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Raisin Company Pays Damages for Brain Injury

Casper, Meadows, Schwartz & Cook

A woman hit by a dislodged piece of iron from a raisin truck has received a substantial financial award from a California jury, according to reports released early this week. The woman, who was 41 at the time of the accident, was injured in September 2010 when a chunk of iron flew off a tractor-trailer on Highway 99, striking her in the head resulting in a serious brain injury.

The accident happened when a load shifted on the back of the truck, causing a cable to snap. A large piece of metal was dislodged, which then bounced off of the pavement and through the windshield of the woman's Acura sedan.

The woman underwent emergency surgery after the incident. Physicians said that her recovery was remarkable, considering the severe extent of her injuries and was in a heavy coma that generally proves fatal. The victim said she has no recollection of the accident, but she is thankful for her supportive family members, who have aided in her recovery.

As a result of her injuries, the woman lost her driver's license and began to experience seizures, including two during the course of the trial. The woman's personality is substantially different since the accident, according to her family, and she suffers from a variety of behavioral impairments. She also experiences severe headaches and short-term memory loss, which caused her to apply for disability retirement in 2011. She had previously been a special-assignment teacher for Fresno Unified. She had taught at two separate elementary schools.

Attorneys for the transportation company argued that the woman would likely continue to recover enough to live a functional life, but the jury rejected that claim. The woman's large settlement is designed to pay for past and future medical expenses, as well as pain and suffering. Earnings losses were also considered.

Source: San Jose Mercury News, "Hit by piece of raisin truck, Fresno woman is awarded $11.5M," John Ellis, March 23, 2012