New Hope for Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Patients

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)Traumatic brain injury (TBI) has been designated as the signature injury of the recent conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, and as a result many injured soldiers and their families suffer in silence. In response to the need, the US military is now funding new research and has established multiple centers for those soldiers with traumatic brain injuries to receive effective therapies to rebuild and reroute their neurological pathways in the hope returning to work and building a better future.

Though most of the traumatic brain injury cases we handle are the result of vehicle and work accidents, hazardous military duty and sports activities also often lead to traumatic brain injuries (TBI).  Injury to the brain is usually the first injury to occur, and the last to be diagnosed.  Thanks to new funding by the US military and the NFL, more hope, treatments, and tests are available to help heal the wounds.

Symptoms of TBI involve a wide range of symptoms including vomiting, persistent headaches, sensitivity to light, memory loss, mood disorders, inability to focus, slow reaction time, dizziness, depression, blurred vision, and loss of balance.

On the leading edge of TBI research are studies concerning the use of Omega-3 fatty acids and new cognitive therapies designed to reroute and stimulate neurological pathways where healthy parts of the brain can compensate by learning to handle new functions.  Rest augmented by a battery of mental exercises involving memory drills, math, and hand-eye coordination can help a brain accomplish neuroplasticity, a term which means that the brain repairs, regenerates, and reconnects.

Source:  http://www.worldmag.com/2012/12/broken_brains/page1

NFL Supports Brain Health Research

In January of 2013, the results of the examination of the brain of the former NFL player, Junior Seau, were published indicating that Seau’s brain was found to be clearly damaged by the repeated blows inherent to football.  Prior to his death by suicide, he had been diagnosed with degenerative brain disease.   Results of an NIH study of Seau’s brain revealed abnormalities consistent with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a severe problem experienced by dozens of top football players.

The NFL may be facing thousands of lawsuits right now from former players who say that they were not protected or informed enough about the result of concussion.  In response, The NFL, both directly and in partnership with the NIH, Centers for Disease Control and other leading organizations, is supporting a wide range of independent medical and scientific research that will both address CTE and promote the long-term health and safety of athletes at all levels.

Read More  http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/nfl/news/20130110/junior-seau-brain-disease-cte.ap/#ixzz2Hb6czY43

PET Scans and Chemical Markers Can Identify Progression of Brain Diseases in Athletes

More and more, researchers have speculated a connection between sports-related concussions and mild traumatic brain injuries with the development of degenerative brain diseases later in life – most notably chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and even Alzheimer’s disease.

Previously, the only way to confirm a connection between repetitive brain injury and these debilitating brain conditions was through an autopsy.

But now, there may be a new way to identify or track the progression of these brain diseases while a current or former athlete is still alive.

For the first time, researchers from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) have utilized positron emission tomography (PET) scans and a newly developed chemical marker called FDDNP to do brain imaging tests on five retired NFL players. The new imaging technique ultimately revealed the buildup of the abnormal tau protein, which has been associated with repetitive head trauma, as well as the onset of Alzheimer’s.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/01/22/new-scanning-technique-reveals-proof-brain-damage-in-living-retired-nfl-players/#ixzz2IorY31kK

New Research Indicates Omega-3 May be Part of the Answer

Brain Health Education and Research Institute was founded by Dr. Michael Lewis in 2011 to pursue educational and research endeavors to further knowledge of natural and nutritional ways to improve brain health. The initial focus of the Institute is educating providers and the public on the use of omega-3 fatty acids for the prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation of the brain prior to or following injury such as traumatic brain injury or concussion. With Dr. Lewis’ 30-plus years of military experience, a special emphasis is working towards improving the care and outcomes of our military personnel and veterans who have experienced psychological or physical trauma to the brain.

