Lieberman, Ryan & Forrest, L.L.C.
Somerset County
Hunterdon County

Can head trauma rise to the level of a disability?

The recent announcement of radio host Jim Gearhart’s departure due to a slip-and-fall injury illustrates the long-lasting effects that head trauma can have on an individual. 

Gearhart had served as the host of New Jersey 101.5’s morning show for 25 years. However, this past September Gearhart was injured in an accidental fall at his home. The 83-year-old radio personality reportedly suffered a concussion.

A head injury is no small matter. The effects of head trauma may include reduced cognitive functioning, confusion, and other symptoms that interfere with an individual’s ability to work. As a law firm that focuses on personal injury claims, we appreciate the importance of seeking compensation that will provide for a victim’s short and long-term care needs.

The procedure for pursuing compensation after head trauma will be different if the individual was working. Even in that setting, however, it is important to request a workers’ compensation package that provides for potential long-term issues, such as reduced income. A head injury caused by another person’s negligence may prompt a personal injury lawsuit. Lingering effects that interfere with a person's ability to work may also prompt an application for Social Security disability benefits. 

In the negligence and workplace examples, an insurance representative may approach an individual. We recommend that an attorney be consulted before agreeing to any insurance proposals that would prematurely settle an investigation into the cause of an accident and the potential liability of other negligent parties. 

Finally, it may require medical expert testimony in order to prove the full extent of a head injury to a jury. Although medical jargon can be dry and complex, our law firm’s litigation approach utilizes a variety of methods. Perhaps a visual presentation may communicate certain information more effectively to jurors. 

Source:, “Head injury leads to Jim Gearhart ouster from NJ 101.5,” Michael Symons, Nov. 25, 2015

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