A woman who suffered a brain injury and 19 fractures in her face after a landscaper’s steel loader slammed into the golf cart she was riding in with her daughter has reached a $2 million pre-suit confidential settlement with the landscaping company, her attorney reports.

David Yarborough of Yarborough and Applegate in Charleston reports that his client, a 68-year-old woman whose name was withheld pursuant to a confidentiality agreement, was a passenger in the golf cart on Sullivan’s Island in October 2016 when a landscaper barreled off the property he was working and hit the cart.

The client was thrown through the windshield of the cart and landed on her head and face on concrete. She sustained a mild traumatic brain injury and at least 19 fractures to her face, skull, shoulder, foot and ankle, and dental injuries.

The client was rushed to the trauma unit at the Medical University of South Carolina Hospital in Charleston. Imaging confirmed that she had suffered tearing of the brain’s nerve fibers, hemorrhaging beneath the skull, fractures to the orbital roofs, traumatic pneumocephalus (air or gas within the cranial cavity), and tissue extending into the intracranial space. She also suffered fractures to her nasal bones, upper arm, and ankle.

A surgical team attempted to repair the damage to her face bones and mouth. The client was in the hospital for six days, including two days in the intensive care unit and four in the trauma unit. The team of doctors that attended to her identified cognitive communication deficits consistent with the traumatic brain injury she sustained, Yarborough said. 

The client contended that the landscaping company failed to provide proper training to its employees, failed to conduct proper background checks on them, and failed to properly supervise them while allowing them to operate a 10,000-pound piece of equipment.

The driver of the loader had 23 prior charges filed against him, most of them related to traffic violations and car wrecks, and had two drug possession charges that were lodged three months before the accident, the client contended. She argued that the landscaping company either should have run a background check on the worker and then assessed the findings from a safety perspective, or that it knew of the driver’s history, but chose to put him on the job site anyway.

The client now uses a cane. Before her injuries, she had walked four miles per day, rode her bike, and played tennis almost every day, Yarborough said. She suffers post-injury hearing loss in her right ear and permanent damage to her olfactory nerves causing loss of her senses of smell and taste. She remains in chronic pain and with permanent scarring on her shoulder, nose, and upper lip, Yarborough said, and residual effects of the brain injury are still evident and even more pronounced. Other symptoms include insomnia, sleep disturbances, irritability and mood swings, anxiety and depression, and adverse effects on her relationship with her husband.

“While tremendously better than she was a year ago, she’s faced with the realization that her life will never return completely to the way it was,” Yarborough said.

The identities of the defendants, as well as their attorneys, were also withheld pursuant to the confidentiality agreement.

Follow Bill Cresenzo on Twitter @bcresenzosclw

SETTLEMENT REPORT — PERSONAL INJURY

Amount: $2 million

Injuries: Diffuse axonal shearing, subarachnoid hemorrhage and intraparenchymal hemorrhage, as well as bilateral fractures to the orbital roofs displaced on the right side with traumatic pneumocephalus and tissue extending into the intracranial space, fractures of her nasal bones, right humeral neck fracture, and right lateral malleolus fracture

Case name: Withheld

Venue: Withheld

Insurer: The Hartford

Date of Settlement: Nov. 8 

Special damages: $120,000 in past medical bills and $200,000 to $300,000 in future medical bills

Attorney for plaintiff: David Yarborough of Yarborough and Applegate in Charleston

Attorneys for defendant: Withheld

 



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