Brain Injury Lawyers and Law

New York Personal Injury Lawyer Shana De Caro Inducted as Fellow--Litigation Counsel of America

Congratulations to my partner, Shana De Caro for her induction on October 9th as a fellow of The Litigation Counsel of America. (LCA)

LCA is a trial lawyer honorary society composed of elite trial and appellate lawyers throughout North America.  Fellowship election into this honorary society is highly selective.  

Shana was also elected this year to be the Chair of the Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group of the American Association for Justice and serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the New York State Academy of Trial Lawyers.

Shana’s legal practice consists of representing individual’s seriously injured as a result of automobile, bus and truck collisions, injuries that take place as a result of hazardous construction sites, unsafe buildings or as a result of medical negligence and hospital malpractice.    More information can be obtained at our website, BrainLaw.

October 14, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Brain Injury Association Information, Brain Injury Lawyers and Law, Brain Injury Legislative News

Help Elevate Rehabilitation Research at the National Institutes of Health--Brain Injury Association of America Legislative Action Alert

The Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) has issued the following action alert today regarding important rehabilitation legislation that is pending in the United States Senate:

•         S. 1027 is designed to enhance the stature of rehabilitation and disability research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). 

•         S. 1027 is bipartisan legislation introduced by Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD), two individuals who know first-hand the impact that quality rehabilitation services can have on one's ability to regain health, function independently, and return to work, following an illness, injury, disability or chronic condition.

•         S. 1027 was introduced in 2013 and the bill seeks to elevate the stature of rehabilitation science, better coordinate the $300 million spent annually on this type of research, and deliver the maximum return on the federal investment. The bill is expected to be budget neutral.

•         This legislation is important to the brain injury community. It is critical to maximize the outcomes of rehabilitation and disability science in order to translate findings into better treatments for individuals with brain injury. 

•         Please join your colleagues, Sens. Kirk, Hatch, Murkowski and Johnson and cosponsor S. 1027.

Please call the United States Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and you will be connected to your Senators Office. Please tell the staff you are a constituent, ask to speak to the Health staffer and please use the above talking points.

 

 

Specifically, BIAA is asking the following Democratic Members of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee to cosponsor this important legislation.

 

 

Democratic Members of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee:

 

 

Barbara A. Mikulski (Maryland)

Patty Murray (Washington)

Bernard Sanders (Vermont)

Robert P. Casey (PA)

Kay R. Hagan (NC)

Al Franken (Minnesota)

Michael F. Bennet (Colorado)

Sheldon Whitehouse (Rhode Island)

Tammy Baldwin (Wisconsin)

Christopher S. Murphy (Connecticut)

Elizabeth Warren (Massachusetts)

October 1, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Brain Injury and Sports, Brain Injury Association Information, Brain Injury Lawyers and Law, Brain Injury Legislative News, Current Affairs

Brain Injury Association of America files motion in federal court disputing the terms of NFL settlement

The Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) filed a motion today in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania seeking permission to appear as a friend of the court )amicus curiae to explain concerns it has with the proposed NFL brain injury settlement..

Similar to concerns raised by my partner, Shana De Caro who chairs the American Association for Justice, Traumatic Brain Injury Group and myself in our numerous op-ed pieces that have appeared on the Huffington Post and in the National Law Journal,  the Brain Injury Association believes that the settlement unfairly discriminates among different groups of players and fails to provide any compensation to the majority of NFL players who sustained life altering traumatic brain injuries as a result of playing professional football.

Following are some of the areas of concern noted in the affidavit filed in support of the motion to intervene:

•The settlement excludes numerous physical and behavioral consequences of brain injury from the list of qualifying diagnoses for treatment and compensation. A concussion results in a wide range of neurological, physical, cognitive, and neuropsychological impairments that can appear immediately or many years after injury, requiring specialized treatment on an ongoing or intermittent basis.

•The approach to diagnosing impairment is “deeply flawed” and will exclude many former players from receiving compensation. The determination of eligibility is heavily weighted towards those with severe memory dysfunction and/or evidence of neuromuscular abnormality. If a player has impairment in language or visual function, but not in executive function, learning or memory, he will not qualify.

