Q: Last summer I was driving on Niagara Falls Boulevard. My 16 year old son was sitting in the front passenger seat with his seat belt on. While we were passing through an intersection on a green light a car ran the light and struck my car on the passenger side. My son’s head hit the side window hard enough to break the glass. We were both checked out at the hospital, and they kept my son over night for observation.
He did have a concussion, but the CAT scan of his brain was negative. Since the accident my husband and I have noticed that our son has just not been the same. He was always an honor student, and now his grades have dropped off. It also seems as though he is much more irritable than ever before. At first, we thought that these changes were perhaps just due to adolescence, but now we’re not so sure. Is it possible that he suffered a brain injury in the accident, and if so do you think that he has a case?
A: We would strongly encourage you to have your son evaluated by a neurologist and a neuropsychologist. Even though the CT scan that was done at the hospital was negative, a neurologist may want to order an MRI. This is a different diagnostic test, which may provide different information about whether your son suffered an organic brain injury from the blow to his head. A neuropsychologist will be interested in the results of the diagnostic studies, but he or she will address your son’s issues from a different perspective.
Typically, a neuropsychologist will put the patient through a battery of tests for the purpose of determining whether a brain injury is causing the changes which you have observed. We have a number of clients who have suffered head trauma where there has been no clear evidence of brain injury on CT scan or MRI. In these cases we have found neuropsychological testing to be very valuable. The personal injury attorneys at Cellino & Barnes help car accident victims get the justice they deserve.
Q: Last year I was driving on the expressway and I was cut off by a tractor-trailer. He sideswiped the passenger side of my car forcing me into the wall. At first, I didn’t think that I was hurt too badly, but my back was killing for weeks and I finally decided to see a doctor. The doctor ran some tests, and it turned out that I had two blown discs in my back. I had fusion surgery, but now my doctor says that the fusion doesn’t look too good and he might have to go in again.
All I know is that my back is still killing me, and I’m broke because I haven’t been able to work. My no-fault insurance has run out, and I can’t even afford to pay for my pain pills. Where do I go from here?
A: You have the right to be compensated for the way that this accident has damaged your life. If there is any silver lining in your situation, it is the fact that the tractor-trailer that caused your accident probably had a large amount of liability insurance coverage. Typically, trucking companies will carry policies with high liability limits because when big trucks are involved in accidents, people tend to suffer serious injuries.
Whatever the reason might be that the spinal fusion did not take, the insurance carrier for the trucking company will be responsible because the damages flow back to the party who caused the injury. If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident and need truck accident legal advice, let a truck accident lawyer at Cellino and Barnes help you.
Q: A few months ago my 18 year old son was at a friend’s house and he and his friend were shooting a BB gun in their backyard. While my son was changing a target, his friend accidentally discharged the gun and my son was struck in the eye with a BB. He has had two surgeries, but now looks like he is going to be blind in one eye. Does he have the right to be compensated for this?
A: He probably does. However, a critical issue will be whether the friend’s parents have a homeowner’s insurance policy for the home where the accident happened. In addition to providing coverage for fire losses, a person is entitled to look to their homeowner’s policy if their negligence or the negligence of a family member causes an injury.
Although motor vehicle negligence is typically excluded from coverage in homeowner’s policies, the accidental discharge of a firearm will usually be considered a “covered event” and could be considered a catastrophic injury. A renter’s policy would provide coverage similar to a homeowner’s policy. If your son has been blinded in one eye, he is entitled to be compensated for how that disability will affect him over the course of his entire life.
Q: Late last year my niece was rear-ended by a Mack truck. The truck driver claimed that his brakes failed and he couldn’t stop. At first, we didn’t think that my niece was hurt too badly. However, they later discovered that she had bleeding into her brain, and she has been left with a partial paralysis on her left side. What do you recommend?
A: The insurance company for the truck will undoubtedly attempt to avoid responsibility for what happened to your niece by claiming that the accident was “unavoidable.” The “brake failure” claim is suspicious, and for this reason it is critical that your niece’s attorney make immediate arrangements to have an expert inspect and evaluate the trucks brakes.
She should not rely on the police investigation, and certainly not on the insurance company’s or the trucking company’s conclusions. The police investigation may not be as thorough as is necessary, and the insurance company’s conclusions will likely be biased and self-serving. Even if the truck’s brakes did fail, there is a significant issue as to the sufficiency of the trucking company’s maintenance program.
Your niece’s attorney will need to obtain all records related to this. If the company had a slipshod brake maintenance program, they should not be permitted to escape responsibility by attempting to claim that the accident could not have been avoided. Your niece obviously suffered life-altering injuries as a result of this accident, and no stone should be left unturned to make sure that she receives the compensation she is due. The truck accident attorneys at Cellino & Barnes are available 24/7 to answer your questions.
I would like to thank your firm for representing our family on behalf of my late husband. This whole process was, at times, difficult for us and sometimes painful. But, we were always in good hands as Brian and Maria are two of the hardest working and sincerest people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. They did a tremendous job.