Q: Two and a half years ago my husband suffered a head injury when his car was rear-ended by a large commercial truck. He was in a coma for five days. He now experiences frequent, severe headaches. His short-term memory does not seem to be as good as it used to be and he just seems different in many ways. Are we entitled to be compensated for the way that this has changed our lives?
A: Yes. Your husband’s physicians and other medical providers would be called to testify about the nature of his brain injury, and how his type of brain injury can affect different mental functions such as short-term memory. It is not uncommon for people with “mild” brain trauma to appear to be perfectly normal to the outside world, while family and close friends understand the fundamental changes that the person has experienced.
In these cases, it is the lawyer’s job to make sure that the jury understands the extent to which a brain injured person and his family have been affected by the brain trauma. If your husband has not received thorough neurological and neuropsychological evaluations during the regular course of his medical care, it is imperative that your attorney make appropriate arrangements for these evaluations.
A brain injury of the type that you describe can also affect a person’s ability to earn a living, and may cause a diminution in the person’s earning capacity. These losses are also compensable under New York law.
If you or a loved one has suffered a traumatic brain injury or if you have a question, please call a Cellino & Barnes Brain Injury Attorney now at 1-800-888-8888 or contact us.
Q: I was driving my SUV during a routine snowfall and was struck in the rear by a tractor-trailer truck driver. The truck driver claimed that the roads were slippery and that he could not stop at the stoplight. I was the second vehicle in line and the impact pushed me into the first vehicle. Both my vehicle and the vehicle in front of me were stopped at the time of the impact. My vehicle was totaled and the vehicle in front of me also suffered significant damage.
The driver in front of me hit her head on the steering wheel and suffered a significant gash across her forehead. I suspect she will be left with a nasty scar. I suffered whiplash. I know whiplash sounds suspicious but I can tell you that I can hardly move my neck and the pain radiates down my arms. My hands tingle and feel like they are asleep. I have an appointment to see my doctor. Why would I need a lawyer?
A: In a perfect world you would not need a lawyer, but unfortunately, the insurance company for the defendant knows how to handle matters like this and will likely have a great advantage over you. For instance, you probably have no idea whether you should accept an immediate settlement offer if presented to you by the insurance company.
You also probably have no idea what the case could be worth. You also probably don’t realize that the insurance company will have you examined by one of their “independent doctors” that will likely find that your injury is not serious or is pre-existing. Attorneys often handle these cases on a contingency fee where they do not get paid unless they win a settlement. If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident and need legal advice, let the truck accident attorneys at Cellino & Barnes help you.
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: 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.