•The downward adjustment of compensation based on the number of seasons played, the age of the player at the time of diagnosis, and incidence of stroke or traumatic brain injury (TBI) prior to being admitted to the class, demonstrates a serious lack of understanding of concussion and mild TBI. A single concussion, whether diagnosed or not, can result in debilitating physical, cognitive, and behavioral impairments that interfere with the activities of daily living and require a lifetime of treatment. Therefore, the nature and extent of the impairment – not the number of seasons played – should be the determining factor in any monetary award.

•The limitation of pharmacy vendors to mail order pharmacies. Some medications require distribution that controls for temperature, light, vibration, and other conditions and cannot be reliably distributed by mail order.  In addition, use of mail order prevents a physician from making quick and immediate medication changes.

 •The BAP Supplemental Benefits program fails to recognize the full extent of the treatment team that may be required. The standard of care for patients with TBI dictates that rehabilitation and other medical treatment plans are developed and carried out by a multi-disciplinary team of licensed, credentialed clinicians working in specialized settings and accredited programs. These include endocrinology, physical medicine, ophthalmology, neuro-optometry, otolaryngology, psychiatry, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech/language therapy, and neurobehavioral therapy, among others.

 Copies of the motion and affidavit filed by BIAA can be obtained on their website.

 

September 30, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Brain Injury Lawyers and Law, Current Affairs

Delaware bus crash--Safety should be number 1 priority

Yesterday’s horrific bus crash in Delaware highlights the need for better enforcement of safety regulations against bus companies and their drivers involved in interstate bus travel.

I was honored to be interviewed yesterday by NBC News about this bus rollover accident which caused two deaths and many severe injuries to the bus occupants.  Click here for news story about this fatal bus crash in Delaware

As a member of the interstate bus accident advisory board of the American Association for Justice Interstate Bus Accident Litigation Group, our law firm has handled many cases against bus companies resulting in severe injury and death caused by negligent bus drivers and negligent bus companies. 

According to published reports the tour bus company, AM USA Express of Chinatown, New York, had been stopped by federal agents for inspections 30 times since August 2012, and had been cited for 18 safety violations during that period. The most recent of these inspections, on July 23, resulted in two citations for driving the bus in excess of permitted time rules.

 

Interstate Bus Accidents are a leading cause of death and serious injury on our nation’s roads and highways.  Thousands of injuries are caused every year due to negligent driving of bus drivers, the failure of bus companies to properly train and supervise their bus drivers, and bus companies’ faulty inspection and maintenance of their fleets. Hundreds of needless deaths are caused by driver error and the poor bus company safety records. Recent deadly bus accidents in New York highlight the urgent need for more state and federal oversight of bus drivers and bus companies.

 

Bus occupants have a right to expect that a bus driver is properly trained and licensed, well-rested and capable of operating a bus in in a manner so as to protect the safety of all passengers. Passengers, and the public at large, have right to expect that buses are properly inspected and designed, and that all parts of the bus are properly maintained. 

 

When bus accidents occur due to driver error or fatigue, due to improper and unsafe bus maintenance, including defects in the bus or its tires, or a company’s failure to supervise and train its drivers, the victims of these disasters should be able to obtain the compensation they deserve for their injuries.

 

September 23, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Brain Injury & Concussions, Brain Injury Latest Medical News, Brain Injury Lawyers and Law, Brain Injury Legislative News, Brain Injury Prevention

FDA Warning: No dietary supplements approved to treat concussions or other brain injury.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a warning that there are no approved dietary supplements to treat a concussions or other types of brain injury.

Can a Dietary Supplement Treat a Concussion? No! 

The concussion supplement warning published by the FDA is published in full below:

Exploiting the public's rising concern about concussions, some companies are offering untested, unproven and possibly dangerous products that claim to prevent, treat or cure concussions and other traumatic brain injuries (TBIs).

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is monitoring the marketplace and taking enforcement actions where appropriate, issuing warning letters to firms—the usual first step for dealing with claims that products labeled as dietary supplements are intended for use in the cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease. The agency is also warning consumers to avoid purported dietary supplements marketed with claims to prevent, treat, or cure concussions and other TBIs because the claims are not backed with scientific evidence that the products are safe or effective for such purposes. These products are sold on the Internet and at various retail outlets, and marketed to consumers using social media, including Facebook and Twitter.

