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Toronto Personal Injury Law Blog

Legal options regarding brain injuries on construction sites

Construction workers in Ontario and elsewhere are exposed to numerous safety hazards, with fall accidents among the most prevalent. For that reason, it is vital for employers in this industry to comply with the safety regulations of both the Ministry of Labour and the Occupational Health and Safety Act. Falls can have catastrophic consequences, including brain injuries and even death.

Following a Dec. 2015 fall in Ontario, a roofing company was recently convicted and fined $55,000 after a guilty plea in a Mississauga court. Reportedly, the case arose after a roof worker fell about 27 feet to a lower level. Court documents indicated that workers failed to cover or guard an opening in the roof where they had removed a skylight.

Damage recovery re brain injuries can be challenging

While head injuries are typically associated with auto accidents and contact sports, other causes exist. Falls make up a significant percentage of brain injuries that occur in Ontario every year. Following a recent incident, a truck driver is being kept in an induced coma to allow swelling on his brain to subside.

The victim is a 61-year-old with more than four decades of trucking experience who was delivering a load at a mould-making company when he fell off the trailer. Reportedly, he helped with the off-loading of a load that he brought from south of the border. Along with a collapsed lung and broken ribs, the six-foot fall apparently caused a fracture to his skull as well as swelling and bruising of his brain. A tube is apparently draining fluid to reduce pressure, and doctors are unsure of his prognosis when -- and if -- he wakes up.

Brain injuries: Concussion, TBI, CTE -- what are the differences?

Much research is being done to find ways in which people in Ontario and elsewhere can be protected from suffering head injuries. Although the emphasis is placed on athletes -- particularly in contact sports like football and hockey -- car accidents, domestic violence and many other causes of brain injuries exist. A new study brought more clarity to the differences between concussion, traumatic brain injuries and chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

Researchers determined that, contrary to popular belief, TBI can occur without the presence of a concussion, and not all concussions result in brain injuries. They say a concussion is a syndrome that results from a jolt, rapid movement or strike to the head that causes the shaking of the brain. In contrast, TBI is an event or injury that causes damage to brain tissue rather than a syndrome of which the symptoms are only temporary.

What are different types and causes of acquired brain injuries?

Different causes for brain damages exist. For Ontario residents, confusion is sometimes caused concerning ABI and TBI. Acquired brain injuries are those that were not inherited, degenerative, congenital or caused by trauma at birth. Therefore, any brain injuries suffered after birth are acquired injuries and classified as mild, moderate or severe. Any brain injury is serious, regardless of its classification.

TBI alters or disrupts the normal functions of the brain, and the level of the effect on brain functions determines the classification of the injury. Although it does not decrease the victim's intelligence level, it can reduce the person's ability to function as before the injury. One of the causes of TBI is trauma ,which can follow penetration, crushed, open or closed skull injuries.

Brain injuries are not always identified immediately

After a severe bump to the head or a shaking motion in a car accident or sports activity, damage to the brain may not be recognized as such. The rapid movement of the head in an incident like a rear-end crash can cause the brain to smash against the inside walls of the skull, often causing traumatic brain injuries. It can be challenging for Ontario doctors to determine whether a particular injury is a TBI or the effect of other injuries suffered in the same accident. 

When the brain is injured, various brain functions may be disrupted, depending on the area in which the damage occurred. The injured person can become excessively sleepy, and along with struggling to pay attention or concentrate, he or she may find it difficult to switch from one task to the next. These impairments can cause irritability, diminished libido, emotional outbursts and depression.

Several agencies form group to teach parents about brain injuries

The risks Ontario youth face during participation in some sports activities have been the subject of many conversations among authorities and parents alike. The Concussion Orientation for Parents of Active Youth (COPAY) was recently established to create awareness and provide parents with the tools and knowledge they need to recognize concussions as brain injuries and know what steps to take when such injuries occur. It is vital that the correct decisions be made immediately after a child suffers a brain injury.

Too often, people will say: "Oh, it was only a concussion," not realizing that a concussion is a traumatic brain injury. It can result from a fall, a blow to the body or head, or any injury that causes the shaking of the brain, smashing it against the inside walls of the skull. The swelling around a sprained ankle is taken seriously because the swelling is noticeable, but nobody can see the swelling of the brain that could cause permanent damage.

Traumatic brain injuries are exactly that -- traumatic

Many injuries follow acute events, and although they may be severe, most injuries heal eventually. Brain injuries also follow such incidents, but they are often life-changing. People in Ontario who have loved ones that suffered traumatic brain injuries will know that there is a perfect reason for brain injuries to be called traumatic. It is because the consequences of these injuries are typically extremely traumatic for the victim and his or her friends and family.

Brain injuries can cause the abrupt change of what a person perceives as a normal life. While other injuries may puncture a lung or fracture a leg, brain injuries do not only cause the limited use of a particular body part for a limited time until the wound is healed. Instead, it may change the victim's personality and all aspects of his or her life, possibly forever.

Brain injuries changed the life of Ontario singer-songwriter

An Ontario singer-songwriter and musician urges bicycle riders to wear helmets. The Windsor-born resident of Walkerville believes she might have escaped traumatic brain injuries had she worn a helmet on the day in June 2016 when she crashed. She explains how her life has changed after that day of which she remembers nothing.

She says her life has become a matter of before and after the crash, and this reflects in the songs she writes now. The woman says she was told that a person who came upon her sprawled body on the street called 911. She learned later that she had suffered brain trauma that included bleeding on the brain, a condition that required rest for at least six weeks.

Fatal brain injuries might have caused pedestrian's death

Pedestrians on the streets of cities in Ontario will always be vulnerable, particularly after dark. When pedestrians are struck, brain injuries are often the result, and, in many cases, victims do not survive. Brain injuries typically have an adverse effect on the lives of victims and their loved ones. The trauma to the loved ones can be exacerbated if the injuries turn out to be fatal.

On a recent Friday evening, a woman was struck by a vehicle as she crossed a street in Toronto. According to a preliminary report by police, the accident occurred at approximately 11:30 p.m. Authorities say the driver who knocked her down remained at the accident scene with a minivan of which the front windshield was shattered on impact.

Mountie awarded over $700,000 for on-the-job brain injuries

On Feb. 15, 2011, a police officer who headed up a Royal Canadian Mountie Police detachment's drug unit in another province was involved in a motor vehicle crash. He also played a role in undercover investigations across the country, including in Ontario. On that day he was heading to a secret drop location when a collision caused him to suffer brain injuries. The events of that day ultimately led to a court recently awarding him more than $700,000 in monetary damages.

Reportedly, the accident occurred when a tractor pulled onto the road without yielding, directly into the path of the undercover van he drove. The impact apparently caused his vehicle to roll, and the driver was later found unconscious in the van. However, it was determined that the speed of the van exceeded the limit of 50 km/h in that zone, contributing to the cause of the crash.

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