Severe Traumatic Brain Injury to Young Woman
Brain injuries are often different from other injuries. The victim often has a loss of memory and cannot help us with preparing the case. The victim’s family is, of necessity, so concerned with their injured family member, that they refuse to believe that proving liability, or negligence, could be a problem later on. In every case that goes to trial, the defense attorneys try to show that the victim was at fault, or partially at fault. In brain injury cases, we start off behind because our client frequently has some, or significant, memory loss. The insurance defense attorneys will use ambulance reports, medical records, and other physician, or nursing, records, to show that the victim had no, or little, memory of how they were injured. The victim is doubly penalized.
In the case of 27 year old Raven, a pedestrian who suffered a severe traumatic brain injury in a pedestrian accident, we had the above problems: Raven had no memory of how the accident happened when she arrived at the hospital and was unable to give any history of events to the emergency room physicians. She lost all short term memory for more than a week.
The taxi that struck Raven threw her onto the hood of the vehicle when her head smashed through the windshield, severely injuring her head. The injury was serious enough to be considered “severe” because of the length of time she was unable to remember even short term facts that were repeated to her.
Rehabilitation was slow, but steady. It was work, but Raven did the work and succeeded nicely; brilliantly, in fact.
Our job was to prove to the taxi’s insurance company that their driver was at fault. That wasn’t hard after we secured the police report, witness statements and photographs, all leading to the fact that the taxi turned from Broadway, in Cambridge, onto Main Street, heading due east, and “couldn’t see” the crosswalk, let alone Raven walking across it. The insurance company could see that we did our homework, we were aggressive Massachusetts trial lawyers in that we did not take the police report for granted: we secured witness statements and photographed the scene at the same time of day.
Next, our job was to prove how serious Raven’s injuries were. Brain injuries, without a lot of blood or broken bones, are not as easy to prove and insurance companies typically ask: is she back at work, and if so, isn’t she better? It’s a rhetorical question because often people can work with a brain injury, and even to similar capacity as before. However, it doesn’t feel the same. And in Raven’s case, everything got harder: it was harder to stay focused, to get a good night’s sleep, and to recover from even minimal sleep deprivation.
In this case, we worked with the doctors, especially the physicians at the Spaulding Rehabilitative Hospital, to get a good report to explain the permanency of Raven’s injuries; the CT scan report was insufficient. We needed the doctor to write up how disabled Raven was likely to be. Sitting down with the doctor, and Raven, we accomplished this goal; a report that explained why the injuries were permanent was produced and the insurance companies were convinced that we had sufficient evidence to prove, to a jury, that this was serious case. With that, the case settled.