MINNESOTA’S CONCUSSION AWARENESS LAW-CONCUSSION INJURY LAWYERS
In 2011, the Minnesota legislature recognized that public awareness of the consequences of concussion injuries needed to be improved. It passed what is generally called the Minnesota Concussion Awareness Law.
MINNESOTA LAW DEFINES A “CONCUSSION” INJURY.
The Minnesota Concussion Injury Awareness Law has been incorporated into the Minnesota statutes as Section 121A.38 which defined concussion as follows:
“Concussion” means a complex pathophysiological process affecting the brain, induced by traumatic biokinetic forces caused by a direct blow to the head, face, or neck, or elsewhere on the body with an impulsive force transmitted to the head, that may involve the rapid onset of short-lived impairment of neurological function and clinical symptoms, loss of consciousness, or prolonged postconcussive symptoms.
There are several important “take away” points that are embedded in that definition:
- A concussion can be caused either by a blow to the head or by a blow to another part of the body, which transmits forces to the head.
- An absolute loss of consciousness is not required. The presence of “clinical symptoms” without a loss of consciousness is sufficient.
While not directly addressed by the statute, it is important to note that respected medical literature has established that a “loss of consciousness” can be either total or partial. It is one of the most elemental or basic medical principles that loss of consciousness can be total, i.e. a coma or partial, i.e. , as in “lethargy” or “stupor” in which the victim remains partially consciousness but with slowed cognitive faculties.
LEGISLATIVE REQUIREMENT REGARDING SCHOOL-SPONSORED ATHLETICS.
Minnesota’s Concussion Awareness Law also required the Minnesota High School Athletic League to establish a program of information to be provided to school coaches, officials, use after weeks and their parents regarding the natures and risks of concussions, including the effects of continuing to play after receiving a concussion.
The statute absolutely required any coach or official to remove any youth athletes from continued participation in any youth athletic activity when the athlete exhibit signs, symptoms and behaviors consistent with the concussion or is suspected of having sustained a concussion.
THERE IS NO MINNESOTA LAW REGARDING CONCUSSIONS IN CAR ACCIDENTS.
Sadly, there is no Minnesota law regarding the evaluation of the victims of car accidents regarding potential concussion injuries. Sadly, the majority of the victims of concussions caused by the trauma of a car accident are not properly evaluated her screen for concussion injuries. As a consequence, the majority of concussion injuries occurring in Minnesota car accidents are overlooked.
These are the facts:
- 60% of the victims of moderate to severe car accidents sustain a concussion injury.
- Car accident concussion injuries occur in car accidents without a blow to the head. Concussions occur as the result of the “whiplash” that causes the brain to impact into the hard surfaces of the skull.
- Concussions occur without a frank loss of consciousness.
- Emergency room doctors cannot reliably diagnose concussions because they are often overwhelmed by the pain of the physical injuries and symptoms of shock. Further, the symptoms of concussions often progressively develop over a period of days after the collision so that they are not immediately present in the emergency room shortly after the collision.
MINNESOTA CONCUSSION INJURY LAWYERS PROVIDE HELP TO THE VICTIMS OF CONCUSSION INJURIES IN MINNESOTA CAR ACCIDENT.
The Minnesota Concussion Injury Lawyers at the Schmidt Salita Law Team and its staff are trained to screen clients who have been in car accidents for a potential concussion injury. They use screening protocols that are highly respected in the medical literature and used by respected medical institutions in the state of Minnesota, including the University of Minnesota Medical School. The results of that screening indicate that 60% of the people who have been involved in a moderate to severe car accident have sustained a concussion injury. Further, the results show that a large majority of those people have not been properly screened or evaluated for a concussion injury. Without medical evidence of the exestence of concussion injury and the resulting disability, these overlooked concussion victims would be denied fair compensation under the law. The Schmidt Salita lawyers are dedicated to preventing that from happening and bringing justice to concussion victims.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF A CONCUSSION
The signs and symptoms of a concussion injury are listed on the Rivermead Concussion Questionaire which is well respected in the medical community. These symptoms include the following:
Reduced cognition (memory, comprehension, concentration, slowed thinking, confusion with or without loss of consciousness);
Nausea or vomiting;
Sensitivity to light or noise;
Balance difficulties or light-headedness.
