Auger Hollingsworth Successfully Represents Clients with Serious Trauma
Many people ask about the type of personal injury cases we handle and how we can help accident victims with catastrophic injuries and serious trauma.
We wanted to share a few real-life examples of cases we have handled. We have changed the names and a few identifying details, but this story is otherwise a real case handled by the lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth.
Pedestrian – Truck Collision Results in Life-Altering Injuries
On a warm June afternoon our client, twenty-four-year-old Sarah, was walking while pulling her son in a wagon. She came to a crosswalk with a traffic light. She waited for the light to turn green and then began to cross, pulling her son’s wagon behind her. As she began to cross, the driver of a heavy truck began a left-hand-turn into the crosswalk. The defendant driver later explained that he was behind a truck that caused a bright reflection in his mirror. That reflection caused him to look to the left instead of forward. He struck Sarah and her son as they were almost at the median.
Sarah‘s injuries were serious. There was a large dent in the truck from where her head had struck. An off-duty medic arrived at the scene and stabilized her. Sarah was not conscious. Fortunately, a bystander helped look after Sarah‘s son who was knocked over ejected from the wagon but not seriously injured. The two were rushed to the local hospital.
Sarah was unresponsive when paramedics arrived at the scene. When she opened her eyes, she was making sounds they could not understand. She had blood pouring from her ear, a scrape on her cheek, pain in her pelvic area, right shoulder, and throughout her back. She already had bruising showing on the right side of her back and flank area. Her Glasgow Coma Scale was assessed by a paramedic at 9/15.
When she arrived at the local hospital, Sarah had two seizures. Cerebral spinal fluid leaked from her right ear. Her Glasgow Coma Scale dipped to 6 /15. She was intubated and flown to the trauma center in the city by helicopter.
The Pedestrian’s Traumatic Injuries
Sarah‘s injuries were significant. She underwent x-rays and CT scans which revealed that she had the following injuries:
- A closed head injury with a hemorrhagic contusion to the left temporal lobe;
- A fractured right mastoid process with transient dysfunction of the facial nerve;
- A comminuted fracture of the right clavicle
- A pelvic fracture consisting of undisplaced fracture of the right ischemia, left inferior pubic ramus, and left acetabular region
- Seroma in the left hip.
Sarah was given powerful pain medication. She had surgery to repair her clavicle.
While she was at the trauma centre, Sarah and her family noticed that she was having difficulty remembering information and that she kept repeating herself. She underwent a neuropsychological assessment which recommended a referral to the acquired brain injury clinic.
After more than a month in the trauma centre, Sarah was discharged back to her local hospital. This was at her own request because she wished to be closer to her son.
While at the local hospital, Sarah developed a pulmonary embolism. She required medication for this condition.
Injured Pedestrian Hires Auger Hollingsworth to Represent Her
While she was at the local hospital, Sarah’s family contacted Auger Hollingsworth. Owner and co-founder Brenda Hollingsworth met with Sarah and her family twice while she was still in the hospital.
After Sarah hired Auger Hollingsworth to look after her case, our firm went to work organizing a team to help with her hospital discharge planning and rehabilitation.
Auger Hollingsworth introduced Sarah to a rehabilitation company that worked to prepare her home to receive her. Sarah lived in a two-story home but could not yet walk. The rehab team set up a room for Sarah on the main floor with funding our firm secured through the Statutory Accident Benefit insurance.
Sarah began to work with occupational therapy, physiotherapy, orthopedic surgery, and the acquired brain injury clinic. She also had a case manager who was a nurse. The case manager helped organize all of Sarah’s appointments and co-ordinated her care.
She required the use of a walker but even then, had a very difficult time moving around. Sarah had physiotherapy at treatment at home several times per week. She was assessed as requiring 24-hour attendant care. She was assessed as needing significant housekeeping assistance.
Sarah was a single mother and required 24-hours of caregiving services as she was unable to provide care to her son.
With Auger Hollingsworth’s help, all these services were funded through the Statutory Accident Benefits.
Over the next two years, Sarah underwent a hearing test. She participated in speech-language pathology to work on cognitive-communication. She was referred to a psychologist. She continued occupational therapy.
As time passed, the specialists at the acquired brain injury clinic determined that Sarah’s brain injury was in the moderate to severe range.
Sarah became reliant on electronic devices to stay organized and remember details. She required a companion to attend medical appointments and school appointments for her son to ensure that she understood what happened at the appointments and to ensure that recommendations were implemented.
Sarah’s Loss of Income
Sarah was finishing a few last high school credits at the time of the accident. Before the accident, it was her hope to attend community college to learn a profession. Auger Hollingsworth was able to collect evidence from her high school program that Sarah had mapped out a plan for her future, so we had a way to project her future loss of income.
After the collision, Sarah’s rehab team helped her with her high school credits. She was able to get her high school diploma. However, after the accident, her team did not feel that a college program would be a success. The team also felt that Sarah’s ability to earn was significantly compromised. While she may have been able to do some part-time work with a benevolent employer in a very structured environment, she was not going to be competitively employable.
The Personal Injury Lawsuit
The personal injury lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth began a lawsuit against the driver of the truck who struck Sarah and the wagon by filing a Statement of Claim. The insurance company for the driver appointed a lawyer who defended the case on the driver’s behalf by filing a Statement of Defence.
The case proceeded to examination for discovery where the lawyers from Auger Hollingsworth were able to question the defendant driver under oath about the accident. He admitted that he had made the left-hand turn when Sarah had the right of way as a pedestrian.
The lawyer for the defendant also asked Sarah questions about the effect of her injuries on her life. Sarah was well-prepared for the questions but did find the process exhausting. We broke her examination into several short days because she suffered from cognitive fatigue after a few hours.
After the examination for discovery, we sent Sarah to our medical experts to get an opinion about her long-term recovery. We gave that information to the defence.
Auger Hollingsworth hired experts to calculate Sarah’s economic losses such as her loss of income and her future care costs.
The defence lawyer also sent Sarah to their paid defence experts who gave an opinion about Sarah’s likely recovery.
The big difference in opinion among the experts was about whether Sarah could ever work. There was also a disagreement about whether Sarah would have earned a college diploma if it were not for the accident. This difference was significant because the loss of income component in a personal injury case is often one of the biggest losses.
After the examination for discovery, the next step was mediation. We engaged a mediator who joined us, together with the defence lawyer, a representative of the defendant’s insurance company, Sarah, and Brenda Hollingsworth.
Fortunately, the case settled very well at mediation for a confidential amount. Our firm arranged for Sarah to meet with financial planners to make sure that she could manage the funds so that they would last her lifetime.
The Statutory Accident Benefit Claim
Auger Hollingsworth also represented Sarah on her Statutory Accident Benefit Claim.
First, we helped Sarah complete the application form while she was still in the hospital.
Then, we ensured that the insurance company had all the paperwork and medical information they needed to place Sarah in the Catastrophic Injury category.
We helped Sarah to engage a case manager and worked with the insurance adjuster to ensure that Sarah received all the medical and rehabilitation assistance she required.
Finally, we helped Sarah achieve a settlement of her catastrophic injury claim so that she and her family could make decisions about her care without the need to ask permission and approval from the accident benefit insurance company.