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Deadly Head Injury At Area Semi-Pro Rodeo

A part-time social studies teacher and part-time cowgirl from Florida was killed during the barrel races at the Southern Miss Coca-Cola Classic Rodeo.

One day before she turned 28, Lara Dewees, of Dade City, lost control of the horse reins for a split second going around the third barrel, and both horse and rider fell to the ground. The horse got back up with Ms. Dewees still on its back, but as she had lost the reins, the horse galloped out of control, out of the arena, and onto the parking lot. When the horse reached the asphalt, it panicked, lost its footing, and fell over. This time, Ms. Dewees was thrown off the horse. She was quickly transported to a local hospital, but never regained consciousness before passing away about a day later. Ms. Dewees is survived by her fiancé and 2-year-old son.

Forrest County Board of Supervisors President David Hogan called the incident “a terrible tragedy, and the entire board of supervisors is deeply saddened by it.”

Traumatic Brain Injury

Returning service members are becoming quite familiar with TBIs, as one in three combat injury victims at Walter Reed Army Medical Center have suffered a head injury. Doctors hypothesize that explosive blasts from IEDs and other events create a shock wave that significantly disrupts brain activity.

In the civilian world, TBIs are typically caused by sudden trauma to the head and/or neck, such as the force involved in a:

  • Motor Vehicle Crash: The sudden motion alone may trigger a TBI, as the brain essentially slams against the inside of the skull. Other times, loose objects inside the vehicle, like books, cellphones, and briefcases, become high-speed missiles during a crash event.
  • Falls: Young children and older adults are especially vulnerable to TBIs from falls or from running into unseen objects.
  • Assault and Battery: The damages sustained in a barroom fight or other incident often go well beyond surface trauma injuries.

Brain injuries are permanent, because dead brain cells do not regenerate. However, following extensive physical therapy, nearby brain areas can mimic the lost functions.

TBI Defenses

If the TBI occurred in any reasonably foreseeable situation, like a fall on a ropes course or at an amusement park, the insurance company generally argues assumption of the risk. There are two possible types:

  • Express: Participants in sports leagues, fun runs, and other such events nearly always sign liability waivers. Many times, these agreements are void under contract law, because they are arguably take-it-or-leave-it contracts of adhesion.
  • Implied: Sometimes, participants assume the risk of injury through their conduct. For example, a baseball fan might assume the risk of being hit by a foul ball.

In either case, the defendant must prove that the plaintiff voluntarily assumed a known risk.

Rely on Experienced Personal Injury Lawyers

TBIs cause lifelong injuries when the victims least expect it. For a free consultation with aggressive personal injury attorneys in Port St. Lucie, contact Eighmie Law Firm, P.A. An attorney can arrange ongoing medical care for victims, even if they have no money and no insurance.

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