Articles Posted in Car Accident/Truck Accident

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Automobile accidents are among the leading causes of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). This is due to the particularly violent nature of a car crash. The jolting of the head from the impact may cause the brain to move around inside of the skull, causing injury. There is also the risk that an object may penetrate the head and enter into the brain. When these accidents are caused by the illegal actions of others, the criminal justice system may ensure that they face the penalties required under law. However, a conviction does little to provide compensation for the vast monetary challenges that accompany a traumatic brain injury.

The New Haven Register is reporting about a woman who was sentenced to five years in prison, following a conviction for causing an accident that left a man with a TBI. As reported in the article, the alleged facts are as follows:
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On any given day, you are most at risk for suffering a TBI the moment that you enter a car and pull out onto the road. Motor vehicle accidents are far and away the most common cause of brain injuries, because they combine high speeds and (relatively) high chance of collision which are the hallmarks of head trauma.

But if car accidents are the single most likely cause of TBI, then the actual causes of the car accident are quite varied. There are simply many different factors that may contribute to one of these accidents on the roadway. Any legal action that might be pursued following these events will hinge specifically on those causes.

At times the answer may be somewhat straightforward. Perhaps a driver ran a red light and T-boned a traveler who was properly traveling through an intersection. At other times, the cause may not be so clear. That is because those involved may have different accounts of what happened, requiring sophisticated accident reconstruction specialists to examine the position of the cars and other factors to determine whose story is accurate. If things like drifting or speeding were the underlying cause, it takes close analysis to actually prove it.

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The Center for Justice & Democracy recently released a white paper on the sad state of class action lawsuits–as big companies have engaged in many attempts to undermine the critical legal tool. The increased difficulty in using class action lawsuits may have implications on some cases where brain injuries are involved. As with anything connected to the civil justice system, the weakening of citizen rights usually coincides with decreased protection and accountability of those whose negligence causes harm.

Understanding Class Actions

Most understand that class action lawsuits refer to special cases when a few plaintiffs are in court to represent themselves and many others (perhaps thousands) who were similarly harmed by some action. This is practicality tool, as it is often far more convenient (and less expensive) to adjudicate a matter once than thousands of times individually.

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Considering there is still so many unknowns when it comes to brain injuries, it is often difficult for doctors, patients, and their families to understand their recovery expectations. If you break your arm, doctors can say with reasonable certainty that if you properly cast it, then the bone will heal and give a rough time for everything to be fixed. The same does not often work with something like a traumatic brain injury. Doctors often do not know how much will heal or at what speed.

One way to help provide some clarity is by properly tracking the injury and progress of many different patients over a period of time. In that way data can be compiled to understand normal recovery times and extent of recovery. That is the idea behind the large and long-standing “Brain Injury Data Project” which has been run by the U.S. Government for the past quarter century.

Tracking Brain Injuries

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Automobile accidents are likely the single biggest cause of traumatic brain injury. Thousands of accidents strike across the country virtually every day–from fender benders to deadly multi-car collisions. Anytime you are involved in a car accident there is a chance that the force from the incident will cause head contact to a hard surface. These brain injuries can range from concussions to permanent, life-altering brain trauma. No matter what the severity, it is critical to take these head injuries seriously. Every day medical experts are learning more and more about the long-term harm that comes from even seemingly “minor” TBIs. There is no point risking anything, so be sure to visit medical professionals for guidance.

If you are involved in a car accident, chances are you will deal with an insurance company–either yours, that of other drivers, or both. It is absolutely essential not to deal with these businesses on your own. Never forget that following an accident it is in the insurance company’s best interest to pay out as little as possible on a claim. That means that there is a good chance they will offer you less than your full damages. The offer often come right away with the goal of having you accept it without fully thinking through the matter or consulting legal advice. You should fight the temptation every time.

Insurance Software Under Scrutiny

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Most headlines in recent weeks about traumatic brain injuries involve sports related head trauma and injuries suffered by our service members in Iraq and Afghanistan. Both of these issues are of particular importance, because awareness of the problem and the need to find better treatments has the potential to improve the life of millions of our community members. However, focused attention on these two causes of head injury sometimes obscures the fact that the majority of traumatic brain injury are still caused by automobile accidents. Improving traffic safety will go a long way to preventing head injuries.