Dr. Lewis is a pioneer in the use of omega-3 for concussion and TBI – a simple, yet profound concept. Everyone is different, but his theory is if the basic building blocks of the brain aren’t present, the brain is going to have a more difficult and longer time putting the pieces back together. Here is something essential to know:

According to Dr. Lewis, there is no cure for concussion and TBI.  All medical providers can do is optimize the conditions to help the brain do the healing. That is what using omega-3’s will do. It provides a tool, the basic building block, for the brain’s healing.

Source:  http://www.brainhealtheducation.org/resources/advances-in-tbi-management/

Omega-3 Aids Brain Recovery of Randal McCloy, Survivor of the Sago Mine Disaster

 

Neurosurgeon Dr. Julian Bailes is often at the cutting edge of the latest treatments for people with brain injuries. Former NFL players and other notable people with brain injuries—including Randal McCloy Jr., the sole surviving miner in the 2006 Sago Mine disaster in West Virginia—have received his care.  Dr. Oz talks with Dr. Bailes about how he used omega-3 fatty acids, a common nutritional supplement, to aid in Randal’s brain recovery.

On January 2, 2006, the nation was captivated by efforts to rescue 13 men who were trapped in the Sago coal mine explosion. While news sources initially reported that all 13 men were alive, tragically it was only Randal who survived. After more than 40 hours of exposure to carbon monoxide, Randal was entrusted into the care of many doctors, including Dr. Bailes. “He’s had a massive heart attack from the carbon monoxide exposure, he was in kidney failure, liver failure, he was dehydrated, he was hypothermic and he was in the deepest of coma,” he says. “We didn’t have anything promising.”

Soon though, Dr. Bailes says he and the other doctors were confident they could save Randal’s life, but it was uncertain if his brain would recover from its extensive injuries. Randal was given three hypobaric oxygen treatments, but Dr. Bailes says there was no drug available that could help repair his damaged brain. “Since there was no drug to do it … why don’t we give him what his brain was made from in the first place, when he was an embryo in his mother’s womb?” Dr. Bailes says. That substance was omega-3 fatty acids. “Omega-3 fatty acids—EPA and DHA—[are] what people commonly would call fish oil, but we gave him a super variety in extremely high doses, up to 19 grams a day that we delivered to him in a liquid form through his tube that was in his stomach,” he says.

As Randal’s brain functions started to improve, Dr. Bailes recorded his findings and now says people suffering from minor to severe brain injuries can benefit greatly from omega-3s. “Consider this as a nutritional supplement, if you will, for their recovery, which I think has very profound effects on the brain,” he says. While Randal was the first known person with brain injuries to be treated with omega-3s, Dr. Bailes says he won’t likely be the last. And, Dr. Bailes says everyone can benefit from the supplement—in fact, he says he takes 800 milligrams of algae-based DHA a day.

Randal McCloy has gone on to live a normal life in a small town in West Virginia, and has become the father of two children since the Sago coal mine disaster.

Source:  http://www.oprah.com/health/Amazing-Omega-3s#ixzz1qQPdLsKe

US Army Funds Three-year study of Omega-3’s Effect on Brain Health

Research published last year by Brain Health Education and Research Institute’s Michael Lewis, MD, in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry reported that active duty military with lower blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids were 62% more likely to have committed suicide compared to those with higher levels.  In October, 2012, the military announced they are funding a three-year study to do just that. In cooperation with the NIH, researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina led by Bernadette Marriott, PhD, a professor in the Clinical Neuroscience Division of the Institute of Psychiatry, will test whether omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oils can relieve the anxieties and quiet the suicidal thoughts plaguing many combat veterans.

“The potential good versus the potential extraordinarily low risk and low cost make this a type of intervention that can be – if findings are warranted – rolled out extremely fast and on a large scale,” said Dr. Ron Acierno, a co-investigator on the project at USC. “Omega-3s are among the primary fatty acids in the brain… They’re responsible for neural generation and neural repair – for new neurons to be made and for broken ones to be fixed.”According to Dr. Hibbeln, “Research conducted in our lab [at the NIH] during the last 20 years points to a fundamental role for omega-3 fatty acids in protecting against major depression, substance abuse and other problems. Here we hope to be successful in understanding if omega-3 may play a role in reducing risk of severe suicidal behaviors among U.S. military veterans.”

