Look Before You Lock Prevents Child Injury in Connecticut

When a child is left inside of a hot car, that child could suffer brain damage or loss of life. Unfortunately, some parents leave kids inside of their cars on purpose while they run in to do errands, not realizing the risk they are taking. Other parents accidentally leave a child in the back of the vehicle because they forget their kids are there.

Parents are not the only ones who may endanger a child by leaving their son or daughter in a vehicle in the heat. There are also instances where children are left inside of buses or inside of daycare vans and are injured or lose their lives as a result. If a caregiver causes a child injury, a personal injury attorney can help parents to take legal action.

Look Before You Lock

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is running a campaign to try to draw attention to the danger of leaving a child inside of a hot vehicle. From May through September, the “Look Before You Lock” campaign encourages parents to get into the habit of checking the front and back seats every time before they lock their car. This way, they will see if a child has been left inside before tragedy strikes.

The Look Before You Lock Campaign could help to reverse a disturbing trend of children dying of heat stroke. Each year since 1998, an average of 38 children have died each year when they were left inside of cars. Last year in 2013, there were at least 44 fatalities in the U.S. and there have already been several deaths in 2014.

Children may not only be at risk if parents unintentionally leave them in vehicles, but some parents leave kids inside of their cars on purpose. Parents may think that they are leaving their children for just a second while they run into a store, but it does not take very long for a child’s temperature to reach a dangerous level. If a child’s temperature hits 107, the child will die. Unfortunately, kids are less able to regulate body temperature than adults are and their bodies can heat up anywhere from three to five times faster than adults’ bodies.

Despite the risks of heat stroke, around 14 percent of all parents in the United States said that they have left their child unattended inside of a vehicle. Only eight percent of moms said that they do this, but 23 percent of dads admitted to leaving kids in cars. Children under three are at the biggest risk, and 23 percent of parents of children in this age group have indicated that they have left children inside of cars.

This means that around 3.3 million kids are potentially being put at risk of heat stroke within the United States. On a day in the mid-80s with the window cracked two inches, a child could die within 10 minutes in a hot car. Parents need to understand this incredible danger and avoid putting their children at risk.

Contact a Hartford personal injury lawyer today at the Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone & Morelli. Calling 1-800-WIN-WIN-1 for your free case consultation or visit http://www.salomoneandmorelli.com

Is Your Dog Increasing Your Risk of a Hartford Car Accident?

Most pet owners bring their dogs in the car with them at some point, whether to run errands, go to the dog park or pet store or head out on a leisure trip. In fact, according to AAA Pet Spot, as many as 84 percent of survey respondents said that their animal had been their companion in the car.

Although many pet owners are taking their dog along, only 16 percent of respondents said that they used some kind of pet restraint system in their vehicles. Without a pet restraint system a dog can be a distraction and a danger in the event that an accident happens. The animal is at risk, as are people in the car with him and others on the road.

If you are the victim of an accident caused by a driver who is distracted by a pet, you need to understand your rights. Contact a personal injury lawyer for help.

Dogs Can be a Distraction in the Car

When your pet is in the vehicle with you, the dog can cause you to take your eyes off the road. A total of 29 percent of survey respondents were aware that their pet was a distraction and admitted to doing distracting behavior. In reality, however, 65 percent participated in at least one activity involving their dog that took their focus off the road. For example:

  • 52 percent of people who had their dog with them in the car pet their dog while driving.
  • 17 percent said that they allowed their dog to sit on their lap while they were operating the vehicle.
  • 13 percent of respondents gave food or treats to their dog while they were driving.
  • Four percent said that they played with their dog as they were operating their vehicle.

All of these different behaviors cause drivers to take their focus away from the road and increase the chances that an accident will happen. Unfortunately, if a collision does occur and the animal is unrestrained, the outcome can be deadly.

As Esurance reports, a dog that weighs just 10 pounds can turn into a projectile that generates 500 pounds of force in a crash that occurs at 50 miles per hour. When going even slower at just 30 miles per hour, a dog that weighs 80 pounds can generate 2,400 pounds of force. If the dog hits someone in the car, both the animal and the driver or passenger may be killed.

Preventing accidents does not mean you have to stop traveling with your pet. Instead, you can simply use a pet restraint system to keep your pet safe and to ensure your animal is not a distraction. There are special seat belts made for pets that you can consider, but do not try to use human seat belts as this is not safe. You can also put your pet into a crate or carrier that is securely fastened in order to avoid the risks that a dog can present while driving.

Contact a Hartford personal injury attorney today at the Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone & Morelli. Calling 1-800-WIN-WIN-1 for your free case consultation or visit http://www.salomoneandmorelli.com

High Cost of Traffic Accidents in Connecticut, Nationwide

Motor vehicle collisions can result in serious financial consequences for victims, in addition to a change in quality of life and lasting pain. Measuring how much damage a crash causes is difficult, especially when the accident results in permanent injuries or death. However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently released an estimate of the extent of financial damage to society resulting from collisions.

Drivers who cause collisions are responsible for compensating victims. Accident attorneys in Connecticut from the Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone & Morelli can help those who have been hurt in a motor vehicle accident.

Measuring Economic Loss from Motor Vehicle Accidents

Motor vehicle collisions in the United States have economic costs, such as the expenditures resulting from medical treatments and from lost wages when injuries make it difficult to work. There is also a societal cost due to lost life, decreased quality of life and pain.

The NHTSA assessed the costs of 32,999 deaths, 3.9 million non-fatal injuries and 24 million damaged cars in 2010. Based on the number of crashes that occurred, the NHTSA calculated that there were $277 billion in economic costs and $594 billion in societal costs from accidents. The economic costs alone were almost $900 per person in the U.S. and the total expenditures from motor vehicle accidents reached $871 billion.

The vast majority of the costs and expenditures came from three top causes of motor vehicle collisions. These included driving while impaired by alcohol, driving while distracted and excessive speed.

Distracted driving collisions were responsible for causing 17 percent of the overall economic lost and the cost came in at $46 billion. This is a cost of $148 per person on average for each person within the United States. When including losses due to decreased quality of life and pain, the price tag of distracted driving crashes was $129 billion. Drivers who were distracted caused 15 percent of overall societal harm resulting from motor vehicle accidents.

Speeding was even more costly. Drivers who traveled too fast for current conditions or who exceeded the speed limit accounted for 21 percent of the total economic losses that occurred within the United States. The total actual economic expense from speeding was $59 billion in 2010, which averages out to $191 per person in the United States. Speeders were also responsible for 24 percent of overall societal harm, which came at a cost of $210 billion.

Finally, drunk drivers were another big reason for the high costs of car accidents. Collisions caused by impaired drivers accounted for 18 percent of total economic loss and cost $49 billion. When factoring in lost quality of life and other societal costs, drunk driving came in at a cost of $199 billion, which accounted for 23 percent of overall societal harm.

When drivers make dangerous choices, they need to be held accountable for their actions and need to pay for the damages they cause. An experienced attorney can help victims to take legal action.

Contact a Hartford accident attorney today at the Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone & Morelli. Calling 1-800-WIN-WIN-1 for your free case consultation or visit http://www.salomoneandmorelli.com.

Protecting Connecticut Kids from Pedestrian Injuries

Pedestrian traffic injuries may cause as many as 1.2 million deaths and 50 million injuries worldwide each year.  In the United States alone, one pedestrian is killed an average of once every nine minutes. Young children and the elderly are at a much greater risk of pedestrian collisions, and in motorized countries, pedestrian accidents are the second-leading cause of unintentional injury deaths among kids between the ages of five and 14.

An article published in the Journal of TRAUMA® Injury, Infection and Critical Care reviewed the history of efforts to prevent pediatric pedestrian crashes and provided some tips on how lives could be saved. Unfortunately, there have been relatively few programs that have succeeded in reducing pedestrian deaths. Drivers need to play a very important role in watching out for kids and helping to ensure they stay safe. Accident attorneys in Connecticut can represent children and families injured by pedestrian crashes and help them to take legal action if a negligent driver causes a collision.

Preventing Pediatric Pedestrian Accidents

Programs designed to prevent childhood pedestrian accidents date back as far as the 1950, when clinicians in the United Kingdom designed a method called the Kerb Drill. This involved making children recite rules in a military style. The Green Cross Code was also introduced, establishing a set of easy-to-follow guides for crossing roads that are still used widely throughout Britain today.

In the 1970’s, British doctors formed a Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT) to raise awareness among parents and decision makers about how unintentional injuries in children can be prevented.

In the late 1980s, the World Health Organization released studies showing that the best way to reduce the rate of childhood pedestrian crashes involved combining education with interventions in the community and the environment. The WHO believes that achieving safety for pedestrian children involves three E’s: education, engineering and enforcement.

A program founded in 1987, called the Safe Kids Organization, was established in Washington D.C. and used the WHO’s principles. The goal of Safe Kids was to change attitudes, behaviors, the environment and the law in order to reduce the risk of kids getting hurt. The program is active with education and lobbying efforts at local levels, and Safe Kids programs are available in 150 cities.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have also teamed up to tackle the issue of childhood pedestrian safety. They conducted a multidisciplinary conference in 2002 and experts developed strategies for reducing childhood pedestrian crashes.

The results of the CDC and NHTSA efforts confirmed that neither education nor environment modification do enough to single handedly reduce the risk of childhood pedestrian crashes. They should be combined with behavior evaluation and skills training.

Focusing on social and environmental risk factors and educating kids has helped to reduce the rate of pedestrian accidents, and thus make kids safer. There is still a long way to go, but safety experts continue to work on developing methods of saving children’s lives.

Contact a Hartford accident attorney today at the Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone & Morelli. Calling 1-800-WIN-WIN-1 for your free case consultation.

A Hartford Accident Lawyer Stands up to Insurers

After a traffic collision, you often need a Hartford accident lawyer to help deal with insurance companies.  Insurers have many dishonest and underhanded tactics designed to stop you from getting full compensation for injuries.

Recently, the American Association for Justice compiled a list of the Ten Worst Insurance Companies in America.  A quick look at this list and the behavior of the insurers is enough to make clear that you absolutely should have a lawyer after a collision so the insurance company doesn’t deprive you.

The Bad Behavior of the Worst Insurers

The insurance companies that made the list of the 10 worst insurers in the U.S. included, in order:

  1. Allstate
  2. Unum
  3. AIG
  4. State Farm
  5. Conseco
  6. WellPoint
  7. Farmers
  8. UnitedHealth
  9. Torchmark
  10. Liberty Mutual

Some of these insurance companies provide only health insurance while others offer car accident insurance, homeowners’ insurance and other policies. Together, the U.S. insurance industry takes in premiums of more than $1 trillion every year to provide coverage for losses that affect you. The industry even has $3.8 trillion in assets, but still companies try to pay less than victims deserve after collisions.

The specifics of the wrongdoing vary from insurer to insurer; however, Allstate exemplifies the tactics and shortcomings of many of these companies.  Allstate has said its obligation is to “earn a return for our shareholders.”  It uses a secret claim-evaluation software called Colossus and when policyholders file a claim, they are offered a low payment without justification. This lets the company keep more money at the expense of policy holders and accident victims.

If those making a claim decline to accept the low settlement, then the “boxing gloves” come out and Allstate does everything possible not to pay. Allstate employees call its practices the “three D’s,” which stand for deny, delay and defend.

The company tries to drag out the process so people get desperate for money and accept low settlements and it tries to bury victims and attorneys in paperwork to discourage them from going forward with court action to get compensation.

