The crash happened in 2012 when Ernest, a partially disabled veteran with a bad lower back, was on his way to the VA Hospital in Gainesville for routine medical treatment. He was a passenger in a Department of Veterans Affairs van.
The driver was going too fast and tried to pass three cars on a two-lane road. He clipped one of the cars as it slowed to make a left-hand turn, drove off the road and crashed into two trees, snapping one in half.
Ernest suffered two burst fractures in his spine. As a result, bone fragments from the crushed vertebrae became lodged in his spinal cord, causing non-stop severe nerve pain throughout his legs.
The crash had a domino effect on Ernest’s health. He ultimately needed surgery to remove the bone fragments from his spinal canal to avoid further damage. Sadly, after an unsuccessful surgery at the VA, Ernest suffered severe motor nerve damage rendering him paraplegic but not without severe and unrelenting lower back and leg pain. He is now confined to his bed 22 hours a day in severe pain. He’s gained 60 pounds and has congestive heart failure. One driver’s reckless decision transformed Ernest’s life for the worst.
This car accident was egregious, yet the federal government took the position it was not at fault. Following a two-day trial, a federal judge disagreed. The Court found the government driver 100% responsible for the accident. The government then settled the case for an undisclosed amount. With the settlement, Ernest will be able to get the care that he needs in his home such as buying a functional motorized wheel chair and a new hospital bed.
Auto accidents happen every day ranging from minor fender benders to crashes involving major injury or death. At Terrell • Hogan, we represent the injured as they seek justice.