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Distracted driving can cause a life-altering brain injury

The number of distracted driving accidents on California roads, along with their devastating consequences, are causing rising concern. Although it is unlawful to text or talk on a handheld mobile device while driving, many car accidents caused by texting drivers occur on a regular basis. A victim of such an accident, who suffered a traumatic brain injury and lost both her parents, recently described how the accident had changed her life.

The young woman and her parents were on their way home after her college graduation in 2008. The actions of a young driver, who was distracted while using his mobile phone, caused a tractor-trailer to make an evasive action and smash head-on into their car. Her parents were both killed, and she suffered fractures and severe internal injuries, along with a traumatic brain injury that left her with a 10 percent chance of surviving. The woman spent a week in an induced coma and several more weeks being mostly unaware of her surroundings.

She says she became aware of her surroundings upon being transferred to a rehabilitation facility two months later. Although she had been informed of her parents’ death several times, she struggled to process the news, and she was surprised at not seeing them at the rehab center. There she started all over from kindergarten level, learning to walk, talk, dress and feed herself. By September, just as she was due to leave the rehabilitation facility, she was able to take her first steps. Years of private treatment helped her to progress from a wheelchair to a walking cane and, eventually, to an ankle-supporting brace that she still wears.

Although she has made remarkable improvement, she is still unable to use her left arm and has only limited use of her left leg. In addition, her brain injury will likely never completely heal, so cognitive tasks remain a problem. Car accident victims who suffer a brain injury similar to hers may never fully recover and may need long-term care. Some California victims find relief to their financial struggles through personal injury claims against the drivers they believe acted negligently resulting in their accidents.

Source:, “‘One hell of a journey‘”, Jacy Good, Jan. 13, 2015