One common but misleading claim: Using a particular dietary supplement promotes faster healing after a concussion or other TBI.

Even if a particular supplement contains no harmful ingredients, that claim alone can be dangerous, says Gary Coody, FDA's National Health Fraud Coordinator.

"We're very concerned that false assurances of faster recovery will convince athletes of all ages, coaches and even parents that someone suffering from a concussion is ready to resume activities before they are really ready," says Coody. "Also, watch for claims that these products can prevent or lessen the severity of concussions or TBIs."

A concussion is a brain injury caused by a blow to the head, or by a violent shaking of the head and upper body. Concussions and other TBIs are serious medical conditions that require proper diagnosis, treatment, and monitoring by a health care professional. The long-term impact of concussions on professional athletes and children who play contact sports has recently been the subject of highly publicized discussions.

A growing body of scientific evidence indicates that if concussion victims resume strenuous activities—such as football, soccer or hockey—too soon, they risk a greater chance of having a subsequent concussion. Moreover, repeat concussions can have a cumulative effect on the brain, with devastating consequences that can include brain swelling, permanent brain damage, long-term disability and death.

“There is simply no scientific evidence to support the use of any dietary supplement for the prevention of concussions or the reduction of post-concussion symptoms that would allow athletes to return to play sooner,” said Charlotte Christin, acting director of FDA’s Division of Dietary Supplement Programs.

Click here for more information.

September 1, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Brain Injury and Sports, Brain Injury Broadcasts, Brain Injury Lawyers and Law

Legal discussion analyzing class action soccer lawsuit againt FILA

I will be participating tomorrow morning—Saturday, August 30th at 10:40 AM in a discussion on the class action lawsuit commenced against FIFA and US Soccer leagues for concussion injuries in youth soccer on "The Classroom" from the Marist College Center for Sports Communication.

I will be analyzing the claims made in this soccer case, the relief that the plainitff's are seeking and the legal arguments that I anticipate each side will be making.

1220 ESPN Radio and the Marist College Center for Sports Communication have launched a weekly sports radio program produced live from the Marist College campus, representing the nation’s first partnerships between an ESPN radio affiliate and an academic center on a college campus.

The program, named “The Classroom,” is heard on Saturday mornings on Fox1220, 95.7 and 94.1 ESPN Radio and live on the web at 10 a.m. to noon.  My segment is scheduled for 10:40 AM. 

To listen to the broadcase live, click here 

August 29, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Brain Injury and Sports, Brain Injury Lawyers and Law, Brain Injury Prevention

Class Action Lawsuit Commenced by Parents for Soccer Concussions

A class action lawsuit was filed yesterday in US Federal District Court against the Federal of International Football Association (FIFA) and US Soccer leagues by parents seeking changes to the associations concussion management rules to prevent brain injuries from occurring.

The plaintiffs are not seeking financial compensation but changes to how the game is played.  They are seeing an injunction compelling the leagues to changes their rules regarding heading a soccer ball, when to remove a player from the game after a suspected concussion takes place, how long to keep the player out and educational requirements.  The lawsuit wants the league to any player under 14 from heading the ball.

I was interviewed for a story published in the New York Times, Concussion Lawsuit Bids to Force Rule Changes in Soccer regarding this lawsuit.   While I agree with the purported motivation for commencing this action, I have serious doubts whether the court can grant the plaintiffs the relief they demand.

 

The complaint is an excellent primer on the history of sports concussions, what was known and when it was known, the need for sports concussion management and the dangers faced by children who sustain a concussion while engaged in a sporting activity.  I am attaching the full complaint:  Download Soccer complaint

 

A concussion is a brain injury.  The best cure for a brain injury is prevention.  When in doubt, keep them out!

August 28, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Brain Injury Lawyers and Law

Congratulations to Shana De Caro -- New Chair Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group, American Association for Justice

Congratulations to my partner, Shana De Caro on her election as chair of the American Association For Justice, Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group at the association's  annual conference held earlier this week in Baltimore, Maryland.