The victims of concussion injuries may or may not have all of these symptoms.
DOUGLAS SCHMIDT IS MINNESOTA’S LEADING CONCUSSION INJURY LAWYER.
Douglas Schmidt has 30 years of fighting for the legal rights of the victims of concussion injuries. He first became involved when he was President of District 6 Youth Hockey. He recognized that youth hockey players were sustaining concussion injuries that were being ignored. He worked with Dr. Michael Stuart of the Mayo Clinic to develop some of the very first protocol for the sideline recognition of concussion injuries. His experience includes contact with Big Ten Athletic Departments to raise the level of recognition of concussion injuries.
His recognition of the problem in youth sports translated into recognition of concussion injuries in car accidents. The knowledge gained in sports injuries opened his eyes to the fact that many car accident victims were experiencing concussion injuries that were being overlooked by the medical community. He began to realize that he needed to battle for the recognition of concussion injuries in car accidents-and has done that for the last 15 years.
Schmidt has become recognized nationally as one of the top concussion injury lawyers in the nation. In June of 2017, he served as the keynote speaker at the Brain Health Summit Online on the topic of “Overlooked Concussion Injuries in Car Accidents”, In May of 2017, Schmidt was asked to speak to the North Dakota Trial Lawyers Association on the subject of concussion injuries in car accidents and other traumatic events.
Schmidt has spoken at Continuing Education Seminars to Chiropractors on the subject of concussion injuries. His message has been that the medical community is overlooking many concussion injuries and chiropractors have a unique opportunity to assess and diagnose concussion injuries. Many concussion injuries develop symptoms progressively over days and weeks after the traumatic event. Medical doctors are at a disadvantage in that they are often seeing the patient for physical injuries when shock symptoms and severe pain overwhelm the symptoms of a concussion injury. Chiropractors, on the other hand, have the opportunity for closer contact over a longer period of time, after the acute symptoms of shock and severe pain have subsided.
Schmidt has been successful in bringing large settlements to the victims of concussion injuries that were not initially diagnosed. The Schmidt Salita Law Team recently settled a case for $900,000 in which the injury victim was released from the Emergency Department of the hospital without a diagnosis of concussion or traumatic brain injury, but was later diagnosed with a significant post concussion syndrome. In another case, the client did not seek medical attention until the next day when she was treated for her neck, back and ankle injuries-but not diagnosed with a concussion injury until more than 3 months later. That case settled for $350,000.00. Yet another case settled for $500,000.00 where the concussion injury was largely overlooked and untreated for nearly 2 years.
Courage Center (Courage Kenny): www.allinahealth.org/Health-Conditions-and-Treatments/Neurology/Concussions-in-sports
Minnesota Brain Injury Alliance: www.braininjurymn.org
Mayo Clinic: http://www.mayo.edu/research/centers-programs/traumatic-brain-injury-program/overview
HCMC Traumatic Brain Injury Center: http://www.hcmc.org/clinics/TraumaticBrainInjuryCenter/HCMC_CLINICS_448
REM Minnesota: http://www.remminnesota.com/standard/services.aspx?guid=0c1ec69e-9dcd-4523-8e8d-07db15138208
Regions Hospital Rehabilitation: http://www.regionshospital.com/rh/specialties/rehabilitation-institute/
MN Department of Education: http://www.education.state.mn.us/MDE/EdExc/SpecEdClass/DisabCateg/TraumBrainInj/index.html
The Schmidt Salita Law Team is a 5 star, AV rated personal injury law firm which serves the entire state of Minnesota, including Minneapolis and St. Paul, as well as Minnetonka, Maple Grove, Plymouth, Osseo, Anoka, Coon Rapids, Brooklyn Center, Fridley, Blaine, Shoreview, Woodbury, Falcon Heights, Columbia Park, Stillwater, Hastings, Inver Grove, Cottage Grove, South St. Paul, Apple Valley, Eagan, Burnsville, Savage, Shakopee, Richfield, Bloomington, Chaska, Chanhassen, Edina, Eden Prairie, and Hopkins.