Brain Injury Legal Cases

In the May 23, 2013 issue of Brain Injury, David E. Ross, et al. submitted a Letter to the Editor entitled “Brain MRI volumetry in a single patient with mild traumatic brain injury.” The report described the case of a 42 year old man who was in a motor vehicle accident in May 2008, leading to a mild traumatic brain injury and other injuries. His MRI brain data were analyzed with Neuro Quant (a FDA‑approved computer‑automated method for measuring MRI brain volume) and susceptibility‑weighted imaging (SWI) to assess for signs of old bleeding.
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Neuro law attorneys are very familiar with the meta-analytic review of neurological studies that was authored by Binder, Rohling and Larrabee (Binder 1997). It is a study that is often cited by defense attorneys to support the myth that recovery after mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) occurs within the first three months, with any subsequent changes in performance being of limited statistical and clinical significance.
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The February 2013 issue of Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology included an interesting article out of Cape Town, South Africa, wherein researchers from the University of Cape Town examined the extent to which, during the process of litigation, individuals with moderate-to-severe traumatic brain injury might malinger in their performance on neuropsychological assessment batteries.
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For many years now I have written about insurance companies influencing medical and neuropsychological research. For medical literature to be introduced and used at trial, it is necessary for an expert to testify that the article is the type relied upon by experts in the field or that the article is authoritative, depending on the law in an individual state. Thus, our Rules of Evidence in very large measure place a great deal of trust in the reliability of medical journals.
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On July 24, 2012, a Palm Beach County Florida Circuit Court held an evidentiary hearing on plaintiff’s objections to defendant’s request for a neuropsychological compulsory medical examination in the case of Voluck v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, Case Number 502011 CA003642XXXXMB AI, State Farm requested a neuropsychological examination to be conducted by Dr. David Bush.
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Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) has been shown to prove the existence of brain damage which other techniques, such as MRIs, CT scans and x-rays were unable to detect. DTI has the ability to show microscopic damage to the pathways, which messages use when traveling inside the brain.
For the past 10 years, the National Football League and the US military have been using DTI technologies to detect brain injuries, most commonly, concussions.
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Earlier this week, 75 retired players brought suit against the National Football League claiming that the NFL has known for the past 90 years of the harmful effects associated with football-related concussions and concealed this information from players, coaches and trainers. The suit states that the players relied upon the NFL for safety guidelines and regulations, and did not know the long-term effects associated with concussions. Riddell, Inc., the official helmet brand of the NFL for over 20 years, is also named as a defendant in the suit.
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