It was just another day for John’s client, an environmental geologist, who was driving home after collecting soil samples in the field. The geologist stopped for a school bus that was dropping off children on the last day of school. While he was stopped, he looked up into the rearview mirror only to see a another car driving toward him at a high speed. The other driver neglected to realize that traffic had stopped, and she drove into the back of the geologist’s stopped car.
Our client, the geologist, suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) due to the crash. His head moved rapidly forward on impact, and he struck his head on something in the car. He felt “dazed” at first, but he did not lose consciousness. He went home to rest after declining an ambulance. He took only a few days off from work before returning for a brief period. Unfortunately, he developed headaches and ringing in both ears. He therefore decided to seek medical attention through his primary care physician, who recommended that he take time off from work.
“It is not uncommon with TBI’s to see the injury worsen over time,” said handling attorney John A. DeGasperis. According to John, “the signs and symptoms of a brain injury vary wildly, which is why doctors and lawyers alike need to be on the lookout to ensure that proper treatment is rendered.”
Over the course of years, the geologist saw numerous doctors to get help with his brain injury symptoms. He consulted with a neurologist, neuropsychologist, and Ear Nose and Throat doctor—the holy trinity for any good brain injury case. Collectively, these physicians concluded that the geologist had suffered a permanent injury that rendered him permanently disabled.
John A. DeGasperis first filed a lawsuit against the woman who crashed into the geologist. Her insurance company extended the full policy amount of $50,000 to our client. However, the geologist’s injuries warranted a larger recovery, so John found supplemental coverage. Here’s how it worked. The geologist was driving a car that was owned by his employer, a large company involved in environmental cleanup. “I knew that companies involved in environmental cleanup are heavily insured,” said John. He discovered that the car was heavily insured with $1 million in coverage for Supplemental Underinsured Motorist (SUM) claims.
SUM coverage is a type of insurance coverage that protects the insured if they are hurt by a driver who is underinsured or uninsured. SUM coverage provides additional protection once the tortfeasor’s policy is exhausted.
John filed for arbitration under the employer’s car insurance policy. A lengthy arbitration hearing ensued. John presented witnesses including the geologist’s family members and his treating neurologist. The arbitrator was compelled and awarded the geologist $800,000 in damages, which represented a loss of wage claim and pain and suffering.
Traumatic brain injury cases are difficult. They are harder to settle or bring to trial because the tests do not reveal the harmful affects of microscope trauma. “I see TBI cases differently,” explains John. “They are hard cases. Every personal injury lawyer wants the case with a broken bone over a TBI because broken bones show up on medical imaging. Closed head injuries rarely show up on tests so they are hard to prove, but I have developed an effective formula and rely on world-class experts to prove our cases.”
John understands this struggle more than the average personal injury attorney. John’s late father suffered from a brain injury after multiple strokes. He witnessed firsthand the struggle of a brain injury. He knows how family will often be the victim’s advocate and be the ones who articulate the injury.
Our client recovered $800,000 and justice was served.