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He ‘Never Killed A Man That Did Not Need Killing’

Almost exactly 130 years ago this month, notorious Wild West gunfighter Clay Allison, whose violent behavior may have been caused by a childhood brain injury, died in a wagon accident in Texas.

Mr. Allison, who was born around 1840 in Waynesboro, Tennessee, displayed odd behavior from a young age. During the Civil War, he was discharged from the Confederate Army because of a “partly epileptic and partly maniacal” condition. Historians are fairly certain that this condition came about because of a childhood head injury, because Mr. Allison behaved erratically for most of his adult life. In the 1870s, the gunfighter shot several defenseless people, often in a very grisly fashion. Later, in the 1880s, he rode naked through the streets of a Texas town and, following a dispute with a Wyoming dentist, angrily used a pair of pliers to forcibly extract one of the man’s teeth.

After a sudden jolt threw Mr. Allison off a freight wagon near Pecos and he was caught under the wheel, his gravestone made the extremely dubious claim that Mr. Allison was “a Gentleman and a Gunfighter. . .who never killed a man that did not need killing.”

Brain Injury Symptoms

About 1.7 million Americans sustain a traumatic brain injury every year, and even though about 80 percent of them go to the emergency room, many of these victims are not properly identified and treated, because TBIs are notoriously difficult to diagnose. For example, most medical practitioners know that loss of consciousness is a telltale sign. But many victims only experience a partial loss of consciousness, and this dazed state may be misdiagnosed as shock from the accident.

After a few hours or days, the initial symptoms give way to tinnitus (ringing in the ears), persistent headaches, personality changes, and trouble sleeping. Without aggressive medical treatment and physical therapy, TBI victims will eventually experience dementia-like symptoms.

Brain injuries are permanent, because dead brain cells do not regenerate. However, early and aggressive treatment and therapy can make the symptoms much more manageable. TBI victims and their families are typically entitled to compensation for economic damages, like lost wages, and noneconomic damages, like loss of consortium (companionship and household contributions).

TBI Causes

More than likely, Mr. Allison sustained his childhood TBI following a fall. Today, playground falls are among the most common TBI causes for children under 8. Other common causes include:

  • Motor Vehicle Crashes: Seat belts and airbags were not primarily designed to reduce brain injuries.
  • Workplace Injuries: Falls, falls from a height, and struck-by incidents are among the most common causes of TBIs at work.
  • Sudden Loud Noises: Doctors theorize that explosive blasts and other incidents create shock waves that disrupt brain functions.

These incidents often have a cumulative effect, so one or two loud noises may not cause much damage, but the effect multiplies with each exposure.

Contact Aggressive Attorneys

TBIs often bring life-altering physical and financial challenges. For a free consultation with a zealous personal injury lawyer in Port St. Lucie, contact Eighmie Law Firm, P.A. We do not charge upfront legal fees in personal injury cases.

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