Source:  http://www.brainhealtheducation.org/category/all-articles/

New Tests for Brain Injuries

If research by the Army and Cleveland Clinic is successful, then diagnosis for brain injury could include an inexpensive blood test. Medical researchers are developing a test that will determine the presence of a protein that is released into the bloodstream after a person suffers a brain injury.

Researchers are currently testing their findings by analyzing the blood of college football, hockey, and soccer players to even diagnose concussions.  Current methods of diagnosing brain injury involve the use of a CT scanner. These scans are expensive and may also fail to detect slight bleeding and other signs of a brain injury.

The military has also ordered nearly 50,000 sensor helmets with the ability to measure severity of blows to the head and to detect for possible concussions.  The NFL is partnering with the military to place similar sensors in the helmets of professional football players.

Research indicates that the potential for serious lifelong traumatic brain injury is increased greatly if a subsequent head injury occurs a short time after a concussion, so a quick and inexpensive means of determining mild brain injuries could be a lifesaver for military personnel, workers, children, and sports participants.

Source:  http://www.worldmag.com/2012/12/broken_brains

Jeff Robinette, Experienced Brain Injury Litigation Attorney

As a lawyer who has helped victims of TBI navigate and receive substantial settlements from insurance companies, my great hope for these injury victims is that they would be able move forward with their lives and receive the best care and treatment available.  Kudos to those who are at the forefront of this helpful new research designed to overcome TBI and help those people function in a manner close to that of their pre-injury selves.

Submitted by the Robinette Legal Group, PLLC, West Virginia Injury Lawyers. Free books for WV accident victims — Call us today: 304-216-6695 or 304-594-1800 for your free copy of Righting the Wrong: WV Serious Injury Guide; Collision Care: WV Auto Injury Guide; or Beside Still Waters: WV Fatal Injury Guide for Families. We are glad to answer your questions.

 

 

Injured in WV? Get the Facts.

Free Books for WV Accident Victims:

Beside Still WatersRighting the WrongsCollision Care

Click on book image for immediate download, or if you are a WV injury victim, call 1-304-594-1800 or email our office today to have a soft cover book sent to your home at no cost or obligation to you.

Collision Care: A Guide for West Virginia Accident Victims will give you the basic facts that you must know in order to make the best decisions for your present and future circumstances and to help you achieve the best result possible regarding your injury claim. (87 pages)

Righting the Wrong: West Virginia Serious Injury Guide provides serious injury victims and their families essential information about the insurance claims process to enable them to maximize their efforts to rebuild their lives. (161 pages)

Beside Still Waters: West Virginia Fatal Injury Guide provides surviving family members the information they need in order to pick up the pieces of their lives to enable them to rebuild a financial future for themselves and their children. (123 pages)

Click on a book cover image for a free immediate download, or if you are an injury victim or family member, call our office today to have a soft cover copy sent to your home. Due to limited availability, there is a limit of one book per family.

All of these books can also be purchased on Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble for $16.95 each, plus shipping, but if you act now, Jeff will send it to you at No Cost or obligation.

Some of the useful information you will find in these books:

  • What Are My Legal Rights?
  • What Is Legal Liability?
  • What Is Comparative Fault? What happens if we were both at fault?
  • How Do I Prove My Claim? What documentation must I provide?
  • For What Damages May I Receive Compensation?
  • Do I Really Need A Lawyer? How to choose the right lawyer for your case.
  • Can I Afford A Lawyer?
  • Financial Motivation Of The Insurance Company – to minimize their pay-outs and maximize their own profit.
  • What is a wrongful death?
  • Statements and Authorizations – Think twice and get advice before you sign that release!
  • Social Media Traps and insurance company surveillance of your activities.
  • Spoliation of Evidence , vehicle salvage issues.
  • And much, much more!

