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Family settles brain injury lawsuit over baseball bat

The family of a boy who suffered a severe brain injury when he was struck by a baseball hit by a metal bat in a youth baseball game has settled its lawsuit over the incident for $14.5 million. Georgia parents with children active in sports may benefit from this information.

The parents had filed a products liability suit against the manufacturer of the metal bat, the national sporting goods store chain that sold the bat and Little League Baseball Inc., contending that the metal bat was too dangerous for young players.

The boy is unable to perform any functions of daily life without constant care, according to his attorney. The lawsuit alleged that metal bats are unsafe because they allow the ball to accelerate to greater speeds than traditional wood bats.

The theory of products liability allows recovery from all entities (persons or businesses) that are in the chain of manufacture and distribution of a defective product, without the plaintiff having to prove that the other side acted negligently, provided that the product is defective in design, manufacture, packaging or instructions, the defect renders the product dangerous and such defect is the cause of the injuries.

The teenager was pitching in a game in 2006 when a ball hit by the batter struck him in his chest. Although he seemed to reach for the baseball, as though he was going to throw to first base, he was unable to move further. The batted ball struck him in the chest with such force, and at just the right moment in his heart beat, that he went into cardiac arrest and suffered severe brain damage before he received oxygen.

In spite of a nearly immediate response from a spectator who was trained in CPR and paramedics who arrived within minutes of the accident, the boy's brain was without oxygen for 15 to 20 minutes.

Source: WRCB-TV, "$14.5M for boy's brain injury from metal bat," Wayne Parry, AP, Aug 22, 2012

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