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Ken Margolin
Ken Margolin
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PET Scan Aids Large Brain Injury Settlement

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This week’s Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, reported a $3.3 million dollar settlement in a brain injury case. The plaintiff was a contractor in his mid-40s, who was allegedly struck by an improperly secured piece of equipment, while climbing a ladder in a poorly-lit area of the water supply tunnel project on which he was working. After the blow, he complained of headaches, hypersensitivity to sound, forgetfulness, inability to organize, and other classic traumatic brain injury symptoms.

The settlement was noteworthy because both CT Scans and MRIs, long used to diagnose brain injury, showed no injury. Positive Emission Tomography (“PET”) and a Quantitative Electroencephalograph (“QEEG”) scans, however, showed areas of the brain that were damaged. PET and QEEG scans are not new, but have been constantly improving. In some head injury cases, they may still be subject to challenge on the basis that they are not sufficiently accepted scientifically, for their results to be admitted into evidence.

The defense in the reported case did not mount such a challenge. Plaintiff may have been aided by evidence that one of the defendant’s managers lied during his deposition. He testified that the area where the plaintiff was hurt was “lit up like Fenway Park.” The construction team, however, had filed a report describing the area as dark. Moreover, a former employee was prepared to testify that the same manager warned him to keep his mouth shut about the area being dark.

For more information on this subject matter, please refer to the section on head and brain injury.