Alice is a 24-year-old art student originally from Connecticut.
She moved to California about eleven months ago to pursue her degree in fine arts from a leading California university. Things have been going well, and it's a relief for her to see that she's been able to make it on her own while juggling a job as a waitress together with her studies.
She's become one of the top students in the class in the space of just a few months. Some people have even singled out her art as exceptional – and there have been some offers on the pieces that she paints during her free time.
What was supposed to be a regular weekly trip to the nearest art supply store turned into a nightmare event for Alice. A light fixture in the store came loose and landed right on her head.
Alice sustained severe cuts from the broken glass and had a gash several inches long above her left eye as a result of the damaged light fixture coming down on her.
A friend drove her to hospital while they tried to stop the bleeding with an old shirt.
At the emergency room, the doctors ordered immediate stitches – and further scans to establish if there was any other damage as a result of the accident.
The scans showed that she had sustained a severe concussion, and the doctors warned that there was an additional possibility of swelling after such a serious head injury. It was advised that she stay at the hospital overnight for observation so that doctors could make sure everything was fine.
Alice developed a severe fever during the night. In the morning, she started having seizures.
The doctors were prompted to order more additional scans: Something was very wrong.
The results of more tests showed that Alice had sustained much worse injuries to her head than they had initially realized. As a direct result of the blunt trauma to the head, she was now a huge risk factor for a blood clot – and the first treatments doctors tried were not showing the right results.
Doctors called in one of the hospital's surgeons, who agreed that surgery was needed to remove a blood clot that had formed as a direct result of the trauma she had sustained from the incident.
Her health insurance wouldn't cover the full costs of the surgery: This forced Alice to chip into her savings to settle some of the bills for what was now a life-saving operation.
Her troubles weren't over after the surgery by any means.
She was considered completely out-of-action for several weeks after the surgery: During this time, she lost a lot of important progress towards her arts degree and had to give up her studies.
Her parents agreed that they would be able to pay her rent for the next three months – but she knew her recovery time was likely going to be far longer than this. Even though Alice didn't get a chance to complete her degree, the outstanding debt is still there.
While she blames the art store for their negligence in making sure an accident like that didn't occur on their territory, they have sent her a general response letter from the CEO that says nothing more than a refusal to accept responsibility for the indent – and a further denial that they are responsible for any costs.
All further attempts to reach the company for comment have been unsuccessful.
As a result of the incident, Alice experiences chronic pain in her head and neck, regular headaches and a loss of vision that surgery is unable to repair.
Speak with our brain injury attorneys if the above fact pattern sounds familiar to you.