Every year approximately 1.5 million people in the U.S. sustain a traumatic brain injury. Roughly 50,000 of them die; 85,000 suffer long term disabilities. At any given time in the U.S. more than 5.3 million people are living with disabilities caused by a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). The top three causes of TBI are falls, unintentional blunt trauma (typically, being
hit by something), vehicle crashes, and assaults (including gunshot). [Source: Centers for Disease Control]
TBI can range from mild concussion to severe. It can be caused by a blow to the head or by the head being forcefully shaken, causing the brain to move and often collide with the skull. These injuries can be sustained without any obvious damage to the skull or as a result of an open head injury. Brain injuries typically cause a short-term loss of consciousness or brief loss of consciousness to lengthy unconsciousness and change in mental status. TBI can result in memory loss, changes in movement or paralysis, damage to speech, hearing or vision, or depression and other emotional changes.
Example: Woman Sustains TBI due to Intersection Collision
A few years ago, in the Norfolk area of Virginia, a woman was injured in a crash and sustained TBI. The plaintiff was a 54-year-old woman who was stopped at a red light. When the traffic light changed to green, she drove through the intersection. At the same time, the defendant ran the red light driving at 35 mph, and struck the driver’s side door of the plaintiff’s vehicle.
Damage to the plaintiff’s vehicle was so extensive that responding police officers initially thought she must be dead. Their investigation began under the assumption of a fatality. The Fire Department and two Rescue units spent 309 minutes (6 hours) removing her from the vehicle. Her knees were pinned beneath the dashboard. There were 2 eyewitnesses to the crash.
The plaintiff was immediately transported to the hospital, where she was placed in the intensive care unit. She spent two weeks in a coma. The diagnosis was “closed head injury” with concussion. In addition to the head injury, she also suffered two broken ribs, a collapsed lung, and many other injuries. After waking from the coma, she was transferred to a local rehabilitation facility and underwent extensive physical, occupational and speech/language therapy.
Her eventual recovery was no less than miraculous. She recovered physically, but had ongoing cognitive problems, issues with short-term memory, and vertigo. At the time a settlement was reached in this case, she was still receiving therapy for vertigo. To this point, her medical bills totaled $140,256.61.
The defendant worked for a local garden center, and was doing work for that job when the crash occurred. While the plaintiff recovered, he received regular and frequent updates on her condition and progress.
The defendant’s employer tried to create conditions favorable to negotiation of a settlement outside the Court Room. The employer engaged a defense attorney, who negotiated the settlement on the defendant’s behalf. The company employing the defendant did not want the exposure of a trial or to have a jury return a verdict that exceeded the company’s $2 million insurance coverage. The case was settled for $1.9 million.
What to do if you are in a Serious Car Crash
If you can do so, collect as much information about the crash and the other driver as possible. Try to identify any eyewitnesses. Seek medical attention. Ensure that you are thoroughly checked for concussion or other TBI. Call a Trusted Personal Injury Attorney, like Altizer Law, P.C. Your attorney will help you obtain and gather together the reports and medical bills related to your injuries.
We never know when a car crash could happen or how serious your injuries might be. There is no time when the crash occurs to search for information or for an attorney. One way to protect yourself in the event of a serious crash is to protect yourself now by downloading our free mobile app (available in the Google Store or the Apple store: Altizer Law). It will help you call for help and guide you through the steps to take following a crash.