Employees are told to lie, according to reports from adjusters who are no longer with the company.  Allstate adjusters are also given incentives for keeping claim payments low.

While Allstate is especially egregious, all of the companies on this list use tricks to try to deprive claimants. AIG, for example, is one of few insurance companies that make money on underwriting rather than investments of policy holder premiums. This means it has to be aggressive in paying out as little as it can in claims so that it makes more in premiums than it pays out.

AIG has locked checks in safety deposit boxes that should have gone to victims and kept the checks there until claimants complained. AIG has also delayed attorney fees; and disposed of important correspondence during special parties.   The insurer was even sanctioned by a judge for trying to block evidence in an environmental case.

Insurance companies often get away with these bad behaviors. They have consultants and experts, money and influence. You need help level the playing field and stand up for your rights by getting legal help from an experienced Hartford accident attorney.

Contact a Hartford accident attorney today at the Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone & Morelli. Call 1-800-WIN-WIN-1 for your free case consultation.

Connecticut Hospital Conditions Common Factor in Medical Malpractice

Federal inspectors recently issued a report citing the VA Connecticut Healthcare System Hospital in West Haven for unsanitary conditions, inadequate infection control and even an insect problem.

Despite the findings, officials say there is no “conclusive” evidence at this point that the sanitation problems resulted in care deficiencies or negative patient outcomes.

However, as Hartford injury attorneys we recognize that anytime such conditions exist, the likelihood of negligent care is significantly higher.

Part of the reason has to do with the fact that a staff that doesn’t have time to clean may be stretched thin in other areas. Doctors and nurses who don’t have enough time to spend with their patients may be more prone to commit misdiagnoses, medication errors and other substandard care.

Another reason unsanitary conditions are more likely to produce negative patient outcomes has to do with the risk of infection. When facilities, personnel and equipment are not properly cleaned, the risk of a hospital-acquired infection skyrockets.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and prevention reports that hospital-acquired infections affect about 1 in every 20 patients who is hospitalized. The direct medical cost of these incidents is through the roof, costing between $35 billion to $45 billion in hospital resources annually.

Guess who pays those bills?

The patients who were victimized in the first place.

The CDC estimates that if hospitals were to spend about $5 billion to $6 billion annually, they could all but eliminate the instances of hospital-acquired infections. The key is proper sanitation, effective tools and staff training.

Infections can be viral, bacterial or fungal and they range from mild to life-threatening. The risk is further exacerbated by the fact that so-called “superbugs,” aggressive strains of illness resistant to antibacterial treatments, are becoming more and more common in hospital settings. One such strain was recently blamed in 16 deaths at a single hospital in Manchester, England over the last four years.

In Canada, authorities indicate that some 220,000 citizens develop infections every year during hospital stays, with some 22 dying daily as a result – costing some $2,000 to $20,000 each. That’s why health officials there have adopted vigorous methods of cleaning and sanitation at each facility.

Here in the U.S., however, a recent study published in the February issue of the American Journal of Infection Control suggests hospitals – particularly those offering intensive care unit services – have had a fairly uneven compliance rate with sanitation standards.

In the largest study of its kind, researchers from Columbia University and the CDC analyzed the practices of more than 1,500 ICUs at 975 hospitals, with special attention paid to the implementation of 16 different infection prevention measures. The study authors were especially interested in how hospitals worked to curb central-line bloodstream infections, ventilator-associated pneumonia and catheter-related urinary tract infections.

While all of those participating had measures in place to prevent infection, compliance ranged from 27 percent to 92 percent, depending on the hospital and the measure being analyzed.

For example, compliance with ventilator-associated pneumonia prevention actions ranged from 69 percent to 91 percent. However, compliance to prevent catheter-associated urinary tract infections ranged from 27 percent to 68 percent.

These kinds of figures are unacceptable. Those who have suffered as a result  may be entitled to compensation.

Contact a Hartford accident attorney today at the Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone & Morelli. Calling 1-800-WIN-WIN-1 for your free case consultation.

