Blunt Force Trauma Lawsuit
The brain is the most complex and fragile organ in the body. Even the slightest blunt force trauma to the head can result in catastrophic or long-term injuries that damage a person’s cognitive abilities for the rest of their life.
Trauma to the head and body is a widespread problem plaguing the country. It is currently one of the leading causes of death in the United States, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention1. Head trauma, in particular, is also a major threat to lives. About three million people visit emergency rooms or are killed by trauma a year.
Because the dangers and long-term consequences of blunt force trauma to the head or body can be so severe, people are obligated by law to meet a duty of care to avoid causing harm to others. When a person is negligent and causes harm to others, the affected individual has the right to file a lawsuit to reclaim lost wages and pay for medical expenses.
What is Blunt Force Trauma?
Blunt force trauma is a type of injury caused by an impact with a blunt object. A blunt object can be nearly anything without sharp edges. Just a few examples are hammers, fists, sports equipment, cars, steerings wheels, road surfaces, furniture, walls, flashlights, ceiling beams, bicycles, and batons. Even fluid objects like bodies of water can be considered blunt objects if struck at high speeds.
Blunt force injuries are also known as non-penetrating trauma to discern from penetrating trauma. Penetrating trauma is an injury caused by the abrupt and direct force on a focal point in which an object pierces and enters the tissue2. For example, a knife or bullet can cause tissue damage in the path of penetration.
The vast majority of trauma cases are non-penetrating. Only 5 to 12 percent of traumatic brain injuries are caused by penetrating trauma3.
Causes of Blunt Force Injuries
Because nearly every object we interact with can be considered a blunt object, the causes of blunt force trauma are numerous and varied. These are the four most common causes of blunt trauma.
Motor Vehicle Collision
Sometimes simply called a car accident or traffic collision, a motor vehicle collision is when a car, truck, or motorcycle crashes into another vehicle, pedestrian, or object. Traffic accidents are responsible for each year around the world. They are one of the largest causes of blunt force injury trauma4.
A person may suffer blunt trauma in a collision by striking an airbag or steering wheel. If a driver or passenger is not wearing a seatbelt, they can be ejected through the windshield and impact against the ground or tree.
In 2013, the CDC reported that falls were the leading cause of traumatic brain injury5. Those most likely to fall are children under 14 and adults over 65. Falls can happen anytime anywhere. They may be the caused by accidentally tripping on an object, losing balance in the shower, slipping on a wet spot at work, buckling of the knees, and more.
When an individual falls, the floor is the most common blunt object. However, a wall, bathtub, tree, or dresser can also be something a falling person hits.
Sports are a way of life. However, sports are also a major culprit in blunt trauma. Most sports-related injuries are caused by blunt trauma from a fall or collision. Hundreds of thousands of people are treated for sports-related head injuries in the United States each year, but the numbers could be even higher since many people self-treat or are unaware of brain injuries.
While the head is very susceptible to injury in sports like football and soccer, other parts of the body may also suffer from blunt trauma. According to the American Family Physician, blunt trauma accounts for most sports-related eye injuries. Bone fractures, lacerations, and bruising can also occur6.
A physical attack is also a cause of blunt force trauma. This is when someone uses their hands or an object to injure another person. Injuries suffered in attacks that use weapons like a knife or gun are not counted as blunt trauma injuries.
Effects of Blunt Force Trauma to the Head
About 75 percent of all cases of blunt force trauma happen to the abdominal area. Even though more people suffer blunt force trauma to the abdomen7, traumatic brain injury from blunt force trauma to the head is the single largest cause of death from injury in the United States, according to The American Association for the Surgery of Trauma4.
The reason for the greater number of deaths is the overall delicacy of the brain. The brain has a gelatin-like consistency that’s soft and malleable. In fact, the brain essentially floats inside the skull without internal support that keeps it from smashing into the walls of the skull. That’s why a blow or jolt to the head can be so dangerous.
Long-term effects on the brain depend on many factors, including the severity of the injury, location of the trauma, and rate of recovery.
An injury to the brain from blunt force can result in immediate or long-term effects on a person’s mental abilities. Short-term memory loss is common after a brain injury. In some cases, memory problems worsen or do not improve. Other examples of cognitive decline include loss of language, poor concentration, lack of empathy, reduction in motivation, and visual impairments.
Brain injuries can also affect a person’s physical capabilities. For example, those with brain injuries may experience headaches, fatigue, and sensory changes. Connections have been made to neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson’s disease.
Mood and Behavior Changes
There may be a long-term alteration of behavior in those who suffer brain injuries as well. Families of football players have noted mood changes after repeated head trauma. Some have even committed suicide and were later found to suffer from chronic traumatic encephalopathy8.
Examples of Blunt Trauma Lawsuits
Because of the lasting ramifications of blunt trauma to the head, countless victims have taken others to court to get compensation for lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering. Here are some of the most common blunt trauma lawsuits.
Car Crash Lawsuits
Everyone has a duty of care to avoid putting others at risk of injury or death. Crashing a car into another person is one of the most common ways people neglect that duty.
In one example, a family of six was permanently affected in a 2013 accident in Florida that resulted in severe injuries. The driver of the other vehicle slammed into their car while they were sitting at a red light. The family was awarded nearly $52 million in damages in their auto negligence lawsuit, according to the Ocala Star-Banner9.
Slip and Fall Lawsuits
If a worker is on the job and falls off an unstable ladder or a customer is shopping at a store and slips on an unmarked wet spot, the injured individual may be eligible to file a lawsuit. An employer and store owner must ensure workers and customers are reasonably safe. If they fail to do so, they could be held responsible.
Wrongful Death Lawsuits
Police and correctional officers have been the subject of many wrongful death lawsuits where family members claim that individuals have died from blunt force trauma. In one case, a $300,000 settlement was reached in 2017 after a man died from blunt force trauma to the torso following an arrest in Baltimore in 201210.
If you think you have been the victim of blunt force trauma as a result of someone else’s negligence, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit. Contact a qualified attorney today.