A single blow to the head ended the life of a soccer referee in Salt Lake City, Utah. The incident occurred during a recreational league when one of the players who was called for a foul began arguing with the referee, Ricardo Portillo. The argument became heated, and the player (who was much bigger than Portillo) punched him in the face.
Portillo initially said he was fine, but then he became dizzy and started vomiting blood. Portillo complained that his face and back hurt, and that he felt nauseous. An ambulance was called, but Portillo fell into a coma once he reached the hospital.
While this is a tragic story, it is an example of how blunt force trauma can lead to traumatic brain injury. One punch (with enough force) can lead to such an injury that can trigger brain swelling and intracranial pressure on the brain. Too much pressure can stop blood from flowing to the brain and the person could lose consciousness and eventually fall into a coma.
Despite the chance blow to the head, and the bad combination of circumstances, the player could be held liable for Mr. Portillo’s death. Even though they were playing a game, the punch was not part of the expected (or foreseeable) contact that comes with playing soccer.
With Portillo losing his life, his surviving family members could initiate a wrongful death lawsuit to seek compensation for his future lost income, loss of companionship and mental anguish.
If you have questions about wrongful death claims, an experienced personal injury attorney can help.
Source: CBS News.com, Soccer referee’s death shows how dangerous head blows can be, May 6, 2013