The Long Road Back

Just over a year after a Lake Charles teenager sustained a traumatic brain injury in a car crash, he is leaving the hospital and going back to school for his senior year.

17-year-old Luke Burnham has been at TIRR Memorial Hermann in Houston ever since he was hit by a car while jogging. At first, doctors worried that the soccer player and cross-country runner would not survive the crash, and if he did, his brain injury would make him a vegetable. Initially, their fears seemed to be well-founded, because Mr. Burnham could only communicate by looking at “yes-no” cards and could not move, other than to straighten one index finger. But after aggressive treatment and therapy, he is ready to go back to school this fall. Although he is somewhat behind, Mr. Burnham took summer school classes, so he should be able to graduate with his peers.

“I’m looking forward to seeing all my friends again and all my teachers,” he remarked.

Brain Injury

Mr. Burnham is one of the very fortunate victims, because about 52,000 Americans die from traumatic brain injuries each year. This statistic underscores both the severity of these injuries and the long-term effects that usually last a lifetime. Since dead brain cells don’t regenerate, TBIs are permanent. But the symptoms are not permanent, because aggressive medical treatment usually bears significant fruit in these cases.

Adults over 65 and children under 14 are the most at-risk age groups for brain injuries. Some common causes include:

  • Motor Vehicle Crashes: Vehicle occupants sustain TBIs when their heads strike solid objects, like dashboards, or when they’re struck by loose objects flying around in the passenger compartment, like cellphones. Meanwhile, non-vehicle occupants, like pedestrians and motorcycle riders, are almost completely exposed to head, neck, and spine injuries.
  • Assaults: Barroom fights or quarrels between co-workers often cause much more damage than lacerations and broken bones.
  • Falls: Running children often run into objects, like tables or street signs, while even a minor fall can cause a serious brain injury in seniors.

Victims in these cases are typically entitled to compensation for both their economic damages, like property loss, and noneconomic damages, like emotional distress. Punitive damages are also available, in many instances.

Due to the serious effects of their injuries, brain injury victims are often entitled to significant damages. For a free consultation with an aggressive Lake Charles personal injury attorney, contact Hoffoss Devall. Our attorneys are licensed in both Texas and Louisiana.