Bonus Information: The Anatomy of a Real-life Injury Case and 10 Ways to Ruin Your Case

Our Mission
Morgantown lawyer and principal attorney, Jeff Robinette, shares what he believes is the mission of the Robinette Legal Group, PLLC. The primary objective of a personal injury law firm is to help the average person who has been the victim of negligence against the powerful resources of the insurance industry.

About the Author:

Jeffery L RobinetteJeffery Robinette is a personal injury lawyer with decades of insurance litigation and trial experience in personal injury and wrongful death claims. Prior to representing injured individuals exclusively, Mr. Robinette was a partner in a major West Virginia law firm where he focused his legal practice on defending serious personal injury and wrongful death claims and lawsuits stemming from auto and truck collisions. He has also represented the nation’s largest and most powerful insurance companies at all levels of litigation including jury trials and appeals in state and federal courts in West Virginia.

Mr. Robinette taught insurance companies and their adjusters how to follow insurance laws and regulations, including how to adjust insurance claims in good faith. He was a frequent speaker at insurance conferences on West Virginia insurance law.

Submitted by the Robinette Legal Group, PLLC, West Virginia Injury Lawyers.  Call us today: 304-216-6695 or 304-594-1800.  We are glad to answer your questions.

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Lawsuits Filed Against Bars Become More Common In West Virginia

West Virginia is one of the majority of states that have enacted dram shop liability laws. “Dram shop” is a reference to colonial times when alcohol-serving establishments (shops) used units of liquid measurement called drams to serve alcohol.

Dram shop laws make it possible for bar owners and alcohol servers to be held financially liable if a customer becomes obviously intoxicated on their premises and subsequently injures someone or causes property damage, typically by driving drunk.

So, if a person has several alcoholic drinks at a restaurant or bar and is visibly intoxicated, and then gets in a car and kills someone on the way home, the owner of the serving establishment can be sued for damages.

  • Many states hold commercial vendors of alcohol, such as bars, taverns and package stores responsible for injury caused by drunk patrons
  • Laws in most states require the injured person suing a commercial alcohol vendor to prove that the serving of alcohol was a “proximate cause” of the injury
  • Commercial vendors are liable for injuries caused by an intoxicated customer if they serve liquor to him after he was visibly intoxicated
  • An employer throwing an office party is liable for any bad misconduct or harassment on the part of an employee if the employee was acting within the scope of his employment and the employer failed to take reasonable preventative steps

Are you or a family member the victim of a drunk driver who went bar-hopping before driving intoxicated? Were you assaulted as a bystander by a drunk patron in a bar fight or a brawl outside a tavern? You may have a right to sue the bar under what are called “dram shop” laws.

Many states hold commercial vendors of alcohol (bars, taverns and package stores) responsible for injuries caused by drunk patrons. Different laws apply to social hosts and employers throwing office parties.

A drunk person can’t collect for injury to himself, but a third party injured by the actions of a drunk person can collect from a bar or tavern under certain circumstances. This is especially important when the drunk person has little or no insurance to cover a serious or fatal injury.

Laws in most states require the injured person suing a commercial alcohol vendor to prove that the serving of alcohol was a “proximate cause” of the injury. In other words, you must show a provable connection between your injury and the drunk person’s act of drinking at that particular bar or tavern.

Laws vary widely by state. In Nevada, commercial vendors won’t be held responsible for injuries caused by drunk patrons, probably because of the devastating impact it would have on the tourist industry. In some states, commercial vendors will only be held responsible for serving alcohol to minors.

In other states, the amount of damages that can be collected from a commercial vendor is capped at a specific amount, under the theory that the major share of blame for the injury should be placed on the drunk person.

Most states hold a commercial vendor liable where:

  • Alcohol was served to a minor
  • The vendor was reckless in serving or should have realized the extent of the patron’s intoxication
  • The vendor sold liquor without a liquor license
  • The vendor sold liquor after hours

The burden of proof is lower when a bar or tavern has served a minor, as it’s illegal.