Our Illinois brain injury attorneys know that the most vulnerable members of our society-young infants-often experience these head injuries in car accidents. The incidents can affect the youngster throughout the rest of their life. For example, the Canton-Sixes Patch discussed a car accident in the area that led to a baby suffering one of these injuries. According to reports the accident occurred last week involving two vehicles on a bridge. Apparently a Ford Focus and Dodge pick-up truck were traveling in different direction across the bridge when for some reason the two car collided head-on. Head-on collisions remain the most damaging of auto accidents because the forces on the car (and those inside) are at their highest.

The driver of the pick-up truck suffered possible broken bones in his lower extremities, and the pick-up passenger suffered a neck injury. Those in the smaller car suffered even more harm. Both the driver and passenger (the baby’s parents) were killed in the collision. The baby was in the back seat at the time of the accident. When emergency crews arrived they noted that the child had a broken leg and had suffered a traumatic brain injury.

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Car accident brain injuries are perhaps the most common way that community members suffer head trauma. Our Chicago injury attorneys know that auto accidents are the most frequent way that most demographic groups suffer preventable injury of all kinds. This is particularly true of younger residents, as children and teens are more likely to be killed in automobile accident than any other way. Considering the frequency with which these incidents strike, it is to be expected that many of those who are victimized in a car accident suffer head trauma and traumatic brain injuries.

The consequences of these injuries can affect child victims for a lifetime. Penn Live recently shared the story one teen whose life was turned upside down when he suffered a brain injury after a car accident. The victim was only seventeen years old when his car slid off the road and slammed into a telephone poll and nearby tree. A neighbor heard the crash and called emergency officials. When they arrived they immediately transported the teen to a nearby hospital, noting that he had suffered “Level 1 Trauma.” He was soon diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury.

The victim seemed to have few injuries, because his physical body suffered no major damage. However, the head trauma alone was life-threatening. He was in a coma for nearly two weeks. The process of waking from a coma after a brain injury is much different from the movies. Instead of a sudden rush, it is a slow process that involved period of consciousness and unconsciousness. However, for this teen, and many other like him, when full consciousness does return, many basic tasks must be relearned.

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The Hartford Courant reported a man was awarded $14 million dollars after the Town of Clinton was found liable for man’s injuries. The victim was a passenger in a car involved in a car chase with a volunteer firefighter. The volunteer firefighter called the Town of Clinton Police Department and was encouraged by a dispatcher to continue chasing the car.

After an eight minute chase, the victim’s car crashed into a tree. The victim suffered severe brain damage and is expected to be institutionalized for the rest of his life. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly 360 people are killed each year in police related pursuits.

As a result of this staggering statistic, many police forces have considered the possibility of more restrictive police chases. It is important for some police forces to recognize the risks of chasing a vehicle for minor offenses.
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Fox 41 reported that a family’s van was struck by an alleged drunk driver while traveling on Highway U.S. 31 in Alabama. An 8-year old child dies as a result of the accident involving an alleged drunk driver. The mother suffered several broken ribs and a head injury, while the father was hospitalized in a coma for several days.

After the occurrence, the negligent driver of the other vehicle was charged with DUI, manslaughter, vehicular homicide, and four counts of 1st degree assault. In addition, the family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the driver for their irreversible brain injuries and the death of their daughter.

Many drivers do not recognize the ramifications of drinking a few drinks socially and then getting into a motor vehicle. According to MADD, one person dies every 50 minutes as a result of a drunk driving accident. However, these actions have serious consequences including brain injury or death. This tragic incident will hopefully remind this community the dangers of driving while intoxicated.

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Postcrescent.com recently reported that a $20 million settlement was reached following a tragic car accident that left a young girl with a severe brain injury.

In October of 2008, a family from Appleton, WI was driving down an off-ramp in their van. A truck heading towards the ramp ran a red light and crashed into the family’s van. While the impact of the crash was not severe because the truck driver had applied his brakes, the truck was carrying a pipe rack that allowed multiple pipes to escape upon collision. One of the loose pipes shattered the left rear window of the van and hit a young girl that was a passenger in the backseat. The child suffered severe brain damage from the accident.

The child’s family filed a lawsuit following this incident alleging that the pipe rack was negligently constructed and installed as it was missing a front stop. The distributor of the pipe rack settled their case for $18.7 million. The rest of the settlement amount comes from the truck driver and his employer as well as the manufacturer of the pipe rack. The settlement amounts were assigned based on each defendant’s responsibility in the accident.

The large settlement will help the family of the young girl pay for her care and medical expenses. The girl’s medical expenses totaled $850,000 in the first two years of her life after the accident left her with severe and permanent injuries including traumatic epilepsy and blindness. Because of her traumatic brain injury, she will require around-the-clock care for the rest of her life.
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