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Treating California’s Injured With Dignity And Respect
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San Francisco Brain Injuries Attorney

Brain injuries are different from any other type of injury. The consequences to the individual, as well as to family and friends, are tremendously stressful. It can take months for all of the effects to be known, and recovery can take years as people relearn old skills or learn new skills to cope with challenges.

The financial costs and emotional difficulties of brain and spinal cord injuries can be devastating to victims and their families. Daily tasks that once were so easy are now challenging. It can be a struggle simply to deal with the medical and rehabilitation needs while keeping your life and family going.

The San Francisco brain injury lawyers at Abramson Smith Waldsmith LLP, have helped many of clients and family members through the difficult days that follow a traumatic brain injury (TBI). We work closely with our clients and their families to ensure they receive a thorough and accurate diagnosis and that their medical care and nursing needs are met.

Understanding The Varieties of Brain Trauma

A brain injury can result from direct physical trauma to the head or from a lack of oxygen to the brain.  Common types of brain injuries include:

  • Traumatic brain injuries: Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are brain injuries caused by trauma. TBI can occur due to:
    • motor vehicle accidents
    • falls from height
    • a car hitting a bike
    • explosions
    • being struck in the head by a golf club
    • hitting a tree or rocks when skiing or snowboarding
  • Closed head injuries: Closed head injuries are traumatic injuries in which the skull is not penetrated, such as concussions. Closed head injuries result from rapid movement of the brain within the skull and may result in swelling and bruising of the brain and microscopic tears in brain tissue. This is particularly dangerous when the brain strikes striking the inside of the skull. A blow to the back of the head can result in occipital lobe injury or cerebellum damage, while blows to the front of skull often result in damage to the frontal lobe.  Closed head injuries can occur due to:
    • car crash
    • truck accidents
    • motorcycle collision
    • bicycle accidents
    • sports incident
    • slip and falls.
  • Anoxic brain injuries: Brain damage can also occur as a result of a lack of oxygen or disturbance of blood flow. Anoxic brain injuries occur due to:
    • near drownings
    • massive bleeding
    • stroke

The Challenges of Diagnosing a Brain Injury

Unlike fractures or spinal cord injuries, brain injuries are often not immediately visible. If the injured person did not lose consciousness, a closed head injury or concussion can get overlooked. For example, a brain bleed (hematoma or hemorrhage) may not result in easily identifiable symptoms for many hours. By the time the diagnosis is made, the injured person may have suffered permanent brain damage.

Securing Full and Fair Compensation For the Victims of Brain Injuries

Each brain injury is unique and has different effects on the victim. The California brain injury attorneys at Abramson Smith Waldsmith LLP work closely with clients and their families to ensure their medical condition has been thoroughly assessed and they are receiving appropriate care. Then we begin the task of securing the financial resources they will need for treatment, therapy, nursing care and the additional expenses that come with this kind of trauma.

We go the extra mile to ensure that our clients receive full and fair compensation. We are known for our use of cutting-edge technology to demonstrate the injury and explain how it has affected our clients. We have received the national Law Technology News Award for Most Innovative Use of Technology at Trial for our trial techniques. Our creativity in trial presentation sets us apart from other firms.

At Abramson Smith Waldsmith LLP, our personal injury lawyers understand TBIs and the challenges they present to victims. Though we cannot take away the pain, we can assist you in recovering compensation for rehabilitation, lifetime care costs, and the pain and suffering experienced by you or your loved one.

If you are ready to talk to a lawyer who truly understands the challenges you face, contact Abramson Smith Waldsmith LLP, today for a free consultation.

At Abramson Smith Waldsmith LLP, our personal injury attorneys are skilled and experienced advocates for injured people. We have been fighting to achieve fair compensation for the victims of brain or spinal cord injuries for more many years. Our commitment to people suffering from brain injuries has resulted in a track record of significant verdicts and settlements.

Brain Injuries

Cheerleader v. High School – $17,500,000

High school cheerleader suffered a severe TBI when she fell from bed of pickup truck in a parade and struck her head against the roadway.

$17,500,000 for our 17-year-old client, a high school cheerleader, who fell from the bed of a jacked-up pickup truck in a 4th of July parade and struck her head against the roadway, causing a severe traumatic brain injury.  She had just finish practice with her Gustine High School cheerleading team when her coach instructed the squad to sit in the truck in formation to go to Gustine’s traditional 4th of July Parade.  Soon after he began driving the cheerleaders, the driver of the pickup truck, also age 17, aggressively accelerated around a turn to show off to the cheerleaders, causing several of them to fall out the back of the truck.  Our client sustained suboccipital and occipital skull fractures and a devastating traumatic brain injury.  The impact to the back of her head propelled her brain forward into the rough lining of her frontal skull, contusing the frontal and temporal lobes, resulting in bleeding – a coup-contre coup injury.  The extensive brain bleeding caused brain swelling and she was airlifted to Children’s Hospital of Oakland for a craniectomy to allow the decompression of the brain tissue.  Thereafter, she was transferred to Santa Clara Valley Medical Center for rehabilitation.  Her cognitive deficits and paraplegia require 24-hour care and therapeutic rehabilitation.