The test for deciding whether a bar employee should have realized the extent of a patron’s intoxication is fuzzy. Courts look at the condition of the drunk person, and whether it should have been “foreseeable” to a bar employee serving him or her that the person was already “visibly intoxicated” and shouldn’t be served any more alcohol. It’s not a matter of how many drinks the person has had, but how the alcohol has affected them.

Proving Excess Intoxication

So how do you prove the person who injured you or your family member was “visibly intoxicated?” Some states have tried to clarify this vague test by requiring proof that the drunk person demonstrated “significantly uncoordinated physical action or significant physical dysfunction.” In other states, you must prove that the bar patron was so obviously intoxicated that he presented a “clear danger to himself and others.”

If you or someone you love has been injured by a drunk person whom you suspect may have been served alcohol by a commercial vendor before the injured occurred, it’s important to see a lawyer right away. Proving the obvious intoxication of a bar patron often requires eyewitness testimony of other bar patrons and employees. A lawyer can locate and interview these witnesses quickly, and get witness statements right away while they still remember accurately what happened and before they clam up.

The time limit for filing a legal action against a commercial vendor- called a “statute of limitations” – is often very short. So it’s very important to develop and file your legal action quickly in order to collect.

Employer Events

Sometimes employers will have events, such as holiday parties, after working hours for their employees. These parties will many times take place at bars or restaurants that serve alcohol. If an intoxicated employee causes property damage or commits harassment, the vendor and the employer may be found liable. The employer is liable if a court determines that the employee was acting within the scope of employment.

Employers need to take reasonable steps to prevent misconduct on the part of their employees at parties that serve alcohol. Some examples include:

  • Discourage excessive drinking by having a cash bar
  • Have strict alcohol and behavior discipline policies in place
  • Provide transportation after the party to prevent driving under the influence

Questions for Your Attorney

  • Who’s liable if an intoxicated person involved in a car accident visited multiple bars before the accident?
  • How do I track down witnesses from a bar to prove excess intoxication? Can I use waitresses that worked in the bar as witnesses to prove my case?
  • Who’s liable if an employee gives alcohol to his son at an employer event for employees and their families that’s held at a restaurant?
 If you have been injured due to someone else’s negligence, please contact our office by visiting www.robinettelaw.com or calling 304-594-1800.  We would be glad to answer your questions.

Workplace Injuries: NFL Faces New Lawsuit By More Than 100 Ex-players For Football Related Brain Injuries

ATLANTA — More than 100 former NFL players have filed a federal lawsuit in Atlanta claiming that pro football didn’t properly protect its players from concussions.

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit include former Atlanta Falcon Jamal Anderson, ex-Georgia star Lindsey Scott and veteran quarterback Don Majkowski.

The lawsuit, filed Thursday in federal court in Georgia, claims the league failed to protect NFL players from brain injuries linked to footballrelated concussions.

They are among more than 1,000 former NFL players suing the league. The cases say not enough was done to inform players about the dangers of concussions in the past, and not enough is done to take care of them today.

The league has said any allegation that the league intentionally sought to mislead players is without merit.  AP

Robinette Legal Group, PLLC

State Funds for West Virginia Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Victims

Spinal cord and traumatic brain injuries can be devastating, both physically and financially. For some people, insurance will satisfy their needs; for other people, a lawsuit may provide the compensation that they require to take care of themselves. If those two sources are not available, however, there is another place that injured people can turn to in West Virginia.

The West Virginia Traumatic Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation Fund was created to help individuals pay for rehabilitation services after suffering serious brain or spinal cord injuries. The stated goal of the fund is to increase opportunities for individuals and help them achieve some measure of independence so they can return to a more productive lifestyle.

