Los Angeles School Brain Injuries
Discovering that your child experienced a brain injury while at school or involved in a school-sponsored activity is one of the most devastating moments in a parent’s life. Parents entrust their children to schools each and every day with the understanding that the school will place their children’s safety as the utmost importance. However, sometimes the competitive nature of the school’s athletic program gets ahead of the safety of the children. These situations can lead to dangerous accidents, resulting in brain injuries for student athletes. If your child was the victim of an accident leading to a brain injury, you should be entitled to bring a claim for your family’s damages.
Brain Injuries in School Programs
The vast majority of brain injuries which students may experience often stem from contact sports. A recent study estimated that high school football players suffered an average of 11.2 concussions per every 10,000 games and practices. This represents a rate nearly twice as high as collegiate football players, who experience an average of 6.3 concussions per 10,000 football games and practices. This number is indicative of the extensive number of safety procedures colleges put in place to protect their players. The study was funded by the NFL and found that most concussion symptoms disappear shortly after the injury, although a number of concussions linger for weeks, months, or even years. The study was intended to focus on the lasting side effects of concussions experienced at an early age and the repercussions which NFL players have discovered occur in old age, such as depression, suicidal impulses, Alzheimer’s, or chronic traumatic encephalopathy.
The idea of your child succumbing to a dangerous mental illness several years after receiving a concussion during a high school football practice is a sobering thought for many parents, and it may often be difficult to bring a claim for damages against a responsible school district so many years after the injury occurred. However, in extreme circumstances, the brain injury reveals itself soon after the accident. Brain accidents can take years to recover from, and often lead to a future spent with rehabilitative care.
Common Types of Head Injuries in School-Aged Children
Children can suffer head injuries in may situations, from major vehicle collisions to a simple stumble and fall. In most cases, your anxiety as a parent will be worse than the head injury itself. In some cases, however, childhood head injuries can be serious and lead to temporary or permanent brain damage. Learning the types and signs of common head injuries in school-aged children can help you detect and treat these injuries as soon as possible after an accident.
About 90% of childhood head injuries are minor. These include grade I and grade II concussions. A concussion is an injury to the head due to some outside force exerted on the skull. Children can get concussions from falls, playground accidents, car accidents, and sports impacts. A grade I concussion can show no symptoms at all, or minor symptoms such as confusion or loss of alertness at the time of the injury. A grade II concussion is more serious, and can cause symptoms that last longer than 15 minutes.
A grade III concussion is serious, and involves loss of consciousness. A child with a severe concussion may also feel nauseous or exhibit vomiting. A grade III concussion is a sign of serious force involved in a head injury, and may cause damage to the tissues in the brain. A child may not show signs of a concussion right away. Symptoms may take days or even weeks to show after the incident occurs. Keep a close eye on your child for changes in behaviors or sleep patterns after a fall or bump to the head.
Cerebral contusions are more serious than minor concussions. A contusion describes bruising of the child’s brain, as well as possible bleeding and swelling. It is a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI) that can range from mild to extreme. Doctors may call a mild contusion a concussion. An extreme contusion, on the other hand, can lead to coma, brain damage, and even death. A child may sustain a contusion from any physical assault on the head, such as car accidents, serious sports injuries, and bad falls. Severe shaking of the head can also cause a contusion.
Symptoms of a contusion are similar to a concussion, but may be more serious. A child with a contusion may have a headache, nausea or vomiting, slurred speech, drowsiness, confusion, memory loss, or behavioral changes. You may notice an odd change in your child’s personality, such as increased irritability or depression. Some children may have seizures as a result of a serious contusion.
A break in your child’s skull can result in an open head injury, or brain penetration depending on the cause. A gunshot wound or stabbing, for example, can fracture the skull and penetrate the brain tissues. A minor skull fracture may require hospital observation for a few days before the child resumes normal activities. A major fracture could require surgical intervention to prevent further injury.
Visit a doctor immediately after an impact to your child’s head. A comprehensive medical exam and testing can properly diagnose a concussion or contusion. In addition, an MRI or CT scan can detect any swelling or bleeding in the brain, as well as skull fractures. Treatment will vary depending on the degree of the contusion. Your child may simply need rest, or require surgery to repair a hematoma or relieve pressure in the skull.
School Negligence Claims
If your child has suffered a brain injury after participating in a school-sponsored event, you may be entitled to bring a claim against a school district. The school district is ultimately responsible for the safety of students in all of its schools, whether this means adequately checking all athletic equipment or ensuring the appropriate training of the different school’s coaches. Negligence claims can occur from the failure of a coach to accurately supervise practices or the failure of a school to appropriately train coaches.
A family is entitled to bring a negligence claim for the following after their child suffers a brain injury:
- Medical expenses
- Future earnings
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium
A brain injury at such a young age is a devastating situation for any family. It could require a parent to quit their job to stay home and care for the child full time, with little hope of the child ever regaining independence. Brain injuries are difficult to recover from, and it often takes years of rehabilitative therapy to even regain the ability to perform daily functions.
PSB Law | Los Angeles School Brain Injury Attorneys
If your child suffered a brain injury while on a school campus, do not hesitate to contact the attorneys of Panish Shea & Boyle LLP. Our attorneys have years of experience in handling brain injury cases and will work closely with your family to ensure that the responsible party is held accountable for their actions or inactions. Contact our Los Angeles or Newport offices today for your initial free consultation.