Disaster Relief Effort Ends In Tragedy

A 72-year-old flood relief volunteer from Alabama suffered a fatal head injury after a fall at an area laundromat.

Bryant Edwards “Sonny” Ellis had just arrived in Denham Springs from Satsuma, Ala. to assist other relief volunteers who were already on-site. According to Satsuma First Baptist Church Pastor Roy Hill, Mr. Ellis slipped and fell in the parking lot of a Denham Springs coin-operated laundry facility. Friends remembered him as a selfless person who loved to give of himself. “Sonny always wanted to be involved in whatever was going on, and he loved to serve,” Rev. Hill remarked.

Mr. Hill is survived by his wife of fifty years Gloria Hill, daughters Kim Moore and Chris Parker, five granddaughters and a great-grandson.

Traumatic Brain Injury

Older adults are one of the most common demographic groups among the 1.7 million Americans who suffer a TBI every year. Sometimes, these injuries are almost instantly fatal. Other times, these injures are misdiagnosed as early-onset dementia, because the initial symptoms, like confusion and disorientation, are very similar. Subsequently, head injury victims begin to experience chronic headaches, personality changes, sleeplessness, and other symptoms. All these things make it difficult or impossible to function in daily life. Eventually, victims may experience loss of function and even death. Sometimes it takes these symptoms months or years to progress, and other times it is a matter of hours or days.

Since brain cells do not regenerate once they die, TBIs are permanent in almost every sense of the word. But healthy brain areas can eventually learn to take over the lost functions, after aggressive medical treatment and extensive physical therapy.

In addition to fall-related head injuries – which are also prevalent among children – these injuries may occur due to:

  • Assault: If the incident occurred at work, and it often does, the employer may be responsible under negligent hiring or negligent supervision.
  • Motor Vehicle Crash: If a vehicle collides with an object and stops suddenly, items inside the passenger area (like briefcases and cellphones) keep moving at the previous speed until they too collide with an object, like a person’s head.
  • Sports: Although participants may assume some of the risk of injury, the governing body and the participants themselves have a duty to make the activity reasonable safe.

Compensation in a TBI case normally includes money for both economic damages, like lost wages, and noneconomic damages, such as loss of enjoyment in life. Punitive damages are also available, in many head injury cases.

TBIs are among the most serious injuries, because of their lifelong consequences. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Lake Charles, contact Hoffoss Devall. Our attorneys are licensed in both Louisiana and Texas.