More specifically, the fund was set up to assist individuals with obtaining and paying for services such as:

  • Rehabilitation-related therapies
  • Attendant care
  • Home modifications to aid accessibility
  • Necessary medical equipment or medical devices
  • Counseling and support services for individuals and their families

Of course, individuals must meet certain qualifications in order to receive assistance from the fund. For instance, the program is only available to citizens of West   Virginia. In addition, the fund is available as a “payer of last resort,” which means that the fund can only be used for individuals who have been denied insurance benefits and have applied to and been denied by all other agencies that are mandated to provide similar services to injured individuals.

Once someone has been denied benefits from those sources, the board that controls the fund will determine if any other agencies could provide services. If there are no other viable options, the fund can be used to provide services for the injured person.

While this fund provides a type of safety net for individuals who have suffered traumatic brain or spinal cord injuries, the most direct way of achieving the services and compensation you need is still through a lawsuit against the responsible party, or through benefits from your insurance carrier. To find out more about your options, speak with a personal injury lawyer.

If you need help after a serious car or work accident, please visit http://www.robinettelaw.com for articles, resources, and advice or call our office (304)594-1800 for the help you need today.

 

Staggering Numbers of U.S. Troops Suffering from Brain Injuries

The United States Army has determined that over 220,000 soldiers have sustained some degree of traumatic brain injury during the last ten years from exposure from explosions.   To help diagnose and subsequently treat such wounds, the U.S. military and private sector partners developed and deployed devices in 2011 that measure explosion severity.  Soldiers wear the watch-sized dosimeter on their chests, heads, and shoulders to measure acceleration and pressure, letting medics evaluate risk by color-coded lights triggered on the meters by a blast.

If you or a loved one has recently suffered a head injury in an accident in West Virginia due to someone else’s negligence, get checked out by a qualified medical specialist. If you are concerned about brain injury, talk to a West Virginia brain injury attorney at the Robinette Legal Group to discuss possible legal action to pursue compensation for the medical treatment, financial losses and lifetime of care. As former insurance defense attorneys, we know how easy it is for insurance companies to claim the victim isn’t really suffering the effects of brain damage.

Our Morgantown and Preston County TBI lawyers have experience representing clients in significant brain injury claims. We know what juries will be looking for in the way of evidence to prove your case. Our firm offers the professional and independent resources to handle the medical complexities of serious brain injury cases.

Simple Blood Test for Brain Injuries

Traumatic Brain Injuries can result from car, truck, motorcycle, and bike accidents, sports injury, falls, work accidents, and from impact during explosions.  If research by the Army and Cleveland Clinic is successful, then diagnosis for brain injury could include an inexpensive blood test.  Medical researchers are developing a test that will determine the presence of a protein that is released into the bloodstream after a person suffers a brain injury.

  • Researchers are currently testing their findings by analyzing the blood of college football, hockey, and soccer players to diagnose concussions.  Current methods of diagnosing brain injury involve the use of a CT scanner.  These scans are expensive and may also fail to detect slight bleeding and other signs of a brain injury.
  • Research indicates that the potential for serious lifelong traumatic brain injury is increased greatly if a subsequent head injury occurs a short time after a concussion, so a quick and inexpensive means of determining mild brain injuries could be a lifesaver for military personnel, workers, children, and sports participants.   

Contact a Morgantown TBI Attorney

If you or a loved one has recently suffered a head injury in an accident, get checked out by a qualified medical specialist. If you are concerned about brain injury, talk to a West Virginia brain injury attorney at the Robinette Legal Group to discuss possible legal action to pursue compensation for the medical treatment, financial losses and lifetime of care. As former insurance defense attorneys, we know how easy it is for insurance companies to claim the victim isn’t really suffering the effects of brain damage.

Our Morgantown and Preston County TBI lawyers have experience representing clients in significant brain injury claims. We know what juries will be looking for in the way of evidence to prove your case. Our firm offers the professional and independent resources to handle the medical complexities of serious brain injury cases.  Please visit our web site or call 1-304-594-1800.