The brain is the control center of virtually every essential process conducted by the human body, so even minor damage to this crucial organ can prove catastrophic. For the same reason, injuries to the brain can have dramatically divergent consequences, depending on the precise nature of the injury and where in the brain it occurred. Some common consequences of brain injuries include loss of motor skills, loss of memory, stroke, emotional changes, suicidal ideation, cognitive deficits, and permanent disability.
Because of the considerable seriousness of these types of injuries, they are usually treated with the utmost concern from a legal perspective. In civil law, for instance, brain injury victims are often entitled to pursue compensation far beyond what the victims of other types of injuries might receive, because of the significantly greater range of negative effects which they may experience.
Liability for an individual’s brain injury is determined largely on the basis of how the injury occurred. Many of these types of injuries result from traumatic accidents, such as vehicular crashes. In Georgia, for instance, a man who was severely injured in an accident with a large tractor-trailer sustained life-altering brain injuries. He pursued legal action against both the driver of the vehicle and Georgia-Pacific, the trucking company which owned the vehicle, eventually settling for an undisclosed sum to help pay for the damage he had endured.
Brain injuries also may occur in medical settings, either as a result of poorly performed surgery, improper administration of anesthesia, incorrect pharmaceutical prescriptions, or for a multitude of other reasons.
The recent class-action lawsuit filed against the NFL by as many as 2,000 former players is another clarifying example of the ways in which liability for brain injuries may be assessed. Though the case has yet to even reach the trial stage, the allegations made by the players make clear the basis for which they believe the NFL should be held liable for injuries to their brains: because the NFL was aware of scientific evidence demonstrating the serious harm that concussions can cause, but failed to make this danger clear to the players, they allege, the league should therefore be held accountable for medical bills and other damages they may have suffered. Many retired players have suffered mental illness after some time out of the league, with depression and suicide not being uncommon among them.