A rush hour rear-ender (auto accident) on an Interstate highway leaves the plaintiff with a permanent injury for which damages are sought. On a Friday afternoon during rush hour, the plaintiff was riding as a front seat passenger. When heavy traffic stopped, the vehicle in which he was riding stopped. The vehicle driven by the defendant did not stop, resulting in a rear end crash. This crash set the stage for a four-vehicle chain reaction involving four vehicles. This kind of traffic jam is common when afternoon rush hour traffic clogs the highways. Knowledge of this type of local traffic pattern should make drivers alert to slow-downs or traffic stops.
While sitting in a stopped vehicle the plaintiff unbuckled his seat belt in order to reach into the back seat for something. It was at this moment that the defendant’s vehicle failed to stop, causing a rear end collision. Momentarily without a seat belt, the impact of the crash propelled the plaintiff forward, causing his face to impact the dashboard.
The plaintiff did not complain of pain or injury at the scene of the auto accident. After leaving the crash scene, the plaintiff began to suffer neck pain and headaches. After consulting a physician and a dentist, the plaintiff learned that his jaw had been broken in the impact with the dashboard. The impact also damaged three teeth irreparably. During the periodontal surgery to repair his teeth, a complication arose, resulting in numbness and tingling in the area of the surgery. These symptoms continue.
In the months following the crash, the plaintiff began to suffer from anxiety, mood swings, and depression. These and other symptoms led to the diagnosis of a mild Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) by a neuropsychiatrist approximately six months after the accident.
The primary point of contention in this case was disagreement about the extent of the plaintiff’s injuries and the origin of the injuries in the auto accident. Plaintiff’s attorneys insisted his injuries are real. They also pointed out that the plaintiff and his doctors chose a conservative treatment plan. The defendant’s attorneys argued that there had been no sign of a TBI at the time of the rear-ender, that there was no claim of closed-head injury at the emergency department, and that it was several months after the accident when the TBI was first diagnosed.
The case settled out of court with $400,000 awarded to the plaintiff.
It is important to remember that head injuries and some other injuries do not appear at the time of an accident, but emerge over time. Today, injuries of the kind sustained by the plaintiff may sound strange. The key to the injuries is in the fact that the plaintiff had unbuckled his seat belt immediately prior to the crash. Injuries of this kind were very common in the days before seatbelts.
If you or a loved one is injured in a rear-end auto accident, your injuries may lead to legal action to recover a financial settlement for your hurts and harms. The first step is to call upon and experienced and trusted attorney to evaluate your case. If you need an auto accident attorney, call Bettina Altizer. With more than 30 years of experience, Bettina and her team of professionals at Altizer Law, P.C., are widely trusted and respected for their representation of those harmed due to the negligence or wrongdoing of others.