Articles Posted in Catastrophic injuries

https://www.fortworthinjuryattorneyblog.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/233/2017/08/Screen-Shot-2017-08-14-at-12.23.04-PM-300x148.pngMayhem on Dallas Fort Worth highways continues

On Friday night a man was driving while intoxicated as he sped down Interstate 30 in Grand Prairie at speeds of over 100 MPH. The drunk driver lost control of his Honda Civic and crashed into a light pole. The impact killed his 29-year-old girlfriend and his two children, who were only four and three years old. Adding to the horror, the driver had recently been convicted of DWI and been arrested on other charges and his children were not restrained in their required child seats.

Then on Saturday night a driver lost control of the vehicle on the I-20 ramp to Loop 820 in Southeast Fort Worth. During the roll-over accident another 4 year-old girl died after being ejected. It is not clear how fast the driver was going or how the child was thrown out of the car. But you can guess that alcohol was probably involved here too.

My condolences go out to the families of these young victims.

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dreamstime_xs_20287446-300x189A local high school student sustained a serious head injury when he was hit by a jet ski during his family’s annual holiday to Lake Palestine on Sunday. 18 year-old Tyler Haessley was climbing into an inner tube tied to a boat when his older brother, 26, tried to splash him with a wave runner. But he misjudged his distance and speed and hit Tyler in the head, causing serious injuries.

Tyler has undergone several surgeries, can’t speak, and remains hospitalized in the intensive care unit of a Tyler hospital. He faces a long period of rehabilitation ahead of him. Please consider making a small contribution to his gofundme account.

Now that it’s summer and the busy Fourth of July weekend is in a few days, we’ve got to keep this from happening again.

A boat is not a toy

People have to stop horsing around on a boat or a jet ski. While they are fun and feel less dangerous than cars, it’s easy to forget that they can cause serious injuries.

Some wave runners can reach speeds of 70 mph and have a 250-horsepower, four-cylinder engine, similar to a motorcycle. However even a smaller one that hits a swimmer can do severe damage, especially with its hidden propeller blade.

And it’s shocking how young you can be and legally drive one. Continue reading

220killed20on20I-2020in20Arlington-300x169It was another deadly weekend on the roads of North Texas. Unfortunately driving on our highways is getting more dangerous every year.

Here are a few of the sometimes astonishing automobile, truck, and motorcycle collisions and illegal activities that were reported in the news:

  • A Garland father on his motorcycle tragically died Monday night in Forney when a presumably DWI driver of an SUV swerving and speeding the wrong way on Highway 80 crashed into his bike. Fortunately his son who was riding with him — not to mention other people — was not hurt seriously.
  • A man tragically died in north Fort Worth Monday in a multi-vehicle pileup on N.E. Loop 820 near Mark IV Parkway at noon.
  • Three people were tragically killed in a collision early Monday morning at 1:45 PM. An 18-year-old man lost control of his car when he hit the guardrail in Arlington near Kelly Elliott Road on Interstate 20. The vehicle rolled over and he was ejected, killing him and his passenger. A good Samaritan who stopped also died when she was struck by a hit-and-run driver. That driver has contacted Arlington Police and is cooperation with its investigation.
  • The new Dallas Cowboys cornerback, Nolan Carroll, was arrested Monday morning for DWI. He was pulled over after committing a traffic violation on McKinney Avenue in the bar-heavy Uptown area of Dallas around 2:15 AM after overindulging at a nightclub which had used him to promote a big party. Not that these guys can’t afford it (Carroll signed a $10 million contract) but the Cowboys offer a free Uber ride to their players who need assistance leaving bars, a good idea after this player’s death several years ago in a terrible tragedy.
  • A Dallas police officer’s car plunged 30 feet from an overpass Monday after a pickup truck ran a light and crashed into the officer’s car on South Westmoreland Road in west Dallas. Several people gallantly jumped into a creek to save the officer. He was in critical condition but fortunately is now reported as stable. Police are searching for the driver of the 2007 white Chevrolet Silverado pickup that hit him.

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dreamstime_xs_4902386“I didn’t realize I was injured until a few days later.” I often hear this explanation as to why my client did not seek medical treatment immediately after a car wreck. But insurance adjusters and attorneys have sometimes claimed the injured victim is exaggerating or his symptoms are not related to the car accident.

That’s unfair. An auto accident is a traumatic event. A person’s body is hit with tremendous force and thrown around in an unnatural way. You may have lost consciousness. You will be in shock and dazed. And your car is wrecked. It’s not surprising that you could have suffered severe injuries that are not obvious right away but you don’t know what to do next.

Even if you feel okay immediately after the crash, you should always seek a medical evaluation. You should also be aware of common delayed symptoms that might not manifest for hours or days later, especially the following ones.

1. Headaches

Early diagnosis of a brain injury, concussion or blood clot is particularly important. A blood clot puts you at risk of stroke as the oxygen supply is cut off from that segment of your brain. You must also take special precautions with a concussion to avoid a second concussion before the first one has healed. And yet these injuries are notoriously silent at the early stages.  Continue reading

https://www.fortworthinjuryattorneyblog.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/233/2017/04/Screen-Shot-2017-04-07-at-11.31.31-AM-300x201.pngA person who creates a problem should also be part of the solution. That’s why Texas has had the Driver Responsibility Surcharge Program (DRP) since 2003.

The program requires reckless drivers to pay fines that fund trauma centers where the victims of car accidents receive care. Under the program, drivers receive points for various traffic infractions. Drivers pay $100 for six points in three years and an additional $25 per point above six. A drunk driver wracks up even more fines — $1,000 for a first time DWI conviction and $2,000 if the drunk driver’s blood alcohol concentration was above .15. A driver who has an invalid license owes $250.

