Jury awards $10.2 Million in this case
A woman received a second brain injury when the vehicle in which she was traveling was rear-ended by a tractor trailer on a Virginia Interstate Highway. The first brain injury resulted from a fall on ice some years prior to this crash. During the intervening years, she had fought back bravely from the first injury and had become a known advocate for survivors of brain injuries.
While traveling to a brain injury conference, the vehicle in which she was traveling was rear-ended by a tractor trailer. The vehicle rolled over three times. Plaintiff and the driver of the vehicle had to be cut from the vehicle. Air transport took her to a nearby hospital. Immediately diagnosed injuries included a broken knee and bruises. More important than those injuries, she sustained a second brain injury.
Plaintiff’s attorney, a specialist in brain injury cases, admitted that there were challenges in proving the relationship of the second brain injury because of damage from the first injury and two other rear-enders during the prior three years. The attorney argued that Plaintiff had worked hard and made significant progress in recovering from the first brain injury. However, she had not been able to hold consistent employment.
Just two months before the crash at issue, Plaintiff had obtained a business license to do voiceover work. Part of the damage of the second brain injury was aphasia (which limits speaking ability and ability to understand spoken words).
Plaintiff’s attorney compared the brain injuries to an athlete who had sustained a serious leg injury, made some improvement, and then suffered a second such injury. The second injury destroyed the progress made after the first injury
Lay witnesses testified to the deterioration caused by the second injury. Physicians who had treated the plaintiff both before and after the second injury also testified. Brain scans made six years after the initial brain injury and seven years after that scan were compared to scans after the second brain injury were used by experts to demonstrate the new damage. Experts called by Plaintiff’s attorney, also testified that a person who had sustained a previous brain injury was more likely to sustain greater damage from a second brain injury that would someone who had not suffered a previous injury.
The trucking company that employed the driver of the tractor trailer involved in the crash argued that there was no significant deterioration from the first brain injury and the impairments resulting from it. However, the trucking company admitted liability a few days before the trial began.
At the conclusion of the two-week trial, the jury combined the actual medical bills ($288,000) with the projection of a life care planning professional, who said that caring for plaintiff for the rest of her life would require nearly $4 million. The jury awarded the plaintiff $10,222,667 in damages.
It is not a common occurrence to see a plaintiff who sustained a second significant brain injury. One can only imagine the mental and emotional distress experienced by Plaintiff after years of work to recover from the first injury, only to see it all taken away by a injury.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a crash with a tractor trailer truck or has sustained a brain injury through no fault of you own, call the trusted and experienced attorneys of Altizer Law, P.C. Bettina and Terri will help you to understand every aspect of your legal standing regarding the injury, and they will fight aggressively and tenaciously to win for you the greatest possible financial settlement.