The traumatic brain injury litigation group provides the latest information to attorneys representing victims of traumatic brain injury on effective strategies to establish and prove the lifelong consequences of brain damage sustained; new advances in brain injury medicine including diagnosis, treatment and using imaging studies.  Each year the group sponsors seminars to educate attorneys on cutting-edge developments in traumatic brain injury litigation.  The group reviews the latest medical literature on traumatic brain injury, new diagnostic test methods, and recent court decisions pertaining to the traumatic brain injury litigation and the latest trial techniques to convey the full extent of the consequences of traumatic brain injury in court.

The group comprises attorneys from throughout the nation who represent clients with traumatic brain injury caused by automobile collisions, truck and bus accidents, head injuries sustained on construction sites, falls and medical malpractice. 

Shana De Caro has been an active participant in the group since its inception in 1991 and has served on its executive board for the past ten years. In addition to her service on the traumatic brain injury litigation group, Shana also serves on the board of directors of the New York State Academy of Trial Lawyers, is a trustee and officer of the Civil Justice Foundation and an elected fellow of the Melvin Belli Society.  Shana is also a member of the Advisory Board, Acquired Brain Injury Program, The George Washington University, Washington, D.C., Graduate School of Education, and Human Development and has been selected as a New York Super Lawyer.

July 31, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Brain Injury & Concussions, Brain Injury and Sports, Brain Injury Events, Brain Injury Lawyers and Law, Brain Injury Legislative News

Lead Off Speaker at American Association for Justice-Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group

On Sunday, July 27th, I will be the lead off speakier at the annual conference of the American Association for Justice, Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group’s annual program to be held this year in Baltimore, Maryland.

My topic this year is entitled, From Concussion to the Classroom and Playing Field.  I will explore the many legal issues in recently enacted concussion management legislation, public health issues and additional steps that must be taken to protect our nation’s youth from the epidemic of traumatic brain injury in all sports.

Recent evidence points to over 250 million of our nation’s youth sustain some type of a traumatic brain injury each year while participating in athletic competition all athletic training.  Brain injury in sports is a public health crisis that must be approached from many different areas including education, prevention, return to play guidelines and legal liability when a preventable brain injury takes place.

The legal conference is a part of the four day conference sponsored each year by the nation’s largest trial lawyer association, the American Association for Justice.  The conference each year is attended by over 2,000 attorneys from across the nation.  The conference provides educational skills to attorneys on how to more effectively represent their clients following a personal injury.  

The traumatic brain injury litigation group is comprised of attorneys who have a special interest in the area of traumatic brain injury litigation.  I have been honored to have been a chair of this group and continue to serve on the group’s executive board. 

July 22, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Brain Injury Association Information, Brain Injury Lawyers and Law, Brain Injury Legislative News, Brain Injury Veteran Issues

Save VA Benefits for Brain Injured Veterans

The Brain Injury Association of America has just issued the following Action Alert:

 

Protect Access to Care for Veterans

Call Congress Today!

 

As a member of the large and growing community that understands the importance of thoughtful, comprehensive care for individuals living with brain injury, we wanted to inform you of an important program for America's veterans that is in danger of shutting down if Congress does not act soon. 

 

Established by Congress in 2008, the Assisted Living TBI Pilot Program has made it possible for hundreds of wounded warriors to receive specialized, post-acute brain injury rehabilitation in the community.The program provides critical, real-life skills to help veterans return to their homes and communities. It has been a lifeline for dozens and dozens of veterans.

 

Unfortunately, the Department of Veterans Affairs has announced that it will end the pilot program on September 30, 2014 unless Congress takes action to extend it. This means that the VA will soon begin to discharge veterans from the program.The Wall Street Journal recently highlighted the importance of the program and the challenges faced by many if Congress doesn't act soon.

 

We need your help to make sure the Assisted Living Pilot Program for Veterans with TBI continues to make a meaningful difference for America's heroes.

  

Please call your Member of Congress and make sure they know how important the program is to veterans and urge them to support extending the pilot program. You can reach your Representatives and Senators by calling the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 where you will be transferred directly to their offices. Thank you for your crucial contribution to this effort.

July 18, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack