A recent Connecticut Superior Court jury award of at least $8 million to a 14-year-old Easton youth offers a grim perspective not only of the devastating and lasting consequences of traumatic brain injuries, but also the tortuous path that plaintiffs must sometimes follow when seeking redress against a defendant's insurance company.
The injury itself took place in 2010 when a dump truck that was apparently traveling in the wrong lane collided with a vehicle that the then 9-year-old boy was a passenger in, critically injuring him. Police charged the truck driver with reckless driving; the boy's family sued the company that employed the driver of the truck, alleging negligence.
What then took place was a drawn-out legal battle between the plaintiffs and the insurer of the truck company. The company's insurance policy apparently only provided liability coverage for up to $2 million; but instead of settling the lawsuit before trial, the insurance company elected to defend in court, a decision that it and its client may now regret. The court awarded the plaintiffs $3 million for economic damages, another $5 million for non-economic damages, and when attorney fees and interest are included at a later date the total award could exceed $12 million.
This case provides a telling example of the difficulties that those suffering from serious brain injuries and their relatives may encounter if litigation becomes necessary:
- The injured youth will possibly suffer permanent disability as a result of his brain injury, and this may also impose significant lifestyle changes on him and his family with respect to long-term care.
- Although the trial lasted only three weeks, and it took the jury only two hours to reach a verdict, the legal contest and its attendant stress on the plaintiffs lasted for years.
Those who must seek a legal remedy for a brain injury are well-advised to speak with an attorney to understand the process and their rights.
Source: Connecticut Post, "Easton boy awarded $8M for crash injuries," Daniel Tepfer, April 24, 2014