Ray sustained a traumatic brain injury on June 6, 2014 when he got sideswiped on his 3-wheel motorcycle, called a trike, as he drove home from work. Witnesses described the at- fault driver as flying off a nearby interstate exit, trying to beat traffic ahead to cross all four lanes of Reidville Road in Spartanburg so he could reach a left turn signal.
The impact slammed Ray into the pavement head first. He wasn't wearing a helmet, but that was no concern to us- he had the legal right to do that in South Carolina. And it wouldn't have mattered if the at-fault driver had driven safely.
In addition to the brain injury, he had skull fractures. Ray spent almost a month in the hospital, including the intensive care unit.
This case teaches three very important lessons about severe accident injury claims.
- The wisdom of underinsurance (UIM). We’ve preached the virtue of this insurance repeatedly on this website, including its hidden benefit severe injury victims really need. It’s coverage on your policy that pays when an at fault driver doesn’t have enough. Here, the at-fault driver had only $50,000 in liability coverage – less than Ray’s medical bills. But long before this crash ever happened, Ray had the wisdom to choose UIM for all 6 of his vehicles – $100,000 on each, giving him $600,000 extra coverage. Without it, he and his wife faced financial ruin.
- The challenge of traumatic brain injuries. Ray’s brain injury did not make him a vegetable or require him to live in a home. If you never knew him before the crash, you might not notice his impairment from everyday interaction.
We built his case around the effect of brain damage on the biggest parts of his life – the one he loves and the work he did. We reported the changes in him observed by his devoted wife Jerrie, who never left his side in the hospital. Part of the settlement was hers for her loss of consortium, meaning the harm caused by the crash to her relationship with Ray. We spent a lot of time carefully reviewing medical records and meeting with the doctor to develop a brief but powerful questionnaire showing the impact of the brain damage on Ray. Notably, the doctor deemed him unable to work again. Ray worked as a welder at BMW, which provides excellent benefits. This made his lost wages claim enormous.
- Dealing with other claims to Ray’s money. Fortunately, Ray had health insurance that paid his medical bills. Health insurance needed to be paid back through subrogation. We negotiated a reduced amount for Ray to pay back, giving him more money in the end.
Because Ray is now on social security disability, he is eligible for Medicare. Sometimes this federal government program demands part of a settlement for future medical bills it pays related to that injury. To protect Ray, we got proof Medicare would assert no such claim against him.
Ray’s employer paid him disability benefits. Often, the disability insurance company demands repayment. We convinced them not to.We’re proud and thankful for the result we achieved for Ray. This crash could have been financially ruinous for Ray and Jerrie. But due to their wisdom before the crash to get UIM coverage, and our hard work after it to develop their case, this settlement enabled them to pay off debt to live comfortably in a cozy home in the South Carolina foothills.