Young Golfer v. Golf Camp and Other Young Golfer – $5,100,000

Minor suffered severe TBI when struck in head with golf club at Nike Golf Camp. 

While attending a Nike Junior Golf Camp operated by American Golf Corporation at Tilden Golf Course in Berkeley, Alameda County, our 12-year-old client sustained a severe brain injury when another camper took a practice swing with his Big Bertha driver too close to our seated client on a tee box and struck him in the head and caused a severe traumatic brain injury.  Due to the significant brain bleed, our client required a decompressing craniectomy to alleviate the intracranial pressure and extensive rehabilitation.  Defendants claimed that a waiver/release signed by our client’s mother precluded liability.  The case against the fellow camper settled for $5,100,000.  The case against the other defendants settled for a confidential amount.

Sanitation Worker v. McKinsey & Co., Inc. – $4,000,000

Sanitation worker suffered severe TBI when struck by car as he crossed street to return to his garbage truck. 

Our client, a Marin sanitation worker, was struck by a car while walking across a street in San Rafael in Marin County from one garbage truck to another early one morning.  He struck his head and suffered a skull fracture, a brain bleed and a severe traumatic brain injury in the collision.  The driver did not see the pedestrian because he had fogged windows and was driving too fast.  Although he was commuting to work at McKinsey & Company, Inc. in San Francisco, the driver was required to arrive at work early that day and was on a special errand for his employer.  Our firm held McKinsey & Company, Inc. liable for its employee’s negligence, and it paid $4,000,000 to settle the case.

Student v. Turlock Unified School District – $6,000,000

Student knocked over by another student playing tag, causing her to strike her head and suffer a severe TBI.

Our client, a student at Dennis Earl Elementary School within the Turlock Unified School District in Stanislaus County, suffered an occipital skull fracture and a significant traumatic brain injury with frontal and subarachnoid hemorrhage when she was knocked backwards by another student playing tag and the back of her head slammed against the concrete walkway.  School personnel negligently failed to supervise and control the conduct of their students on campus before class by allowing them to play a game against school rules in an uncontrolled manner, then negligently failed to provide necessary medical care to our client for over two hours after her injury which allowed her brain injury to worsen.  The damage to her frontal lobe caused permanent deficits in cognitive ability, memory and attention.  The Turlock Unified School District settled the case for $6,000,000.

Driver v. Driver – $2,320,375 after verdict

Driver suffered a TBI in a disputed intersection collision in San Rafael.

$2,320,375 recovered for our 71-year-old client who suffered a subdural hematoma and brain swelling that necessitated a craniotomy and resulted in a permanent brain injury in a disputed intersection collision when a Tesla X driven by Joshua Felser collided with our client’s Jaguar at the intersection of Peter Behr Drive and Civic Center Drive near the Marin Civic Center in San Rafael.

Driver v. Taxicab Company Owners – $1,750,000 after jury verdict

Elderly driver suffered a severe TBI when rear-ended by taxicab; San Francisco Superior Court held the owners of the taxicab company liable for the jury verdict as alter egos.

Fermino Rodrigues, an unlicensed driver of a Yellow Cab AAA, a dba for Acme Yellow, LLC, rear-ended our client, an independent living 80-year-old, as she drove her Toyota Camry on The Embarcadero in San Francisco.  Our client’s head struck the steering wheel in the impact and suffered a subdural hematoma, requiring an emergency decompressive craniectomy at SF General Hospital.  After a lengthy hospital stay, our client never regained her independence.

Acme Yellow, LLC, operating as Yellow Cab AAA, did not have a license to pick up the passengers it carried at the time of the collision, did not carry insurance, and allowed an unlicensed driver to operate its vehicle.  Jeffrey Browning and Param Dhillon owned and operated the cab company, and never offered more than $100,000 to settle the case.

A San Francisco jury found in favor of our client and awarded her $1,373,865.52.  The court added $89,659.39 in costs and fees to the judgment.  The court also found that Messrs. Browning and Dhillon were alter egos of Acme Yellow, LLC for inadequately capitalizing their business, not following normal business formalities, diverting business funds to themselves, and not reporting cash income to the IRS.  The court stated in its ruling that the “case cries out for the alter ego doctrine” and that defendants used their company as “a shell to shield these individuals from liability.”  Browning and Dhillon appealed the judgment, which the Court of Appeal affirmed.  (https://casetext.com/case/busalacchi-v-browning.

After many years of fighting for our client, our firm eventually collected $1,850,000 from Messrs. Browning and Dhillon.

Student v. Yosemite Unified School District

10-year-old boy suffered a TBI when he ran into crossbeam on a partially installed fence while playing on a school playground

While playing tag during recess at Rivergold Elementary School (part of the Yosemite Unified School District) in Coarsegold, California, our client, a 10-year-old 5th grader, collided with a horizontal metal pole of a partially installed chain link fence.  The pole, virtually invisible to the student, “clotheslined” him at his upper chest and he landed on his head.  The fence, immediately adjacent to the playground, should not have been left mid-construction without adequate barriers and warnings by defendant Torres Fence Company, located in Fresno.  As a result of the incident, our client suffered a lacerated scalp and a mild traumatic brain injury, including a subdural hematoma in the right frontal region, and a small midline shift.  He had persistent symptoms of post-concussive syndrome, including headaches, blurred vision, and fatigue, as well problems with his memory, concentration, and reading comprehension.

