A 68-year-old retired cook (client’s name withheld) was walking across Ellis Street in San Francisco in the crosswalk on a green light when a Luxor cab struck her as it turned into the intersection. The impact slammed her to the pavement, causing her head to strike the ground with great force.
She was taken to San Francisco General Hospital, eventually released to Laguna Honda, and then to her home. Before the accident, the client was living independently in her own apartment, cared for her grandchildren and was very energetic and engaged in her church and choir.
After the accident her behavior and mental state changed dramatically. Her children noticed difficulty with her motor coordination and a change in her emotional state, and took her to University of California San Francisco Medical Center, where doctors found fluid building up pressure in her brain, which accounted for her problems.
MT’s Personal Injury team, led by partner Dale Minami, filed a lawsuit and, after they produced evidence of the physical, mental and emotional changes caused by the accident, and the client’s lifetime care needs, defendants agreed to mediate.
After a lengthy mediation, defendants finally agreed to pay the policy limits of $1 million dollars which will be used to provide home care, future medical care and compensate the client for her pain and suffering.
Traumatic Brain Injury, such as that suffered by the client, often produces subtle changes in a person and may not appear until much later after a traumatic event. The recent highly publicized case of Natasha Richardson, the actress who hit her head skiing, is a dramatic example of the dangers of this disorder: she showed no symptoms at first, but later died suddenly of bleeding in her brain.
MT’s client was fortunate to have her children recognize her problems and obtain treatment for her. She has improved greatly and is trying to regain her independence with the compensation she received in her settlement.