Hartford Traffic Deaths Should be a Primary Safety Focus

The elimination of motor vehicle deaths in any city is a tall order. It’s seems almost impossible in a place like New York City. Yet, Mayor Bill de Blasio is demanding just that, ordering police personnel to focus more of their energies on traffic enforcement – as opposed to violent crime reduction and enforcement.

The strategy has been controversial. It’s not that lowering violent crime isn’t a worthy or important cause. However, de Blasio has a point, particularly when you begin to look at the number of people who suffer as a result of motor vehicle crashes versus those who are victimized by violent crime.

First, our Hartford accident attorneys would point out that the number of Connecticut homicides in 2012 was 143. That’s according to annual uniform crime reporting statistics from the state. Meanwhile, the National Highway Transportation & Safety Administration indicates that the number of traffic fatalities that same year was 220.

That means the number of traffic deaths Connecticut is 54 percent higher than the number of murders.

This was true even though the number of traffic fatalities in this state dropped by 100 from 2011 to 2012. (The number of traffic deaths for the state in 2010 was 224, on par with what we saw again in 2012.) State law enforcement officials were quoted recently as saying that the higher traffic death figure was more in line with what we normally expect to see.

Now let’s explore the number of injuries stemming from traffic crashes. In 2008, state transportation officials report there were more than 36,300 injuries attributed to traffic crashes statewide. That same year, uniform crime figures reveal there were 685 rapes, 4,050 robberies, 6,000 aggravated assaults and 500 arson reports. That brings the total number of victims of violent crime in Connecticut that year to about 11,200. That means the number of traffic accident victims was nearly 2.5 times higher than the number of violent crime victims.

Again, this is not to belittle the suffering that violent crime victims endure. But in solely looking at the impact in terms of sheer volume, it’s seems clear where our resources are most needed.

What de Blasio has proposed is a combination of actions that would ultimately slash the number of traffic fatalities to almost zero. Among those measures:

  • Reducing citywide speed limits from 30 miles-per-hour to 25 miles-per-hour;
  • Expanding the red-light camera and speed-tracking camera programs;
  • Bolstering the presence of traffic-enforcing law officers;
  • Placing devices in taxi cabs that would automatically turn off the meter if the driver exceeds the appropriate speed limit.

No similar proposals are pending in Connecticut, but it seems there are a number of areas that we could stand to improve. For starters, the NHTSA reports our statewide in-vehicle restraint use is at 88 percent. There is no reason this shouldn’t be nearer 100 percent. What’s more, fines for those who fail to properly buckle in children are only a maximum of $60. If state legislators place significant value on the lives of our children, this too requires attention.

Beyond that, the percentage of alcohol-related fatalities in Connecticut increased by 13 percent from 2002 to 2011, cited as a factor in 45 percent of traffic deaths in 2011. Authorities need to prioritize this matter immediately with enhanced patrols and more sobriety checkpoints.

A combination of these effort could go a long way in helping us to further drive down the number of traffic deaths.

Contact a Hartford accident attorney today at the Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone & Morelli. Calling 1-800-WIN-WIN-1 for your free case consultation.

New Haven Crash Injury Risk Heightened in Winter

At least once every day since the beginning of December, there has been at least one, multiple-vehicle pile-up somewhere in the country, according to a recent USA Today analysis.

That includes the recent  27-car pile-up on I-95 in Greenwich that resulted in six injuries and led to a three-hour closure of the Interstate. (You may also recall a few years ago when state route 110 was the site of a 50-car pileup, also in December, in which 46 people were injured.)

The New Haven personal injury lawyers at the Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone & Morelli recognize that harsh winter weather conditions are largely to blame. However, we can’t discount the fact that far too many drivers don’t respond appropriately to driving conditions.

