The Verdict - The Lombardi Law Firm Blog
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How many people have TBI?
TBIs contribute to a substantial number of deaths and cases of permanent disability annually.
Of the 1.4 million who sustain a TBI each year in the United States:
- 50,000 die;
- 235,000 are hospitalized; and
- 1.1 million are treated and released from an emergency department.1
Among children ages 0 to 14 years, TBI results in an estimated:
- 2,685 deaths;
- 37,000 hospitalizations; and
- 435,000 emergency department visits annually.1
The number of people with TBI who are not seen in an emergency department or who receive no care is unknown.
For more information about TBI in the United States, including the groups at highest risk, CDC’s surveillance activities, and the numbers of TBI cases in each state, see Overview.
On September 23, 2009, Bruce Mundy, riding a motorcycle was allegedly struck by Santos Vidal Rodriguez, age 26 who is reported to have been driving an SUV, according to the Des Moines Register. Santos Rodriguez and his brother Orlando David Rodriguez, age 23 left the Casey’s on Park Ave. allegedly without paying for $27 worth of gas. Both brothers are charged with second-degree robbery as well as vehicular homicide. Their Class C felony could result in up to 10 years in prison. If drugs or alcohol are found in the drug tests, which are still being run they could have up to 25 years in prison. It is being speculated whether Santos Rodriguez will be charged with an alleged role in the 1999 shootout in Des Moines (mentioned in the previous blog). Stay tuned for updates.
If this is true how does anyone make sense out of $27 worth of gas being worth the risk and all the damage it can cause? All I can say to those stealing gas, get a job. And don't tell me you can't find one. Make one by creating a business, mowing lawns, plowing snow, cleaning houses or offices; just work. The driver of the motorcycle has a HUGE civil lawsuit against the driver and probably the passenger who is alleged to be an accomplice in a criminal act that led to an accident and death of another person. I wonder if the driver was married and had dependent children.
Now all of that said there is a component to this case that will surely be explored in the criminal case: The driver's previous traumatic brain injury and whether it's caused a change in personality involving a lack of inhibition. That lack of inhibition is what can cause seemingly law abiding people to behave in ways contrary to the criminal laws. After a brain injury a person can have two types of changes: personality changes and a lower cognitive functioning. If someone you know suffers a head injury and then exhibits irrational behavior they may need evaluation and treatment.
Did this driver suffer a brain injury and a change in behavior? That's the question the defense team will have to explore.
A University of Iowa study examined data causing personal injury to Iowans between 2002 and 2006. Today we examine the findings regarding helmet versus not wearing a helmet while riding on a motorcycle. Those not wearing a helmet are 2.3 times more likely to suffer traumatic brain injury than riders with helmets. Average hospital charges were 1.5 times greater for those who were involved in an accident and not wearing a helmet.
The riders without helmets suffered more severe injuries. Eleven percent suffered moderate traumatic brain injury as opposed to six percent for those wearing a helmet. That is an increase of 1.8 percent greater TBI without a helmet.
Following a motorcycle crash the rider with a helmet can expect 17 out of every hundred to suffer a TBI. As contrasted with non-helmeted riders having 32 TBI’s out of every 100 accidents. That is a 1.9 times higher rate of TBI’s for those not wearing a helmet.
I’m critical of this study because TBI and head injury were not defined and there isn’t really a good way of measuring the extent of TBI. First what is a head injury and what is traumatic brain injury? All head injuries do not result in traumatic brain injury. In the case of motorcycle accidents and wrecks a head injury is simply injury to the head. A traumatic brain injury is trauma to the head that results in a brain injury. If I knocked your head with my hand you have suffered a head injury. But you don’t have traumatic brain injury. What criteria did they use would be important to know. Without this information the findings are not very useful.
This story is also covered by Radio Iowa.
Here is the 2004 Hyundai Elantra being crash tested in what is called the “frontal offset test”. Siimply stated they crash head-on into a fixed object (it won’t move) off to one side of the car. What you may find interesting is the problem identified with the airbag being deployed. It was late in two tests exposing the driver and passengers to a greater risk of head trauma and brain damage. A second problem was with the fuel tank being punctured by a hose clamp, cauing fuel to leak after the collision.
I don’t like this vehicle due to the higher incidence of head injuries possible because the head can hit the steering wheel even though the airbag has deployed. That’s not a good thing. If you’ve never met someone with a head injury you should. If every teenager had the opportunity to visit an institution where head injured survivors, yes we call them survivors, they might think more about the consequences of what they are about to do when behind the wheel.
Traumatic brain injuries are unforgiving. Brain damage makes it so you can’t figure out what to do next. Nothing seems to work right. Your whole life is changed. While in Argentina recently The Lookout was on the television. A teenagers life is explicably changed when driving with his girlfriend and other teens down a dark country road for a thrill he turns off the lights of the car. Switching them back on they are surprised to see a combine broken down in the middle of the road. Crashing into the combine leaves them all hospitalized. The girlfriend loses her leg and the driver suffers terrible brain damage. The story is about the difficulties he experiences trying to cope with his lower IQ and behavior changes. I’ve got think that even the doctors and staff at the neuropsych unit in Iowa City would determine there is some brain damage in this guy. Well, then again maybe not. Have you teen sit down and watch this movie it’s a lesson about making teen driver’s making the right decisions and the consequences of doing otherwise.
The Lookout (2007)
Visit the Craig Hospital website and watch the head injury movie. It’s about traumatic brain injury that will forever change your life.
Teens, don’t be stupid protect your brain. I don’t care what someone dares you to do, think first and consider what your life will be like if you could no longer think, no longer had the patience to even text-message. Life after brain damage can be like walking through your life in a haze.
Now back to this crash test. Do note that Hyundai has changed the design to accommodate both problems.
FRONTAL OFFSET TEST
OVERALL EVALUATION: Good
Structure/safety cage Injury measures Restraints/dummy kinematics
Head/neck Chest Leg/foot, left Leg/foot, right
Good Acceptable Good Good Acceptable Good
Important: Frontal crash test ratings can be compared only among vehicles of similar weight.
The Hyundai Elantra was redesigned for the 2001 model year. The Institute evaluated the 2001 Elantra and identified a problem with the airbag system. The driver frontal airbag fired late in two crashes resulting in high head injury measures.
All 2004 and later Elantra models have redesigned driver frontal airbags and all 2004 and later Elantras manufactured after August 2003 also include redesigned passenger frontal airbags (note: information about when a specific vehicle was manufactured is on the certification label typically affixed to the car on or near the driver door). At the request of Hyundai, the Institute agreed to test the 2004 Elantra with the redesigned airbag system.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has evaluated the crashworthiness of the 2004 Elantra with the redesigned driver and passenger airbags in three 40 mph frontal offset crash tests into deformable barriers. A fuel leak occurred in the first test. Hyundai identified a fuel hose clamp that was improperly positioned, which led to puncturing of the fuel tank during the crash. Hyundai has recalled the affected models to reposition the hose clamp. A second test was conducted to assess the effect of the fix.
In the second test, no fuel leakage occurred, but the driver frontal airbag failed to deploy. This led Hyundai to modify the frontal airbag deployment characteristics beginning with 2005 models produced after December, 2004. Also, Hyundai will initiate a recall to modify at its cost 2004-05 models produced earlier. The Institute tested a third Elantra with the modified airbags, and the driver airbag inflated properly.
The evaluation of the Elantra below is based on the first and third tests, except for the structural rating, which is based on all three tests.
Restraints/dummy kinematics — Dummy movement was reasonably well controlled in the first test and well controlled in the third test. During rebound in both tests, the dummy's head hit the B-pillar.
Injury measures — Measures taken from the neck and chest indicate low risk of injuries to these body regions in the first and third tests in a crash of this severity. A high head acceleration occurred when the dummy's head hit the steering wheel through the airbag, indicating that head injuries would be possible. Head acceleration from the B-pillar hit was high in the first test but low in the third test. Forces on the right tibia in the third test indicate that injuries to the lower leg would be possible.