Remembering Football Player’s Brain Injury: Underscores the Dangers of Negligence Even After an Injury has Occurred
It was almost exactly one year ago that a local Wharton teen was severely injured during football practice. Just a year ago, Tampa teenager, Sean McNamee, was playing football at his high school athletic field, when he leaped for a pass only to land head-first into a paint machine that had been left sitting right next to the sidelines. The injury caused severe brain injuries, and he was placed in a medically induced coma for nine days in order to reduce swelling, according to news reports. Nevertheless, it is not so much the negligent act of leaving the machine so close to the field that made this case so unnerving; it is what happened after the accident.
Negligence Before and After
Most experienced personal injury lawyers will tell you that negligence can be due to a negligent act or a negligent omission, meaning failure to act. So, it may be negligent to leave a paint machine at the edge of the field where young athletes practice, but it may be equally negligent to fail to offer adequate and timely assistance to someone who is injured. This would be an example of “omission.”
Likewise, consider the case of young Sean McNamee. The alleged negligence that occurred before the injury was the placement of the paint machine. However, if supervising teachers and coaches failed to take timely actions to transfer the boy to the hospital or failed to monitor him closely after the injury, then those actions taken or not taken subsequent to the accident may be just as negligent.
Damages Available for Government Negligence
The McNamee case also underscores how difficult it can be to collect from the state. Government entities in Florida can be sued; however, they are only able to settle or pay claims up to $200,000. According to news reports at the time, McNamee’s medical bills alone exceeded this amount. In order to recover more than that amount, the Florida state legislature would have to be consulted and approve the payment.
Recognizing Negligence After-the-Fact
If you are injured but feel the injury was not anyone’s fault, you may be overlooking the possibility that the actions taken after the injury were unreasonable or dangerous. Many people are injured in otherwise innocent ways – falls in doctor’s offices, school-related injuries, or simple slip and fall incidents in public places – yet the facility or business does little to offer assistance after the injury. Some individuals have suffered concussions, fractures, and head injuries from simple falls, yet the real injuries develop because no medical treatment was received for days or even weeks after the injury. Consider carefully whether you received timely treatment and whether the business owner or facility where the injury occurred did everything reasonable to provide care and attention after you were hurt.
In the McNamee case, there was video evidence that showed the teen left unattended and unsupervised for a substantial amount of time directly after his injury and showed him leaving the field alone. Such evidence would suggest that his injuries were not treated as seriously as they should have been. If you or someone you love has been injured in the Tampa Bay area, and you suspect appropriate measures were not taken afterward, you should immediately contact a skilled personal injury attorney at the Romero Law Firm who can carefully review the facts and determine whether compensation may be due.