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Disabling Traumatic Brain Injuries Can Arise from a Single Concussion

Posted Apr 29 2013 9:20pm

Concussions have been in the news lately because stories about retired football players who are fighting cognitive loss, memory issues and severe depression that arises from brain injury. Athletes like football players and boxers often experience multiple concussions over many years, but damage to the brain can occur even after a single concussion .

Not All Head Injuries Carry the Same Significance

Scientists who study concussions and their aftermath have determined that not all head injuries are the same.  Medical researchers in Europe studying brain injury in unhelmeted soccer players report that It turns out that a head trauma from an angular blow causes significantly more damage than a straight on blow to the head.  It turns out that an angular blow causes twisting of the brain stem and more tearing of delicate nerve fibers.   1

The Studies

There have also been a number of studies in this country looking at the impact of head injuries arising from motorcycle accidents. Attorney Michael Ehline , 2 who writes extensively about negligence issues involving two and three wheel vehicles such as motorcycles and all terrain vehicles, has this to say about concussions and long term brain injury:

“Even if you wear a helmet, don’t think you’re safe from a head or brain injury. When a rider is thrown from his or her bike, and slammed into an inanimate object, or onto the pavement, aside from the injuries to the torso, neck, spine, arms and legs, the G-Forces alone can cause the brain to slam against the inside of your skull. If you see birds, or notice vertigo and memory loss after a spill on a bike, a likely reason for this is a TBI, or MTBI ( read more here .) A concussion is actually a brain injury. One way to know if you have one is to have another person shine a light into your eyes.

If the pupils do not enlarge and collapse as they normally would as part of normal dilation, that is a sure sign. A head injury that is delayed in seeking treatment, could even result in death. Don’t forget there could be swelling, or bleeding on the brain that needs to be relieved by a doctor. So the single most important thing a rider can do (besides having an excellent and aggressive tort attorney), is to get to the emergency room, by hook or by crook.  Make it happen. We have a list of things to do at the web address I gave Jonathan Ginsberg – I encourage you to check that out. 3

View a Helpful Video About Brain Injuries

Social Security Disability and Head Injuries

In the context of Social Security disability, Administrative Law Judges recognize the seriousness of closed head injuries arising from all types of brain injuries – from an accidental knock in the head to an industrial work injuries to a fall from a ladder. No matter what the cause, a significant brain injury – even from a one time event, can result in disabling symptoms.

There are basically two ways to win a Social Security disability claim if you are experiencing post-concussive or post-TBI symptoms. Social Security Listing 11.00 describes a variety of neurological conditions including epilepsy, Parkinsonian symptoms or cerebral trauma. If your case is “listing level” we focus mostly on the medical record as the Social Security Administration accepts that certain types of brain injury which clearly documented by a CT scan, MRI or other objective testing are inherently disabling.

If the objective evidence is not conclusive and your case does not exactly fit a listing, you can still win using a second argument called the functional capacity argument. In this type of presentation, we present evidence of both brain trauma and evidence that you suffer with debilitating symptoms. Evidence about your symptoms can come from a variety of sources including:

  • medical records
  • medical reports from your doctor
  • your testimony
  • testimony from a witness (a relative, friend or former co-worker)
  • constant and chronic headaches
  • short term memory loss
  • fatigue
  • balance issues
  • nausea
  • medication side effects
  • poor concentration
  • slow pace of activities
  • anger management issues
  • poor ability to structure a workday
  • poor ability to make simple decisions

If you or someone you know has experienced a bad concussion or is experiencing symptoms that interfere with work, I am happy to speak with that person about Social Security disability.

  1. Click here to review the abstract to a report in the British Journal of Sports Medicine entitled “Brain loading in concussive head impacts: implications for injury prevention.”
  2. You can contact Michael Ehline directly at
    Ehline Law Firm PC
    633 W 5th St #2890
    Los Angeles, CA 90071
    Phone: 1.213.596.9642
  3. One other point:  a victim could easily end up in bankruptcy court if there is no insurance, or court order mandating restitution to the rider by the person who caused the accident. In California, like the rest of the country, there is no debtor’s prison. But if a wrongdoer was drunk and hurt you, the prosecutor will hold a criminal restitution hearing before a judge. An excellent injury attorney will attend that hearing and secure an agreement from the defendant and the court, ordering payments to the Plaintiff as part of the evildoers probation, for example. So assuming the drunkard had no liability insurance, at least an excellent legal advocate can find some way to get financial compensation to the brain injury victim.

The post Disabling Traumatic Brain Injuries Can Arise from a Single Concussion appeared first on Social Security Disability Blog .

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