Case signals need for consumer awareness about helmet safety
FORT LAUDERDALE, FL – Linda Bauman was a vivacious young woman before a wakeboarding accident at Quiet Waters in August put her into a coma. Today, her law firm, Fort Lauderdale-based Kelley | Uustal, filed a lawsuit in Broward County Circuit Court against Pro-Tec, the company that manufacturers and sells the sports helmet she was wearing.
Linda was learning the water skiing-type sport when she landed head-first into the water. According to her husband, Les, a lieutenant for the Deerfield Beach Fire Department, she fell into a coma just minutes after swimming to shore.
“I watched her collapse to her knees. I ran over to her and asked her if she was okay,” he said. “She said she didn’t feel well and started rubbing her head.”
That was August 26, 2007, and she has been comatose ever since. She spent more than 100 days in the hospital and is now being cared for in a nursing home. Her husband is working diligently through community fundraisers and websites to collect the $150,000 he projects will be needed to send her to the Florida Institute of Neurological Rehabilitation (FINR), where he believes she will get the proper treatment. Insurance has denied his request for this treatment.
According to trial attorney, John Uustal, the lawsuit filed today alleges that the helmet was defective and actually caused Linda’s head injuries.
“Some helmets provide little or no real protection,” said Uustal. “Even worse, a bad helmet can actually cause additional injury.”
Uustal says that many consumers purchase sports helmets not realizing that the quality varies significantly of the products they assume are protecting them.
“Some manufacturers just meet the minimal standards allowed to bring the helmets to market,” he explained. “The different levels of protection between helmets is astounding.”
Uustal encourages consumers to do their homework to make sure the helmets they purchase will in fact offer protection. He recommends taking the following steps before purchasing a helmet: