brain injury

Brain Injury: Symptoms and Effects

A brain injury is an injury to the head which causes damage to the brain. It can occur in two ways. It can be a penetrating head injury or a closed one. Where penetration occurs, the skull is pierced and a piece of the bone from the skull gets into the brain tissue. In the case of a closed injury, there is no break in the skull. It can affect one or more areas of the brain. Below is a report on brain injury, symptoms, effects so as to create awareness on the issue.

causes of brain injury

Brain injury may cause mild initial symptoms or immediately life-threatening damages depending on the mechanism and severity of the brain injury. The common symptom of a brain injury is the loss of consciousness. This may be short or prolonged. It varies from person to person. The most severe symptoms of brain injuries are seizures and dizziness. Extreme headaches are another symptom. Long headaches might require a person to go to a doctor. Nausea and vomiting also indicate injuries to the brain. Someone who experiences blurred vision may be suffering from a brain injury. Memory loss is the other symptom. It may be long or short term. Other symptoms that may not be quick to detect are irritability, balance problems, and behavioral changes. The symptoms that are present is dependent on the extent of the injury and which part of the brain is injured. At times it may be difficult to figure out symptoms related to head injury and symptoms which arise from other factors that may be affecting a person. For example, loss of employment, use of medications, ongoing legal issues, financial problems, personal relationship issues and other health problems.

The brain is the most integral part of the human body. Any injuries to it may lead to severe consequences. Effects of brain injury depend highly on the part of the brain which is damaged.

The various parts of the brain are highlighted below and the effects that may arise if any of them is damaged:

The Frontal Lobe

This area of the brain is closely associated with cognitive thought. It aids in the rationalization of ideas, making decisions and predicting the consequences of actions. Operating within the limits of socially acceptable behavior and maintaining one’s inhibitions are the most important social controls of the frontal lobe, and it also plays a significant role in holding long-term memories. Effects of damages to it are: paralysis, inability to think flexibly, social behavior changes and decreased spontaneity in interactions with others.

The Parietal Lobe

This is the center of quantitative thinking and sensory perception. Damage to this area causes difficulties with reading, writing, or inability to generate required words. It also causes problems with hand-eye coordination, as well as problems distinguishing left from right.

The Occipital Lobe

This is the center for visual processing in the brain. It not only controls color recognition and vision. Effects to this part, when injured, are difficulty recognizing objects and colors, challenges when reading and writing and problems with visual illusions or hallucination appearances.

Other effects arising from brain injuries may include costs of treatment, alienation from others and strain on relationships such marriages.

accident image

You Got In An Accident – Should You Hire A Personal Injury Attorney?

You just got in an accident and you are hurt. Most people don’t know what to do or who to call. We’ve all heard about big dollar settlements from cases where someone was hurt, but probably don’t know one of these people personally. And we probably are not attorneys either so we don’t know the law and what our rights are. So how do you know if you require hiring a lawyer?

car accident

Car accidents are the area that most personal injury actions happen. You need to prove the other person was negligent in the accident. If you are in a blunder state, you need to prove negligence by showing that the other driver failed to exercise reasonable care. All drivers have a liability to exercise reasonable care when they drive on the roads. When the other driver breaches that responsibility and you are injured, then personal injury law states you can file suit for your losses. However, the system is different in states that have passed no-fault laws.

There is another basis for personal injury claims. Stern Liability is an area of tort law that is gaining in importance. Strict liability means that if a manufacturer makes a product that is defective, or if it is designed poorly, they can be liable if you are injured by that product. This is different than negligence, but you must prove that the design or manufacturing process of that product make it dangerous, especially when it is used as it was intended to be used.

tort-lawAnother basis for injury claims is Intentional Wrongs. You don’t see those cases filed as much, but it is still valid. Lets say someone hits you in the face, even if they are joking around, you could win a suit for battery. Or you are shopping in a store, and the security guards think you have stolen something and detain you wrongfully. You could be able to win a lawsuit for wrongful imprisonment. These are civil claims, and they could also face criminal charges, but personal injury claims fall under the civil category.

Now we come to damages. Did you suffer any monetary or physical damages from your injuries? What type of accident was you in, was it intentional? What is the nature and extent of your damages? Just because you were hurt, does not mean that you automatically are eligible to collect a big payday. You need to prove this in court, and let the court decide the compensation for your loss. However, many lawsuits don’t make it to court and are settled before that happens.

What is the statue of limitations for that type of case? Every state is different & the time limits you have to file a case are different for the kind of cases you are filing. You have a specific amount of time to file a personal injury case, so you need to know what that is. For example, you might have only one year to file an auto accident case. Once that time is has passed, your case can be thrown out of court.

