Previous injury aggravated after getting rear ended by texting driver...

by Rusty
(Illinois)

I was stopped at a red light with a car behind me. Without notice, the rear car rammed into me and the force snapped my neck (i.e whiplash).

The accident occurred while a transit bus was in the lane next to the other driver. The bus driver pulled ahead (when the light turned green) after the incident and stopped to inform me that the driver had been texting (made the "texting with both thumbs" gesture) while he accelerated into my vehicle.

EMS came and checked me out. I was starting to get nauseous, and my left side started going numb/tingly, then became painful and trembling. I was transported by ambulance to the ER.

I've suffered a TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) from a previous whiplash/rear-end collision. I'm concerned about possible aggravations that may arise. Also, the emotional angst that this "rekindled" is very upsetting to me and my family. We really don't want to go through this all over again, although our entire family has already begun reliving it.

What degree or kind of negligence is this?

This is the 4th time in my life I've been rear ended (all no fault of mine) and the mental/emotional aspect of it following the TBI (3rd time) is truly different than that of a simple "bumper bump" (kinda like the 2nd time) that others might be thinking this is.

How sickening this all is to me and my family and the concern that "yet another" blow, particularly after a previous TBI (think cumulative) is going to have additional effects down the road. The mental anguish and emotional distress is very real, and it takes such a long time (if ever) to get fully past it.

How does one go about valuing the mental anguish / emotional distress of current angst, etc., and additionally, those perpetual concerns that are yet unrealized because they show up years into the future? How do I value this? What can be done? Thank you for any perspective you can give.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Previous injury aggravated after getting rear ended by texting driver...":

Rusty (Illinois):

The controlling issue is your Traumatic Brain Injury. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) defines a Traumatic Brain Injury as:

"...a form of acquired brain injury, occurs when a sudden trauma causes damage to the brain. TBI can result when the head suddenly and violently hits an object, or when an object pierces the skull and enters brain tissue. Symptoms of a TBI can be mild, moderate, or severe, depending on the extent of the damage to the brain."

Your case is a difficult one to assess. This was the fourth time you've been injured in a rear-end collision. As a result, the pain and suffering you are now experiencing may be difficult to distinguish from the pain and suffering you experienced in your three prior rear-end collisions.

From the facts you present, there is no doubt about liability. In almost all cases, the driver following who collides with the driver in front is legally responsible for the property damage and personal injuries he or she causes.

Contact the driver's insurance company. Because you have been through this before, you are probably familiar with the procedure for filing a property damage and personal injury claim. This time should be no different.

Be sure you contact your insurance company as well. You have a duty to do so under the notice of occurrence/cooperation clause in your policy. In this case doing so will likely have no adverse effect on your premiums.

When filing a claim with the driver's insurance company, be sure to get the claim number. When speaking with the claims adjuster let the adjuster know you are presently receiving medical treatment and will advise him or her of the status of your treatment.

Once your treatment is concluded, or your physician tells you you have reached a level of maximum medical improvement, you will be in a position to negotiate a settlement of your injury claim. For any case involving TBI, it is advisable to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney. You should do so immediately.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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PERSONAL INJURY
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MEDICAL ERROR
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