Some venture out on bad roads, despite the fact that their travel is unnecessary. Some fail to ensure their vehicle is prepared for the conditions (i.e., proper tire inflation, enough windshield wiper fluid, working brakes, etc.). But beyond that, some motorists don’t tailor their driving to the conditions. Specifically, drivers don’t slow down enough.

Many forget that the posted speed limit is made in consideration of optimal driving conditions. If the roads are wet, snowy or icy, people have to drive defensively. That involves allowing more distance from the vehicle in front of you, and more time to stop if you need to do so.

Multi-Vehicle Crashes Happen Quickly

Recently, video from a traffic camera in Wisconsin captured a winter weather pileup in real time. The reel shows three lanes of heavy traffic moving fairly slowly through heavy snow. But then, several vehicles traveling faster than all the rest speed past. They skid. They collide. They block the road. Soon after, several other vehicles traveling too fast for the conditions slam into those vehicles. Within a matter of seconds, police say some 70 vehicles are involved in the crash.

In some cases, these incidents result in deaths. More frequently, they end in serious injuries that necessitate astronomical medical expenses, lost wages and vehicle damage. A 2002 study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicated that the average crash with a critically injured survivor costs about $1.5 million total.

A more recent calculation by AAA indicated that the cost of a fatal crash is roughly $6 million, while an injury-only wreck costs, on average, $126,000. (The disparity between the $1.5 million and $126,000 figures can be explained by noting that not all crashes result in permanent or serious injuries; The $126,000 figure is the average for all injuries, not just those that are critical.)

Still, the costs are sizable no matter how they are calculated.

For the victims, these cases can be difficult from a liability standpoint. A lot of times following a multiple-vehicle crash, insurance companies will conduct their own investigations, side-by-side with police, to determine which parties were at-fault. However, untangling chain reaction incidents can be tough, and it is sometimes impossible to figure out who was the first to make a mistake.

What you can bet on, though, is that insurance companies are out to reduce their own liability however they can. This is why anyone involved in a multi-vehicle accident should contact an experienced accident attorney as soon as possible.

Given the high costs of involvement in such an incident, it’s in your best interest to have an experienced advocate on your side from the start.

Contact the New Haven Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone & Morelli by calling 1-800-WIN-WIN-1 or visiting www.salomoneandmorelli.com.

Hartford Car Accident Prevention Aim of Technology

Tragedy struck recently in Danbury, a small town just 40 minutes outside of Hartford. There, officials say a three-vehicle crash on Route 53 resulted in three deaths.

Authorities say the 45-year-old driver of a Honda Accord lost control of his vehicle, crossed the center line, crashed head-on into a Buick Lucerne, which was then pushed into a box truck.

The two people in the Buick, both in their late-70s, were taken to the hospital where they later died. Also pronounced dead was the driver of the Accord.

The crash remains under investigation. The Hartford personal injury lawyers at the Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone & Morelli note drivers must always be held accountable for causing serious or fatal traffic collisions, even as technology continues to be deployed in an effort to reduce the risks. In particular, vehicle-to-vehicle communication devices are nearing the marketplace.

The hope is that such devices will be able to successfully intervene in future would-be crashes. Today, that future looks closer than ever.

News of this crash happened just days before the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced that it will begin taking steps to enable vehicle-to-vehicle communication (V2V) for light vehicles. This technology would allow vehicles to “talk” to one another in exchanging basic safety data, such as position and speed. These transmissions can be exchanged up to 10 times every second.

There is no personal information or tracking details exchanged in the transmissions. Nor is there any identification of one vehicle to another. Rather, the communications relate to basic safety information.

Lauded by safety advocates, V2V basically works like this:

Normally, a driver’s only means of avoiding a possible wreck is to see the danger and quickly react with evasive action to avoid it.

With cars that have V2V radio devices, the car itself would sense the danger. The application of brakes in one car would send an electronic signal to other cars nearby, and those vehicles would then react immediately and automatically.

Additionally, vehicles could engage in something like “group discussions.” Facts about traffic conditions, direction and speed could be sent rapid-fire to other surrounding cars.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx was recently quoted as saying that this technology could potentially prevent as much as 80 percent of the traffic deaths that occur each year. In the U.S., we lose more than 32,000 people in motor vehicle crashes each year. Every 16 minutes in this country, somebody dies in a traffic crash.

In Connecticut, we’re talking 220 to 320 people annually (the number who died in 2011 and 2010, respectively).

This devices would also potentially prevent a huge number of serious injuries. The NHTSA reports that more than 5.3 million crashes are reported to police every year in the U.S. Of those, approximately 3.8 million involved major property damage and more than 2.2 million resulted in some type of injury.

Automakers have been developing V2V technology for years. The NHTSA is wrapping up on a year-long pilot program in Michigan. Agency officials say once that period is over, it will complete a research report that will estimate the cost, privacy, security and technical feasibility of a formal requirement. Then the agency will open the issue for public discussion before making an actual proposal.

Technology of course wouldn’t prevent people from engaging in distractions behind the wheel or driving while drunk or too tired. However, if they could instantaneously alert to the danger – and further initiate an immediate mechanical reaction to that danger – we may all be safer for it.

Contact the Hartford Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone & Morelli by calling 1-800-WIN-WIN-1 or visiting www.salomoneandmorelli.com.

Have You Suffered a Concussion? Common Brain Injuries Under Scrutiny

Each year in the United States, an estimated 1.7 million victims experience a head injury and 75 percent of those patients suffer from a concussion. A concussion is a temporary disruption in the way the brain functions, and it can cause a variety of symptoms that seem to last for a short period of time, such as sensitivity to light and sound or changes in mood, cognitive function and behavior. Most concussions are caused by car accidents, falls or violence, but there are also other reasons for these types of brain injuries to occur, including sports injuries.

If you are one of the many people who has experienced a concussion, you may think that you’ve recovered fully as those first weeks and months pass. Unfortunately, brain injury attorneys in Hartford know concussions can have lasting impact. Recent studies suggest changes to the structure of the brain can still be seen on a diffusion MRI four months after a concussion occurs. Repeated concussions can also have a serious long-term impact on victims, resulting in a significantly increased risk of dementia and other complications.

The Lasting Effects of a Concussion

When a CT-scan or an MRI is performed several months after a concussion occurs, the brain may appear to have returned to normal. However, a new study published in the medical journal Neurology suggests that this is not actually the case. The study involved researchers from the University of New Mexico using a diffusion MRI to take a closer look at the effects of concussion on the brain.

A total of 26 patients who had experienced a mild trauma and concussion had a diffusion MRI performed 14 days after the concussion and then another diffusion MRI performed four months after the head trauma. At the same time as the diffusion MRI was performed, the victims of the trauma also underwent cognitive and memory testing.

A diffusion MRI works differently than other types of MRI’s because the test traces molecules moving through the brain, especially water molecules. The result is that the test paints a clearer picture of the architecture and the structure of the brain. The diffusion MRI of the concussion victims showed that compared to 26 healthy patients who had not experienced any head trauma, those who had experienced a concussion had 10 percent more fractional anisotropy (FA) in the grey matter of the prefrontal cortex. This result showed up in the test that was conducted four months after the concussion occurred, suggesting that the brain looks different for a long time after trauma.

It was not clear from the research exactly why the 10 percent more FA was present in the brains of concussed victims. It could have been a function of healing, or the increased FA may also have been caused by fluid buildup that had occurred during the concussion and not been resolved. However, the increase may also have been due to changes in the brain’s structural cells.

The behavioral tests also revealed that the victims who had experienced the concussion did not perform as well on memory tests or tests of cognitive function.

All of this is bad news for brain injury victims as it suggests that a concussion is a major injury with a lengthy recovery time and potentially long-lasting changes to the brain.

Contact the Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone & Morelli in Hartford today to schedule a free consultation. Call 1-800-WIN-WIN-1.