Car accidents can uproot entire lives. Sometimes accident victims must fight to recover from one terrible injury. In other cases, multiple non-life-threatening injuries can present victims with what seems like an all-encompassing catastrophe. In cases like these, it can be difficult to communicate the significance of the accident as a whole to a judge and jury.
A single broken leg or even a shattered wrist may not seem like a terrible, insurmountable injury. But when multiple bones in several areas of the body are broken as the result of a single accident, it can render the victim totally helpless. These are the kinds of accident where an experienced lawyer can often save the day for the victim.
In this article we will give you an example of an accident that caused multiple fractures and full-body trauma to a trucker who stopped to help a disabled motorist. We will show you what your lawyer will need to prove the damages in court and we’ll discuss how settlements for such an accident are reached. Finally, we’ll tell you what to look for in the attorney who will represent you well in such a lawsuit.
- Jake’s Story
- How to prove damages in a Multiple Fracture Accident Case?
- How is the settlement in a Multiple Fracture accident determined?
- How to find a Personal Injury Lawyer to handle a Multiple Fracture case.
Jake is from the old-fashioned fraternity of truck drivers who like to call themselves “Knights of the Road.” Jake stops when he sees fellow travelers in trouble, offers opinions on the best burgers along the Highway when asked, and he has changed more tires for elderly women than he cares to remember. He’s in his late 50’s, is single, and as an owner-operator, his truck is leased to a freighting fleet. Jake loves his work and he still loves the adventure of the open road – or at least he used to.
One early spring morning, as he was making his way to deliver a truckload of canned tomatoes to a warehouse close to Atlanta, Georgia. Jake saw a passenger vehicle careen out of control and come to rest against the Jersey barrier on the left hand side of Interstate 20. He could see that the passengers were still buckled into their seats and presumably uninjured. He could also see the blown out right front tire that had caused the accident. He quickly applied his brakes and brought his 18-wheeler to a stop in front of the car. He called 911 on his cell and immediately began to set caution flares around the scene. The best thing that happened to Jake that day was that he was still talking to 911 when he heard that horn blaring behind him.
That was the last thing Jake remembered until he woke up 72-hours later in an Atlanta hospital. He was in a full body cast from head to toe. Jake suffered so many bone fractures when the plumbing service van struck him that nurses told him he was a living, breathing miracle. In addition to a break in his neck at C4, a severe concussion and likely traumatic brain injury, Jake had a broken jaw, a collar bone that was splintered in three separate places, and he has several broken ribs. Jake’s pelvis is now held together by sundry pins and screws, and he had a brand new hip.
His prognosis is guarded. He will wear the cast(s) for 3 to 4 months. He will probably walk again after extensive rehab and therapy. He won’t be climbing in and out of his big rig again anytime soon, if ever – much will depend upon the success of the surgical team who pieced him back together. For now, Jake is looking forward to months in a hospital far, far from home, family and friends. His truck is sitting idle and he has no idea how the rest of his life will play out.
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How to prove damages in a Multiple Fracture Accident Case
It may be difficult to imagine that anything regarding Jake’s injuries could be called fortunate, but he is a very lucky man. Not only did Jake survive being struck by a car at a high rate of speed, he sustained no serious internal injuries. Yes, he is what he calls “busted up,” but he will heal in time.
Fortunately, the people in the car Jake stopped to help were witnesses to the plumber’s van and its distracted driver as it sped through the warning flares and clipped our truck driver on his right-hand side, threw him into the air and sent him crashing to the pavement. They were also able to call 911 quickly and get help in a hurry.
The medical first responders and the hospital emergency room records will be very valuable to helping Jake recover some of what he lost. All the records that have to do with the accident will be produces in addition to Jake’s prior medical records. The lawyers for the defense will want to know every last thing about Jake’s health and his condition at the time of the accident so they can do their best to diminish the accident related injuries by looking for pre-existing conditions.
After it is understood that Jake’s TBI is mild to moderate, his legal team will bring in experts to provide testimony to describe how Jake’s life will be altered by his new cognitive challenges and what they will mean to his ability to earn a living and interact with other people in the real world.
Beyond spending months totally immobilized, Jake will require much physical therapy when the body cast is removed. Because of the length of time he will spend in the cast, Jake will need time to re-build his muscles to gain his strength.
When it is possible, Jake’s attorney arranges for him to be moved to a rehabilitation hospital, where he will be admitted for therapy for the first part of his recovery. The costs of moving Jake back home by ground or air ambulance will be substantial and the bills will be part of the ultimate settlement negotiations.
Because he is single, Jake will need help at home when he is allowed to leave the hospital. There will be continuing physical therapy by home health care professionals. Additionally, he will need 24-hour care until he can function on his own. These expenses must also be documented in hopes of eventually recovering all or part of the expenses.
Because he owns and operates his own truck, Jake may not be covered by worker’s compensation insurance. He will have a claim against the plumbing company whose van struck him and possibly against the driver of that van for damages including his medical costs, loss of wages for him and for his truck which now sits idle until Jake can hire another driver to put his business back on a paying basis. He may have other claims that are determined when his case is investigated in greater depth by his injury law firm.
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How is the settlement in a Multiple Fracture accident determined?
When the full extent of Jake’s injuries and disability is fully understood and documented, the lawyers will begin the process of finding a settlement amount. No doubt because Jake’s claim may well be a large one, in the hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars, the defense team will do everything within their power to try to reduce the amount of the claim, by arguing any pre-existing conditions, un-healthy lifestyle choices, or even attempting to blame Jake for causing his own injuries.
During settlement negotiations, the lawyers will debate and discuss the many injuries and the untold suffering Jake endured and the ways in which Jake’s ability to earn a living in the future will be impacted. Each of factors will be weighed and compared with other, similar cases so that a settlement amount can be agreed upon. If an agreement isn’t reached, it will be up to a jury to set the compensation.
How to find a Personal Injury Lawyer to handle a Multiple Fracture case.
Searching online for a lawyer will demonstrate just how many legal experts there are in the city. The number is staggering. Because Jake is not someone who often seeks out lawyers and makes claims, he may have had no idea which lawyer to choose.