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: