The Matt Hughes Case: Traumatic Brain Injury

Brain Injuries Often Change Far More than Noticed

Former MMA champ Matt Hughes’ life changed forever in 2017. A severe crash between his truck and a train resulted in changes that he could have never anticipated.

Many of the aspects of the crash are well known. One way or another, Hughes’ truck collided with the Norfolk Southern train. Hughes claimed that he was driving properly and that the railway company did not properly warn drivers of the crossing. NS claims that Hughes was on his ell phone and did not stop at the crossing. Regardless of the exact circumstances, the effects were clear: Hughes was severely injured in the crash.

The Risks of TBIs

Hughes’ physical injuries are extreme. Watch an interview with him and it’s clear that he is a changed man. However, the worst damage was done to his brain. Hughes and his attorneys allege that he suffered severe brain damage due to the event.

A Traumatic Brain Injury, or TBI, affects different people in different ways. Often, the results are permanent. Such an injury often reduces the patients’ prior abilities. This often includes the ability to reason, hold relationships, and make them prone to depression, suicide, or even violence. Such injuries are especially common among players of contact sports, like football.

To be sure, Hughes’ behavior has changed. We can see this in the recent allegations of physical abuse. Hughes denied that he ever laid a hand on his wife. However, as TMZ reported, Hughes stated that he has changed significantly due to the crash two years ago.

In fact, Hughes believes that many of his troubles, including this suit are due to his brain damage. He said that “I understand that it is not fun to teach a grown man to learn to do everything all over again. I understand that I am a burden to those around me. I understand that I am an inconvenience to my family.”

Matt Hughes’ Lawsuit: A Legal Perspective

Does He Have a Strong Case?

Former MMA champ Matt Hughes is a changed man. In most ways, much for the worse. Hughes was involved in a near fatal train crash in 2017. It severely injured both his body and brain. As a result, his career is over and his life turned upside down.

Recently, Hughes announced that he is suing the train operator responsible for the crash.

MMA Fighting had a good write up of the situation. Hughes alleges that the Norfolk Southern Railway was negligent by not warning motorists of dangerous conditions at the railway crossing. It was at this location that Hughes’ Chevy Z71 truck collided with the truck. According to the suit, Hughes alleges that NS did not place appropriate warning signs at the site. Even worse, he alleges that NS knew of the potential danger beforehand and did not act. Furthermore, Hughes stated that he was driving lawfully before the crash. The collision resulted in severe physical damage and a traumatic brain injury.

On the other hand, the railway believes it is not at fault. Norfolk Southern stated that the crash was Hughes’ fault. The company stated that Hughes failed to stop prior to the crossing. Furthermore, NS states that Hughes did not see the train oncoming and failed to yield the right of way. The company goes so far in their rebuttal to state that Hughes “knowingly drove his vehicle onto a railroad grade crossing” and was using his cell phone.

This also isn’t the first major lawsuit NS faced recently. The company was sued in a wrongful death case in Virginia.

Does Hughes Have a Case?

All of the facts are not yet in, although I’ve been following this one closely. Mr. Hughes has a strong case. In many ways, even if NS’s assertions are partially true, it is likely that it did not create a safe railway crossing. If the company knew that there was a potential danger and did not place adequate signage at the site, it was a major and avoidable error. In this way, it likely meets the definition of strict liability.

I’m not sure if Matt Hughes will win his suit. However, we will be reporting on it and any developments here.


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