Effects of Mild Brain Injury From Car Accident
“Bait car activation – let’s go!” That was the start of a sequence of events that unfortunately led to Ms. Sommers (name changed) getting accidentally T-boned by a police car in pursuit of a bait car. Ms. Sommers was an innocent victim, driving to work, who was entitled to compensation for her injuries. The issue for the B.C. Supreme Court was how much she should get.
Ms. Sommers’ initial complaints were a sore neck, back, left arm and head, and she was admitted to the hospital emergency for a few hours. Her most significant problems, however, related to her head injury (diagnosed as a “mild traumatic brain injury”) and the continuing symptoms she had, which impacted everything she did in her daily life.
The case was brought to trial five years after the car crash. The court was therefore able to evaluate the longer-term consequences that can follow from such brain injuries.
Ms. Sommers, 27 at the time of the accident, worked full-time at a mill as an operator on newsprint machines. Her boss was also paying for her to study part-time for a Bachelor of Science degree, which would enable her to move up into a staff or management position. She was a “hard worker” who got along with everyone.
Before the mishap, Ms. Sommers was fit and healthy and looked after her own 3-bedroom duplex. She played hockey recreationally and competitive soccer. An avid skier, she went skiing at least 20 times each season and skied double black-diamond runs. She also played a lot of golf and would even travel to do so, and she loved fishing. Friends and others described her as a “wonderful young lady” and a “go-getter.”
After the accident, a different picture emerged.
She could only minimally help around the home she lived in with her husband (whom she married after the accident); she did little vacuuming, gardening or computer work. She was irritable, anxious and easily distracted. She got tired very easily and slept at least 10 hours a day. She also couldn’t handle noise and had trouble socializing in groups.
Sports-wise, she tried to return to soccer for a while but eventually gave up. She skiied a couple of times after the accident but much more slowly, and she struggled to play 9 holes of golf.
As for her future employment prospects, doctors testified that Ms. Sommers would likely continue to suffer a degree of permanent disability related to her brain function and would need a quiet and predictable work environment without distractions (e.g., working at home as a bookkeeper).
In short, said the court, Ms. Sommers’ life was “profoundly different than it was before the accident.” She was awarded over $960,000 in compensation.
It’s important to have a thoroughly prepared and well-presented legal case to bring out the sometimes subtle consequences of a brain injury – before-and-after differences in thinking abilities plus changes in social skills, behaviour, mood and personality. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you.