Alcohol Induced Amnesia Of The DUI Officer Hunting For Probable Cause

In virtually every DUI defense, the question becomes: at what point was the officer permitted to make the arrest and ask the suspect to submit to a breath test? The answer turns on two simple words that are much easier said than understood: probable cause. The officer may arrest the suspect when he had “probable cause” to believe that the suspect has driven under the influence. So what constitutes probable cause? Our Courts have said that “probable cause to arrest exists where the totality of the facts and circumstances known to the officers at the time of arrest would warrant a reasonably cautious person to believe an offense is being committed.”

In other words, after looking at the big picture and not rushing to judgment, it is clear enough to our level headed officer that the nervous guy or gal in front of him was driving after having too much to drink. Yet, in practice, it is very difficult to apply this framework. Perhaps the difficulty arises from using the word “officer” in the same definition as the phrases “totality of the circumstances” and “a reasonably cautious person.” As anyone who has ever defended a DUI case should attest to, officers routinely ignore facts which are wholly inconsistent with impairment and belabor, if not butcher, common sense to suggest impairment from neutral facts. Indeed, with the sensory perfection akin to a shark detecting a drop of blood in the ocean, any officer that smells a hint of alcohol immediately forgets every fact that initially negated any prior suspicion of drunk driving and the focus quickly turns to perfecting probable cause to get that breath test.

Even our Court decisions highlight the difficulty in applying probable cause to the real world. Two cases, State v. Gillenwater and State v. Avery, both decided within a year of each other, analyze the issue of probable cause in the DUI context. In Gillenwater, the defendant was the non-faulting driver in a three car fatality accident. While tending to the injured defendant and his deceased passenger, paramedics detected the odor of alcohol on both individuals. A responding officer also noticed three open beer cans and a cooler full of beer on the floor of the backseat. Defense counsel moved to suppress the eventual blood draw on the basis that the arresting officer lacked probable cause. In affirming his conviction, Division 2 of the Court of Appeals relied upon the existence of the alcohol odor, the cooler full of beer, and the observation of the open beer cans as the basis for the probable cause.

One year later, State v. Avery was decided by the same court. In Avery, officers responded to a report of a vehicle pedestrian collision. Upon contacting the driver, the officer noticed a faint odor of intoxicants emanating from the defendant’s breath. Once the defendant was arrested for leaving the scene of an accident, he was asked to submit to the BAC without the benefit of the statutorily mandated implied consent warnings. Based on a violation of his informed consent rights, defense counsel moved to suppress the breath test arguing that defendant was entitled to an advisement of his right to refuse the test and the consequences of a refusal. In affirming his conviction, the Court found that the existence of odor in the absence of other circumstances tending to show intoxication was insufficient to establish probable cause. As such, the implied consent statute was not triggered and defendant’s submission to the breath test was absolutely voluntary.

How can we distinguish these two cases? In both cases we have odor of alcohol and a collision. Even the Gillenwater opinion expressly acknowledges that it is not illegal to drink and drive; rather, it is illegal to drink too much and drive. Thus, the presence of odor, in and of itself, does not necessarily mean that a crime has been committed and probable cause cannot be derived solely from that observation. Factually, there is one distinction between the two cases, the presence of beer and empty beer cans in the vehicle. Can this be the determinative factor? Absent facts suggesting the contrary, how can we assume that the beer was opened and consumed in the vehicle or around the time of driving? How can we rule out the possibility that the passenger was responsible for opening the beer cans and consuming the beer? If the officer is looking at the totality of the circumstances and being cautious in his judgment, then presumably the officer should discount the non-criminal possibilities before assuming the worst. Plainly, probable cause requires some nexus between the defendant driver and the beer other than mere proximity. After reading these opinions, one wonders how one scenario equates to probable cause while the other one does not. At the risk of sounding cynical, this may be a clear case of result oriented reasoning.

Dr. Barry Logan Testifies To Bad Protocols For Casey Anthony Not Guilty Verdict

Casey Anthony was found not guilty when forensic science evidence was shown to not meet the beyond a reasonable doubt standard.  By now you probably know the story of the trial and the tragic death of a beautiful child, which I won’t repeat.  It seems that many news stories simply want to repeat the gory details of the death of innocence.

What’s news for Washingtonians is that Dr. Barry Logan, our celebrated State Toxicologist who resigned in shame in 2008 after the fraud scandal at our own state lab, testified for Casey Anthony in favor of the not guilty verdict.  You may remember that bad protocols was part of the problem at the lab in Washington.

Dr. Logan, now a defense expert, testified essentially to two things:  1) bad protocols, and 2) other sources of chloroform.  His report indicates that the chloroform source could have been the drinking water or a pool.  Here are parts of his report:

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