Charlotte Growth Leading to Greater Traffic Snarls and More Accidents?

Charlotte, North Carolina has enjoyed a period of growth since the bleak days of the most recent recession. Now it must contend with growing pains, as the boom in development has brought traffic congestion and an increased rate of auto accidents. Following the downturn of 2008, traffic accidents in Charlotte dropped, as fewer people were driving to work and high fuel costs limited motor traffic. The number of accidents in the city remained low until recently. According to The Charlotte Observer, the city recorded more than 23,000 collisions in 2014, which was up nine percent from the previous year and approaching prerecession levels.

Some see these traffic numbers as a return to normality, but others anticipate worse conditions in the future. The biggest reason for pessimism is the explosive growth of commercial and residential real estate in Charlotte. For example, 2,100 new apartments, two new office towers and two major mixed-use projects are currently planned for the SouthPark area. These plans lead many residents to wonder whether their neighborhood, already the home of the largest shopping mall in Charlotte, may become the next Buckhead, the Atlanta district north of downtown, which lost its residential character after a period of rapid commercial expansion in the 1980s.

The number of people working in SouthPark has more than doubled in the last 20 years. While this latest building boom will raise property values and bring additional amenities to the area, residents can’t help but be concerned about traffic snarling the neighborhood, creating congestion, adding pollution, overcrowding parking areas, and hampering their commutes. There are safety issues as well for the motorists and pedestrians who will inevitably see an increase in traffic accidents unless the city takes responsible steps to improve traffic flow.

The Law Offices of Brian deBrun is deeply rooted in the Charlotte community, and we fervently hope that city planners manage growth prudently for all concerned. Congestion is a quality-of-life issue that affects us all, and traffic accidents too often have tragic consequences. If you or a loved one is injured in an auto accident in the Charlotte area, theLaw Offices of Brian deBrun PLLC is ready to help. To schedule a free consultation, call us at [ln::phone] or contact our Charlotte office online.

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