The money goes to Level I trauma centers such as John Peter Smith Hospital (pictured here) in Fort Worth that accept all patients regardless of ability to pay. Often these trauma centers are the only place critically injured patients can receive lifesaving urgent care.

Now some Texas lawmakers have deemed this program unfair to the bad drivers and have introduced a bill to repeal it. There’s no word on how the victims of these bad drivers will get the medical care they need without the funding.

Often they have no health insurance, and if they do their company denies or minimizes payment, the hospital is out-of-network, and/or deductibles and co-pays are prohibitive.  Continue reading

Yesterday a judge finalized a lawsuit when a 17-year-old high school student was critically injured. My client was a Ramirez-Scene-300x232passenger in a car that was being driven by another young man in south Fort Worth. My client’s driver sped through a red light and was t-boned by a dually pickup truck at the intersection shown here. My client tragically suffered a traumatic brain injury and is still in a vegetative state months later.

The young man’s injuries are catastrophic. But the driver’s substandard insurance company denied the claim, saying he was not a covered driver under his mother’s liability policy. And the truck driver’s liability carrier denied that he was at fault. There were no other insurance policies or assets to collect on. This left no money for the family’s huge medical bills and other damages.

We went to work. After a diligent investigation and negotiation, we convinced the two insurance companies to pay both insurance policies in full. The second policy for the truck driver was substantial. My staff and I fought to reduce the young man’s medical bills from $700,000 to only $7,500. I reduced my attorney’s fee by almost one-half and waived all expenses to give the young man more money for his future medical care. I quickly arranged for a special needs trust to be drafted to handle his future medical needs to preserve his Medicaid entitlement and hired an excellent but lower priced attorney to also act as the trustee. Other legal details were handled. Finally, I pushed to get the settlement approved by the court in less than four months from the day of the collision.

The young man is fortunately showing signs of improvement. That’s great news.

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imgres-1-300x168UPDATED 4/13/17:  Police found two entire marijuana cigarettes and five that had been partially smoked ones in the truck and an affidavit was filed stating that the truck driver admitted he took clonazepam and  Lexapro and Ambien (generic forms) earlier that day.

UPDATED 4/3/17: Truck driver admits to texting while driving at 65 MPH for over 20 minutes. The church bus was a retrofitted Ford 350 van.

3/31/17: A New Braunfels church is devastated over the loss of 13 of its members in a horrifying head-on collision Wednesday afternoon. The choir members were travelling home from a retreat west of San Antonio when a huge Duelly pickup truck collided head-on into their van.

The impact tragically killed all but one of the van passengers. The survivor remains hospitalized in critical condition. They were seniors ranging in age to 87 years old. The driver of the pickup, a 20-year-old man, is in stable condition.

Before the wreck, callers had alerted police that the truck was swerving all over the road and was about to crash into other vehicles. Deputies were on their way to try to stop the catastrophe.  Continue reading

March201920tbiandbrain_optimized-300x300Here are some frightening statistics: did you know that almost 500,000 children up to age 14 suffer a traumatic brain injury (TBI) every year in our country? That 435,000 are rushed to an emergency room and almost 2,700 of them pass? And that the number one cause of these injuries is (you guessed it) auto accidents, which cause nearly 40 percent of them?

These shocking numbers don’t do justice to the everyday reality of the parents of TBI patients. First come the gut-wrenching questions. Will my child be able to return to school? Will he or she have a normal childhood, be able to reach her full potential, or in the worst cases, ever wake up from a coma? The best doctors will not have immediate answers and the wait-and-see can be agonizing.

Next comes the practical aspects of TBI. Treatment costs a huge amount of money. Pediatric TBI costs more than $1.5 billion total every year in hospital charges alone, with more than half of that cost arising out of car wreck-caused brain injuries. TBI treatment and rehabilitation is incredibly expensive. And parents want, and should get, the best medical care possible for their child. Continue reading

use this 1Large medical bills are huge problem

Injured people are being “carjacked” by emergency rooms, according to this article published on Friday. Outrageous ER charges are piled on top of often ridiculously high hospital bills.

This price gouging happens way too often in Texas. Hospitals, doctors, X rays, MRIs and CT scans can easily cost $10,000, even $50,000. The at-fault driver may not have a huge insurance policy to pay for these bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. And his company may not want to pay the injured victim(s), even if he does.

460xEarly Sunday morning, the most recent mass casualty casino bus crash occurred in southern California. A shocking 13 people died and dozens more suffered catastrophic injuries in the horrific collision.

The bus driver who slammed into the back of the stopped 18 wheeler was going so fast that the bus ripped a gaping hole in the back of the semi and came to a stop 15 feet inside its trailer.

Investigators have already determined that the tread on multiple tires were worn down so low that they were far below federal safety standards.

“The vehicle was out of compliance with Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance inspection criteria, and it could have been placed out of service,” an NTSB board member reported yesterday.

In addition, since the driver never applied his brakes, driver fatigue was another cause of the deadly collision, all too common in these early morning bus and other commercial vehicle collisions.

This was an accident just waiting to happen. The bus was old. It was manufactured 50 years ago in 1966. The bus company driving it only operated this one bus. However it was not allowed to be on the road No one had apparently inspected the bus or its tires recently. Further, the driver was obviously unqualified.

As if that weren’t bad enough news, you can bet that the company has inadequate liability insurance. The minimum required by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is $5 million. This will not be enough to pay the damage claims of the families of the 12 passengers (not counting the driver) who died and the many others who were seriously injured.

Why do so many bus collisions like this happen? According to the FMCSA, an estimated 3,290 crash each year. That’s incredible.

Why are insurance limits so low?

And more importantly, how can we stop these crashes from happening over and over again?

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