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Spinal Fracture and Subdural Brain Hematoma from Rear-End Motor Vehicle Collision

D.B. was a successful handy-man and real estate investor, who harbored natural creativity in project management and home repairs.

D.B. drove a 1999 Mercury Mountainer, which he had owned for a number of years. One day, unexpectedly, his vehicle started over-heating on the highway. D.B. pulled over into the gore on an exit ramp and waited for his vehicle to cool down. Another driver in a 2014 Hyundai Sonata traveled down the same exit ramp, failed to maintain his lane of travel, and strayed into the gore where D.B. was parked. The other driver rear-ended D.B. at a high rate of speed, jolting D.B. violently and taking him by surprise.

Local police responded to the collision and an ambulance came to the scene to evaluate D.B. The ambulance assessed that his injuries, coupled with D.B.’s voiced history of spontaneous brain bleeds, were potentially severe enough to require immediate emergency attention at the closest hospital trauma unit.

Along with multiple lacerations and bruising, D.B. was experiencing neck pain, memory loss, and back pain with an associated tingling sensation in his right foot. D.B. was given a complete evaluation by a neurosurgeon with the hospital after imaging revealed a vertebral fracture in his neck at C5-T1. D.B. was admitted into the hospital trauma unit for close monitoring and was discharged the following day after his pain had been managed. His final diagnoses from the hospital included a closed fracture of neck vertebra C5-T1, head abrasion, and right shoulder contusion.

Two weeks later, D.B. followed up with the treating physician from the hospital. The doctor referred D.B. to follow up with his primary doctor as well as with a pain specialist.

After three weeks had passed of worsening pain symptoms and headaches, D.B. returned to the same hospital. In addition to increasingly painful headaches, trouble forming words and using his phone, D.B. had begun experiencing balance issues when walking, as well as a dragging of his right foot that had started occurring within the last seventy-two hours. With concerns that D.B. had bleeding in his brain, the hospital staff performed a CT scan on D.B.’s brain, which confirmed that D.B. was in a state of medical emergency. D.B. was diagnosed with a subdural hematoma of the brain, and emergency neurosurgery was ordered to remove excess blood, relieve pressure, and prevent permanent brain damage.

At six weeks following the wreck, D.B. had a left side craniotomy performed to evacuate the subdural hematoma in his brain. Following the surgery, D.B.’s brain did not re-expand to fill the space the hematoma had caused inside his skull, and concerns for brain damage still persisted. D.B. was admitted to the ICU for monitoring.

After three days of stability, D.B. began in-patient physical therapy and was eventually cleared to return home after spending a total of eight days in the hospital, where his wife turned into his twenty-four-hour caregiver. D.B.’s wife noticed that he continued to struggle with speech formation, short-term memory loss, coordination, and balance. D.B. had been cleared from the hospital with a referral for outpatient physical therapy, as well as follow up repeat CT scans of his brain.

Over the next two months, D.B. continued to return to the hospital to perform outpatient physical therapy, as well as speech therapy and repeat CT scans. Since the brain hematoma had taken medical priority, D.B.’s neck and back complaints had not been addressed, and he began focusing more on these areas as he recovered from brain surgery. D.B. had a few scares during this time when he began to experience increased headaches and memory loss, and he returned to the emergency room for evaluations. After CT scans of his brain were performed, D.B. was diagnosed with new bleeding in his brain and admitted to the ICU for monitoring, after which he was discharged home with anti-seizure medication to resume physical and speech therapy.

After several months had passed, D.B. followed up with his hospital neurosurgeon, who deemed that D.B. had returned to his pre-collision state, and was steadily improving. Balance and memory loss were still a persistent issue for him, but D.B. expressed that his headaches had resolved, and he felt as if he had made significant strides in his medical treatment.

During the course of his medical treatment, D.B. hired a law firm that he quickly became dissatisfied with due to a severe lack of communication on their part. After deciding that there had to be a solution for him out there, D.B. terminated his attorney and hired Kaufman Law.

After negotiations with the at-fault driver’s auto insurance company, we were able to settle D.B.’s case, without having to file a lawsuit, for $700,533.00.

To this day, D.B. still struggles with slight memory loss and occasional balance issues. Additionally, one type of medication he was prescribed during his recovery caused his teeth to deteriorate, something that D.B. had been self-conscious about and could not afford to have looked into. After we settled D.B.’s case, he was able to consult with a dentist and has plans to repair the damage done to his teeth, something he never imagined he could afford.