$3,000,000 Kansas City Personal Injury Lawyers Recovers $3M for Brain Injury Victim
Head-on Motor Vehicle Collision By Drunk Driver Caused Traumatic Brain Injury
Our client, a woman who sustained severe injuries including a traumatic brain injury, resulting from a head-on collision with a drunk driver, has received a $3,000,000 settlement from two separate insurance carriers.
On a Friday evening, our client was on her way to a country and western dance club, where she planned to enjoy an evening of country line dancing with her co-workers. That same Friday night, the other driver involved in the collision spent the evening drinking such that his blood alcohol was more than twice the legal limit for driving in Missouri. Despite his severe intoxication, the drunk driver got into a Ford F150 pickup and entered the public roadways, crossed the painted median, went into the northbound lane with his pickup, and slammed head-on into our client who was driving a small passenger car, causing a violent high-speed collision.
The vehicle driven by the drunk driver was owned by an auto sales company and furnished for his use. The auto sales company’s vehicle had a $1,000,000 commercial insurance policy. Kansas City Accident Injury Attorneys were able to locate additional potential insurance coverage applicable to the drunk driver. He had a $250,000 insurance policy covering his personal vehicle, but his insurance company denied him that coverage in that the auto sales company vehicle he was driving did not come within the insuring language of the policy, either as an owned or non-owned vehicle, essentially because it was furnished for his regular use. However, he also had a $2,000,000 umbrella insurance policy that did provide additional coverage.
The head-on impact was severe. Our client’s vehicle was violently forced in a downward motion as a result of the impact, partially under the drunk driver’s vehicle, and her car continued approximately 44 feet south of the point of impact, the opposite direction of her travel. After striking our client’s car, the drunk driver struck the curb and rolled his vehicle. Jaws of life were used to extract the drunk driver from his vehicle. Both vehicles were completely destroyed.
Attorney James Roswold and Kansas City Accident Injury Attorneys demonstrated that given the typical alcohol dissipation rate of .015% per hour, the drunk driver’s blood alcohol content of .164% as of the blood draw at 2:18 AM translated to approximately .20%, which is 2 ½ times the legal limit in Missouri, at the time of the 11:57 pm collision. We also raised the issue of prior and subsequent DUI incidents, the drunk driver’s most recent arrest for drunk driving having occurred less than six months after his drunk driving collision with our client.
Because an accident reconstruction was not conducted at the time of the collision, Kansas City Accident Injury Attorneys retained Dr. Bruno F. Schmidt, Ph.D., a highly qualified accident reconstruction expert located in southern Missouri, who determined that the drunk driver was traveling at least twice the legal speed limit of 25 mph when he crossed over the centerline and struck our client head-on. Dr. Schmidt further concluded that our client would not have had sufficient time to react and avoid the collision.
Our client sustained multiple and catastrophic injuries and required extensive medical evaluation and treatment. At the hospital emergency room, it was noted that she had suffered a loss of consciousness at the scene and had no recollection of the collision. She was found to have sustained a traumatic intracranial hemorrhage, subarachnoid hemorrhage with an intraparenchymal component, a blown right pupil, ptosis (eyelid drooping) and diplopia (double vision). Consultation by neurosurgeon revealed that the intraparenchymal injury was close to the optic nerve and she was left with a third nerve palsy. Ultimately, fourth nerve palsy was diagnosed as well. She was also experiencing severe pain in the left foot and subsequent x-rays showed a Lisfranc’s fracture. She also suffered neck and back soft tissue injuries as a result of the wreck.
Initial imaging studies demonstrated several areas of hemorrhage over the surface of the brain and multiple small areas of hemorrhage throughout the brain, consistent with axonal injury. Kansas City Accident Injury Attorneys utilized several high-impact exhibits, shown here, to demonstrate the impact of our client’s injuries and surgical treatment.
Our client underwent neuropsychological testing with Neal B. Deutch, Ph.D., pursuant to referral by her treating physician, which revealed decreased functioning in nine cognitive areas, including moderate to severe decreased functioning in four areas consistent with her specific identified traumatic brain injuries. Dr. Deutch also identified multiple other neurological disturbances. The neuropsychology report further revealed that she was functioning in the upper average range prior to the collision.
Thereafter, our client underwent fusion surgery in connection with her left foot Lisfranc injury with subsequent midfoot arthritis. Kanas City Accident Injury Attorneys retained Dr. Brick Johnstone, Ph.D., a neuropsychologist with the University of Missouri, to render an expert opinion concerning the nature and extent of her traumatic brain injuries and render opinions regarding her permanent disability and the need for future medical evaluation and treatment of her traumatic brain injury.
Dr. Johnstone conducted comprehensive neuropsychological testing and determined that our client was permanently disabled as a result of her traumatic brain injury. He also recommended future medical care, including several different therapeutic treatments, which would improve her quality of life. The Social Security Administration also concluded that our client was permanently disabled as a result of her physical and mental injury residuals due to the collision.
Ultimately, Kansas City Accident Injury Attorneys were able to demonstrate that our client had incurred approximately $125,000 in present medical expenses and that she was expected to incur at least an additional $50,000 in connection with the additional future medical treatment recommended by our neuropsychological expert to provide further care for her traumatic brain injuries.
Our client, 54 years old and employed in a stable salaried position as an account representative for one of the major telephone service providers in Kansas City at the time of the collision, incurred a major wage loss now that she was permanently disabled and unable to work due to her injuries resulting from the collision. Kansas City Accident Injury Attorneys retained a well-known local economic expert, John O. Ward, who provided an economic loss analysis demonstrating that she had sustained a wage loss, past and future, of $1,086,635.00 due to her disability arising out of her multiple injuries.
Kansas City Accident Injury Attorneys made a demand that met the requirements of R.S.Mo. 408.040.2, Missouri’s prejudgment interest statute, such that prejudgment interest could be included in the event of a subsequent higher verdict at trial, applying additional pressure for a policy limits resolution.
Shortly thereafter, Kansas City Accident Injury Attorneys secured a policy limits offer from the commercial insurance carrier in the amount of $1,000,000 (less approximately $10,000 previously paid for property damages). In connection with this initial recovery, we negotiated an arrangement that released the auto sales company only, and not the drunk driver, so that we could secure this initial $1,000,000 recovery for our client and continue to pursue the drunk driver and his $2,000,000 umbrella insurance coverage.
Ultimately, Kansas City Accident Injury Attorneys were successfully able to secure $2,000,000 policy limits from the drunk driver’s umbrella insurance carrier in addition to the $1,000,000 commercial insurance policy limits previously recovered, for a total recovery of $3,000,000 on behalf of our client.
Kansas City Accident Injury Attorneys are proud to have held this drunk driver accountable and to have secured this substantial recovery that will help provide for our brain injured client’s future needs. With offices in Kansas City, Overland Park, Lee’s Summit, Parkville, St. Joseph, and Olathe, we’re able to serve clients throughout Kansas and Missouri. To assert your rights, please call or fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment.