Attorneys Stephen M. Smith and David B. Holt of The Brain Injury Law Center partnered with The Mottley Law Firm to settle a case for a woman who suffered a traumatic brain injury in a head-on collision. The case was especially challenging due to the woman’s complicated psychiatric medical history.
Smith’s client, a 54-year-old woman (who will be referred to as “Becky” to protect her identity), suffered traumatic injuries after colliding head-on with another driver. She was driving the speed limit when the on-coming driver careened into her path, hitting Becky straight on. The airbags hit the right side of her face, causing a cerebral contusion.
Becky struggled afterward to remember any details about the crash.
Client Symptoms Point to Medical Disorders
For years before the collision, Becky dealt with anxiety, depression and Asperger’s Syndrome. She had also suffered a Transient Ischemic Attack (or mini-stroke), sustained a head injury after falling from a horse and endured a concussion when her head was accidentally slammed by a car door. Becky had been living on disability due to her psychiatric problems and was unemployed.
Following the accident, Becky experienced lingering headaches, difficulty concentrating and trouble seeing properly. She was diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury (TBI), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), post-traumatic vision disorder (PTVS), convergence insufficiency, cognitive communication disorder, dysexecutive disorder, orbitofrontal deficits, post-traumatic headache syndrome, a balance disorder and insomnia from the car accident.
These facts added to the challenges of the case presented in court.
Preexisting Conditions Complicate Client’s Case
Although Becky sustained serious injuries from the crash, she was also already living with significant difficulties beforehand. This was the central topic of debate during her trial. Her attorneys and doctors insisted the crash exacerbated her pre-existing conditions, and that the resulting TBI she suffered was the main source of her problems. In addition to this, her psychiatrist believed her Asperger’s Syndrome made it more difficult for her to cope and heal.
However, medical experts hired by the defendant contended that her health problems all stemmed from her pre-existing conditions. The fact that she was already on disability was an added a challenge in court.
The debate concluded when a month before the trial, the other driver admitted to causing the crash. The case settled in mediation for $630,000.
“This case was very complex, and I truly sympathize with what my client went through. We are pleased to have given her the best possible outcome, giving her hope for the future,” said Smith.
Experienced Brain Injury Attorney Stephen M. Smith
Stephen Smith is the founder and director of the Brain Injury Law Center. He has more than four decades of experience with brain injury cases and is internationally recognized for his work in traumatic brain injury litigation. More than just an attorney to his clients, Smith is an advocate who fights on behalf of those living with this life-changing illness.