Our client, a 58 year-old woman who suffered a disabling mild traumatic brain injury settled her underinsured motorist claim with her underinsured motorist carrier, Travelers for $565,000 of the $600,000 policy available. She had earlier settled with the person responsible for causing her injuries for the policy limits of $25,000.
A mild traumatic brain injury is an injury to the brain which cannot be seen in any diagnostic testing such as MRI’s or CT scans. Instead, the injury is diagnosed based upon symptoms following an acute injury in which the brain is shaken inside the skull.
Our client was injured in a motor vehicle accident. She did not remember losing consciousness but had a lapse in her memory regarding details of the collision. At the time of the accident, she had been employed as the office manager of an orthodontics practice where she had worked for 25 years. Due to the effects of the brain injury, which included dizziness, headaches, sensitivity to light and visual disturbances, she embarked on a lengthy journey of medical treatment with concussion specialists receiving physical, occupational and speech therapy, with an ophthalmologist who restricted her right to drive and prescribed yellow tinted glasses for glare symptoms and advised against using computer, cell phone and watching television. She also received treatment for high anxiety, flashbacks and dreams about the accident.
She began treatment with Moss Rehabilitation about 5 months after the accident as her symptoms of daily headaches, sensitivity to lights and noise, dizziness and loss of balance continued. She also suffered from difficulty performing tasks and completing her sentences.
Prior to the injury, our client had suffered 2 previous concussions. The first time she fell and lost consciousness followed by a constant headache that lasted for two months. The second time she was hit in the head with a camera during a whitewater rafting trip after which she suffered dizziness and fogginess for several months. She has had some psychological strain in her past including a divorce and the sudden death of her mother. Our expert was of the opinion that the pre-existing head injuries and psychosocial stressors played a cumulative effect in worsening her potential for cognitive recovery following her motor vehicle accident.
After more than 2 years of treatment, our client continued to have regular headaches, dizziness, cognitive dysfunction, visual disturbance, anxiety and depression, all of which were caused by the motor vehicle collision. Our expert had continued her driving restrictions, determined that she was incapable of returning to work, and that she was permanently disabled.
Result: The case settled for $565,000
Attorney: Anthony J. Baratta – Baratta, Russell & Baratta