A significant million-dollar recovery for a college student who suffered serious orthopedic injuries and head trauma in a serious truck accident that occurred on Route 22 near Indiana, PA. The young man was in a coma for several weeks but eventually became conscious. Unfortunately, his traumatic brain injury left him with many symptoms that impacted his day-to-day life.
Commercial Truck Collision
This young man was hit by a commercial truck. As in many cases, here the truck driver originally denied that he ran the red light and instead blamed our client. Fortunately, there was another witness to this daytime accident, and we were able to get an early witness statement from the person to verify that indeed our client had the green light. Also, we were able to use an accident reconstruction expert to show the speed of the truck driver and that he never applied his brakes before the violent impact.
Accident reconstruction is a very valuable tool in both auto accident and truck accidents. These experts can look at evidence at the accident scene and "reconstruct" what happened. Key evidence they look at is the location and severity of damage to the vehicle; tire marks on the road, and many other factors. Using mathematical and engineering calculations, they can reconstruct how fast someone was going at the time of an accident, whether they were driving straight or in the process of making a turn, and how much time the victim would have had to react to an out-of-control vehicle. If the car is equipped with a "black box," it makes the reconstruction much easier. A good accident reconstruction expert can often make or break a case.
On the damage end, the challenge in a case like this is to show the lingering effects of the traumatic brain injury. People with these sorts of injuries often have long-term complaints, such as headaches, difficulty concentrating, sensitivity to light, memory problems and difficulty in problem-solving. Many times, we rely on specialized testing by neuropsychologists who can confirm that the patient has ongoing problems. The challenge is that people with traumatic brain injury often look normal from the outside and even a CT scan or MRI of the brain can be normal, but the people just "do not feel right." The testing can be very important in establishing the patient is not just imagining problems.
In this case, our client was a college student, and we were able to show that he had a fair amount of difficulty in completing his degree. We were also able to project some of the difficulties he would have in working in his chosen field of computer sales.
Our goal in this case was not to exaggerate things by claiming that the young man would never be able to work, but rather to show that he could not work as well and as productively as he used to. Over time, this would translate into "diminished earning capacity," i.e., less wages over his lifetime. Many times in proving a diminished earning capacity claim we rely on vocational experts who will take the results of the neuropsychological tests and try to project how that will translate into less productivity on the job and, therefore, less earnings over the lifetime.