Examples of Brain Injury Cases Handled by the Rodgers Law Firm That Have Resulted in Favorable Recoveries for Ben’s Clients

Construction Worker Hit by Falling Flashlight
Violation of OSHA Regulations Traumatic Brain Injury

Midlothian, Texas

Our client, a 32 year-old high-rise iron worker and a member of a steelworkers union, was employed by a subcontractor on a power plant construction site. He was injured while working inside a tall concrete and steel smokestack tower. His job as a steel worker required good balance, climbing, squatting, lifting, and carrying abilities and the ability to work at heights.

He was wearing a hard hat but his job required that he frequently bend over at the waist and look down, a position that exposed the back of his head and neck to unprotected blows from above.

Unknown to him, an engineer employed by the general contractor was working 30 feet above him inspecting some completed work. The engineer was carrying a large flashlight that was not properly secured to his belt. The flashlight suddenly fell without warning and struck our client at the base of the skull. He was knocked unconscious for 10 minutes and transported by ambulance to the hospital.

The brain injury caused the following mental and physical conditions:
1. He began having post-trauma epileptic seizures – the seizures came on unexpectedly, were highly embarrassing, and precluded him from driving a car.
2. He became dizzy when he moved – movement during walking affected his gait and he had to concentrate on each step, he had to move slowly when getting into and out of chairs, he could not use ladders for such tasks as changing light bulbs and hanging tree lights, and using elevators and climbing stairs made him lightheaded.
3. He became very forgetful – he could not remember simple things such as where the car was parked, driving routes to familiar places, the day of the week, and family birthdays.
4. Complex information had to be given to him a little bit at a time.
5. He had a hard time concentrating, and he was unable to do more than one thing at a time.
6. His head shook due to the medication he had to take.
7. He had difficulty expressing ideas because he could not find the right words to say.
8. He had to depend on his wife to make all decisions requiring careful thought and choosing between alternatives.
9. He suffered from ongoing depression, anger, frustration, anxiety and irritability.

Expert engineering testimony stated that the force of the flashlight blow to his head depended on the weight of the flashlight and the speed it was falling when it hit him.

The flashlight weighed 36 ounces – heavier than a typical major league baseball bat that weighs 34 ounces.

The flashlight’s falling speed would depend on the length of time it took for the flashlight to fall, and could be calculated as follows:

Fall time Flashlight Speed on Impact
1.0 second 22 mph
1.5 seconds 33 mph
2.0 seconds 44 mph
3.0 seconds 66 mph

By comparison, Barry Bond’s bat has been calculated as traveling at 70 mph when he hits a home run.

Five years before the accident OSHA published a study that said a significant portion of all worker injuries involved workers being struck on the head by foreign objects, and noted that in one of the years studied there were 70,000 head and face injuries.

Auto Mechanic Injured On-The-Job By Defective Car Lift
Subdural Hematoma & Traumatic Brain Injury & Hearing Loss

Fort Worth, Texas

Our client was working as a car mechanic in a garage that used hydraulic car lifts to raise the underside of a car being worked on by a mechanic above the mechanic’s head so that the mechanic could stand underneath the car when the lift was high enough. Because the garage owner did not properly inspect the lifts for safety, over time one of the lifts became unsafe.

One day while our client was standing underneath a car to inspect it for problems, the lift lost enough hydraulic pressure to allow the lift and car to drop several feet and strike our client on the head. He was taken by ambulance to the hospital and released after ER examination.

One weekend later while fishing off a bridge, he suddenly blacked out and fell off the bridge. He was hospitalized and testing revealed he had a subdural hematoma. A subdural hematoma is a form of traumatic brain injury in which blood collects in the brain. Subdural bleeding usually results from tears in veins that cross the subdural space. The subdural hemorrhage caused an increase in intracranial pressure (pressure within the skull), which can cause compression of and damage to delicate brain tissue. Acute subdural hematoma has a high mortality rate and is a severe medical emergency.

The client’s bleeding was so slow that it took a week for the intracranial pressure to build up in the brain to the point he lost consciousness. Emergency brain surgery was necessary to repair the subdural hematoma. His injuries also included traumatic brain injury and hearing loss.

