Stanley is a 51-year-old man who lives alone in a small one-bedroom apartment overlooking the ocean on the California beachfront. He works as an investment banker with some of the biggest investors in the state - and when they do well, he does well. The money he has saved away has managed to buy him the apartment he lives in, and he even has a solid savings account with several different investments to boot. He’s worked well, and it’s paid off.
Every day, he walks the distance to the Starbucks around the block, gets a coffee and reads the newspaper for the day’s investment news, and then walks back. Sure, he could check the same information on his smartphone at home, but there’s just something about routine of a daily walk for a cup of coffee that he enjoys.
He’s stuck to the same routine of a daily walk for at least four years in a row. During January 2014, he decided to take a different route to the one he normally did - the road would still end up at the same place, but he felt like the slightly longer scenic route.
His regular walk would turn into a disaster when he was struck by the driver of a pick-up truck who had leaned in to pick his phone up off the floor: Stanley looked up to see the car approaching and noticed a glimpse of the driver taking his eyes off the road. Stanley couldn’t get out of the way in time, and instead felt how he was thrown over the car instead.
The driver stopped and rushed to him. "Are you okay?" Stanley couldn’t respond: This was the last he heard as he fell unconscious from the trauma.
He woke up in the local hospital four days later. When he asked the doctor what happened, he told Stanley that he had sustained very severe injuries as a result of the accident. In addition to a concussion that led to a coma, Stanley had also sustained a broken shoulder and fractured his leg in three places.
The doctor informed Stanley that they had already completed surgery to hold some of the parts of his fractured leg in place with screws: That explained the pain he was in when he woke up.
It was going to take at least six months before Stanley could even start thinking about getting back to work full-time. Even though he works for himself, the long recovery time still has an impact on how much time he’s able to devote to his job - and this in turn means that he loses some of his largest clients.
The driver offers him no recourse for the accident and says that he does not take responsibility for what happened. He claims that Stanley has no proof that it was him who caused it, and says instead that Stanley was walking in the middle of the road which increased the likelihood of the accident taking place. After a letter from the driver’s lawyers, Stanley feels like pursuing the matter is pointless.
A few weeks later, he receives the first in a series of bills from the hospital. He thought that his savings amounted to something decent - but he quickly burns through most of it in an attempt to keep his business afloat and settle his medical bills at the same time.
As a result of the accident, Stanley experiences chronic pain in his shoulder, legs and back that the doctor says could persist for the rest of his life from there. In addition, more surgeries are needed to repair the damage to his leg when one of the scars becomes infected. Stanley has been so traumatized by the accident that he refuses to travel in or around motor vehicles and has sought extremely costly therapy to help assist him with his trauma.
Contact a brain injury lawyer if any of this sounds familiar.