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  • Richard L. Duquette

Brain Injury Basics

BECAUSE THE BRAIN is such a delicate and complicated organ, brain injuries can be a tricky thing to treat--and to prove in court. When cyclists hit their heads in accidents there are numerous ways that the brain can be damaged, and just as many ways for this damage to manifest itself. Here is a brief explanation of what may happen and how your attorney can prove it in court.

Types of brain injuries

When the brain is damaged within the skull from violent movement, like you would see in a car accident, it's very much like an ice cube that is shook in a drink when a glass is moved back and forth. This creates strains and pressures on the particular parts of the brain.

Depending on where the injury occurs, these strains can cause different types of cognitive malfunctions. For example, the Frontal Lobe, deals with the executive function and the ability to multi task when it is mashed. The frontal lobe also regulates higher executive functions, i.e. conscious thought memory, intelligence, concentration, behavior, personality and aggression. The Parietal Lobe results in deficits in language and word function, as well as executive function like calculating finances, computer use, sports, and recreational activities.

The base of the human skull is very rough, it's made up of three plateaus which have bony ridges and when the brain is shaken, these ridges tear into the brain. So, the areas that are most frequently damaged are the temporal lobes and frontal lobes when the brain is rotated as well as moved violently back and forth, the brain twists much like a water balloon would twist. i.e., if you took both ends of the water balloon and rotated them in different directions. What twists the most is the middle and this is near what we call the brain stem. This area has many fibers and connections called axons. This type of injury results in what called a diffused axonal injury. It is the most common kind of devastating head injury.

When Axons are sheered, the Axons are stretched and they slow down information. Visually when you look through colored glass, it slows down what you see. If you are seeking damages, you must try the case on a cellular level. The key is to compare before and after the accident and the symptoms thereof.

Symptoms of Brain Damage:

Some cognitive symptoms of brain damage are forgetfulness, lack of concentration, slowed work

performance, poor reading comprehension, problem solving problems and fatigue. Other symptoms include job demotion, functional release, loss of libido, unconsciousness, cadence of speech, and slowed mental process. Headaches, migraines, double vision. "phono" i.e. loud sound phobia or "photo" i.e. bright light phobia. Hearing fuzzy noises and breathing difficulty.

Also, depression due to a chemical reaction, headaches, cognitive symptoms, fatigue and emotional issues may surface. Food tastes fl at, things smell funny, personality changes. The Olfactory region deals with the sense of smell and taste, which if affected is evidence of a traumatic brain injury.

Symptoms can develop when the soft lobe hits the rigid brain bones. This may cause a cerebral contusion. The brain tissue becomes swollen and bruised. Blood vessels break and combine with swollen tissue. A contrecoup is a form of brain contusion that results when the brain comes in contact with the skull.

Diagnostic tools:

When diagnosing a traumatic brain injury, a MRI is used, but it's not sensitive enough to detect damaged Axons. If you suffer a contusion, you may also experience a diffused axonal injury. Nerves in the brain tissue are damaged.

Whereas, a CAT scan will determine a blood trail, but not mild traumatic brain injury. A PET scan is sensitive to cellular damage. A Spec Scan defines the course of treatment. EEG's are also used. It's a medical issue.


Brain injuries are serious and warrant appropriate compensation. Part of my role as your experienced trial lawyer is to research similar jury verdicts to your injuries and any loss of income fl owing from your disabilities.

I'm very interested in this process and would value the opportunity to assist you and your family.

Ride Safe – Ride Strong!

Mr. Duquette is a local Carlsbad, California Personal Injury Trial Attorney who since 1983 has mixed law with his love of Bicycling and Surfing from Baja to Bali. He can be reached via e-mail at and has a Web page at

His phone number is (760) 730-0500.


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