A settlement has reportedly been reached in a Home Depot TBI lawsuit that alleged a man suffered a serious traumatic brain injury (TBI) while shopping in a California Home Depot. The settlement was announced shortly after the plaintiff asked the state court to award $50 million in damages as compensation for his brain injury. In many cases, a TBI can cause irreversible damage leaving the victim unable to continue work or be retrained for new employment.

According to court documents relating to the case, Plaintiff Jaime Beltran was shopping in a Home Depot store in Bakersfield, California, on June 9, 2013, when he was hit on the head by a box. Beltran alleged Home Depot employee Matthew Hilman was responsible for the box falling from the shelf, which hit Beltran on the head.

Home Depot TBI Lawsuit Revolves Around the Nature of  Brain Injuries

At issue in the Home Depot TBI lawsuit was not liability—the retail giant reportedly admitted it was responsible for the accident. Instead, the company argued that Beltran’s brain injury symptoms were less serious than he claimed, and that any TBI symptoms he currently displayed were the result of untreated psychological issues.

Beltran alleged the incident caused pain, memory problems, and decreased “executive function.” Ultimately, he argued that the brain injury caused permanent, irreversible brain damage.

Plaintiff’s TBI Caused by Metal Boxes

The lawsuit alleges that Beltran, a manager for a cement design company, was hit by two metal boxes that had been dropped from around eight feet up. Although he initially only reported feeling dazed, hours later Beltran went to the hospital with nausea and pain. He was diagnosed with a concussion, and has since undergone 60 neurological tests.

In requesting $50 million in the Home Depot TBI lawsuit, Beltran’s attorney noted that he could pay up to $8 million in medical bills, plus he has had to decrease his work with his cement business and will be unable to find other employment.

Before an award could be announced, the two sides settled for an undisclosed sum. The lawsuit is Jaime Beltran v. The Home Depot Inc., case number S-1500-CV-283696, in Kern County Superior Court.

 Economic Costs of Traumatic Brain Injury

One of the arguments made in a traumatic brain injury lawsuit is that the patient will suffer economic losses as a result of the TBI. A study conducted by SanBio Inc. appears to confirm that argument.

The study is called “Economic Burden of Illness for Patients with Traumatic Brain Injury Resulting in Chronic Motor Impairment,” and was presented at the World Congress of Brain Injury on March 31, 2017. Researchers found that long-term healthcare costs for those patients who have suffered a TBI with motor impairment are “significantly higher” than the healthcare costs for the general population. The highest costs were seen during the initial phase of injury, but even two years following injury, patients with a TBI and motor impairment faced healthcare costs of around $25,000.

These higher costs were reportedly associated with increased use of medical resources such as ER visits, rehabilitation and outpatient services.

“Patients with traumatic brain injuries incurred significantly greater costs than the control group across the board for medical services,” said Dr. Damien Bates, co-author of the study.

To conduct the study, researchers looked at the 299 patients aged 18 to 75 who received a TBI diagnosis in 2006 or later and who showed evidence of motor impairment at six months following the injury. The results of this group were compared with a control group of 600 patients who did not have a TBI diagnosis.

Signs of a TBI

Patients who have suffered a jolt to the head should be on the lookout for a variety of TBI symptoms, including headache, lightheadedness, dizziness, confusion, ringing in the ears, memory problems, restlessness, and weakness. Traumatic brain injury symptoms can appear immediately or can appear in the days following a trauma, and patients experiencing signs of a concussion or TBI should seek medical attention.

Long-term effects of traumatic brain injuries include Alzheimer’s disease and Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy.

Employees in the construction industry might want to be especially mindful of the risks of traumatic brain injuries. A recent study conducted by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) suggests that construction-related brain injuries account for the greatest number of work-related traumatic brain injuries. From 2003 to 2010, 2,210 construction workers died due to a traumatic brain injury.

“Although traumatic brain injury (TBI) is one of the leading causes of death and disability in the U.S., work-related TBI has not been well-documented,” researchers wrote as the background for the study, highlighting how little is still understood about the link between employment factors and brain injuries.

Brain Injury Lawyer

If you or someone you love has suffered a traumatic brain injury, contact Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman. Our attorneys are experienced in TBI litigation and are available to discuss your legal options.