MVA Causes Traumatic Brain Injury
and Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome

Our client, a physically active, tall, healthy owner of a construction company in business just a few months, was in a motor vehicle accident. Even though wearing a seat belt, his head hit the top of his pickup during the head-on collision because the collision buckled the floor of his pickup, pushing his head in an upward direction.

He directed traffic after the accident and declined medical care when offered it at the scene by emergency medical personnel. He assumed his injuries were minor “whiplash” injuries and would heal on their own.

Within a few days he began suffering short-term memory loss, anxiety attacks, severe depression, and recurring accident event flashbacks. He began to dread going to sleep and avoided it as long as possible each night.

His construction company failed financially because he could not remember job schedules and verbal commitments made to customers and suppliers, simple tasks that he had done successfully for years as the general manager of a large corporations’ remodeling division. This short-term memory loss caused job cost overruns, lost profits, and dissatisfied customers.

Expert neurological, psychiatric, and neuropsychological evaluations determined that he had sustained traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress syndrome requiring extensive psychiatric care and medication for more than two years. At one time he was reduced to painting houses by himself because his company no longer had any employees.

Defense lawyers were confident that a local jury would not award compensation in line with his losses because he was never admitted to a hospital and “there was never a band aid on him,” thus he could not have been seriously injured in the accident.

The trial judge refused to allow evidence of the financial losses he sustained while trying to keep his company going after the accident because, since the company was new and therefore without a history of profitability, it was “too speculative” to allow a jury to decide what his construction company would have earned had he not been in the accident. The Jury was only allowed to consider his medical bills and physical impairment.

After a seven day trial, the jury returned a verdict in our client’s favor in an amount that was more than eight times the best pre-trial settlement offer from the defendant.

The jury verdict was upheld by the appellate courts after the defendant appealed the results two times – once on the issue that the amount of the jury award for physical impairment was excessive and once on the issue that the prejudgment and postjudgment interest awarded by the trial judge was excessive. The two appeals were handled by an attorney with another law firm who was an appellate specialist. (JPR130)

Collision with Large Crane Truck on Icy Overpass
Traumatic Brain Injury & Herniated Discs in Neck

Bedford, Texas

Bedford was in the midst of a freezing rain early one winter morning. The rain was freezing as soon as it hit the roadway. Our client’s route to work included using a two-lane, one-way bridge overpass from Highway 183 to Highway 121 and then on to DFW Airport. The road traffic was sparse and she was driving carefully and very slowly. Anyone exiting 183 onto the overpass could see every vehicle on the overpass from beginning to end before changing lanes to go onto the overpass.

Halfway through the overpass it began to change from a straight path paralleling Highway 183 into a curved shape to cross over Highway 183. When our client’s car reached the curved portion, her tires lost traction and she began sliding toward the guardrail on the left side of the overpass.

During the slide her car did a 180 degree turn so that her headlights were facing toward oncoming traffic. Two other cars then stopped behind her on the right shoulder. All 3 cars had their lights on.

After a few minutes an 18-wheeler motorized crane truck then came onto the overpass, driving down the center line of the 2 lanes, apparently thinking he could drive around the stopped cars. He could not do so and despite the heavy weight of his truck his tires lost traction and he lost control of the crane.

The crane hit the 2 cars on right shoulder and then crushed our client’s car against the guardrail on the left shoulder. She was taken to a local hospital by ambulance. Her injuries included cervical disc herniations and traumatic brain injury.

Investigation revealed the truck driver’s license had been suspended in 2 other states prior to the accident for convictions for driving offenses.

At his deposition the driver testified that (1) he had driven at least 3 miles on the freeway in the icy conditions, (2) he knew the ice was on the roadway, (3) he knew that overpasses were subject to icing easier and faster than ground level roadway, and (4) he knew icy roads caused tired to loose traction.

He also reviewed the photos taken of the view any driver would have of the overpass and agreed he could have seen the 3 cars looking through his truck windshield before he got onto the overpass.

Our truck driving safety expert testified that the driver’s view of the overpass allowed him to see the red tail lights of the 2 other cars on the overpass and our client’s headlights pointing in his direction while he was still on Highway 183.

Because the lights were not moving he should have known the vehicles were stopped on the overpass. He clearly should have known there was trouble ahead and stopped his truck before entering the overpass.