Scooter Rider v. Delivery Company – $5,975,000

Scooter rider suffered severe TBI when struck by delivery vehicle.

Our client, a scooter rider in Berkeley, was stopped at a red light when a delivery vehicle struck her scooter from behind, knocking her onto the hood, windshield, roof and truck of the car before she landed on the street.  She struck her head against the roadway and sustained a severe traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Minor Passenger v. County of Tulare – $3,030,000

2-year-old passenger suffered TBI in auto collision after another driver ran a stop sign obscured by an overgrown palm tree

$3,030,000 settlement for 2-year-old who rode as a backseat passenger as his parents  drove home from the father’s softball game in Visalia, Tulare County, with their son in a booster seat in the right rear passenger seat.  As they drove on Orange Belt Drive in Strathmore, another driver did not stop at a stop sign and collided with our clients’ car.  The stop sign was completely covered by palm fronds from a palm tree planted directly in front of the sign on Tulare County’s right-of-way.  The first responders immediately cut back the palm tree to prevent such an accident from occurring again.  The two-year old suffered a traumatic brain injury, including a frontal lobe parenchymal hemorrhage, subarachnoid hemorrhage, and a midline shift.  Our firm brought a case against the driver of the vehicle that ran the stop sign and against County of Tulare for creating a dangerous condition of public property due to its inadequate inspections and maintenance of its stop sign.  The driver paid her policy limits of $30,000 and the County of Tulare paid $3,000,000 to settle the case.

Resort Guest v. Resort – $8,000,000

Resort guest thrown from valet’s golf cart due to sharp turn and suffered severe TBI when she struck her head on the driveway’s pavement.

While attending a bachelorette party at a Napa resort, our client fell out of a valet’s golf cart due to the driver making a quick, sharp turn while taking her to her room.  She struck her head on the driveway and suffered a skull fracture, multiple brain bleeds, and a severe traumatic brain injury, leaving her with significant, permanent, residual cognitive problems.  She sustained a coup-contre coup brain injury when her head violently struck the pavement, throwing her brain forward against the rough interior of her frontal skull and significantly damaging her frontal lobes.  This secondary impact or “coup” caused brain bleeding, brain contusions, and a traumatic axonal injury (TAI) or shearing of brain cells.  The brain bleeds included a left frontal subdural hematoma, several punctate intracerebral hemorrhages in the left temporal lobes, and a bleed in the left frontal lobe.  Our client improved through outstanding treatment at Queen of the Valley Medical Center and through extensive rehabilitation at California Pacific Medical Center.  Nevertheless, her dramatic, life-altering residual deficits are permanent.

Truck Driver v. Construction Company – $5,375,000

Truck driver seriously injured when cargo load fell on him after construction company workers unsafely loaded flatbed.

Our client, an independent truck driver who hauled a variety of commercial parts and products, sustained serious crush injuries when a load of concrete wall forms fell on him during the construction of a building in San Francisco’s Chinatown.  The project manager hired our client to drive a load of its concrete wall forms from the Chinatown job site to one of its storage yards in Oakland.  Its employees loaded the concrete forms onto the flatbed with a crane in the truck staging area along Washington Street.  When he delivered the load to the yard and began to unstrap it, five concrete wall forms weighing more than 300 pounds each suddenly fell on top of him.  The construction company’s employees negligently built the load which slanted to one side and was not level, failed to use long enough dunnage which added to the instability, and failed to band flat forms which would have prevented them from sliding off the flatbed and onto the truck driver.  Our client sustained a traumatic brain injury (TBI), multiple facial fractures with residual deformities, loss of vision, multiple rib fractures, L1 vertebral fracture with a sciatic nerve injury, pelvic fractures, and multiple fractures of his lower legs that required multiple surgeries to repair, among many other injuries.

Driver v. Driver

Driver suffered a brain injury in an intersection collision on El Camino Real

Our client suffered a permanent brain injury in an intersection collision when a Ford Explorer collided with our client’s Toyota Echo, causing a major rollover collision at El Camino Real and Hillcrest Blvd. in Millbrae, San Mateo County.

Cyclist v. Driver – $1,850,000

Cyclist suffered moderate TBI and spinal injury when struck by car making a right turn.

$1,850,000 for a cyclist was struck by a car while riding his bike in a marked bike lane in Atherton, San Mateo County.  The driver of the car was not paying attention and made a right turn directly into the bicyclist, who suffered a concussion and two fractured vertebrae.  The bicyclist’s Strava data provided evidence that he rode at a reasonable speed at the time of the collision.

Student v. Lodi Unified High School District

Student sustained brain injury after suffering a cardiac arrest in P.E. class and his resuscitation was delayed due to high school’s AED having expired batteries

Our 18-year-old client suffered a cardiac arrest in the Lodi High School gym during PE class.  His PE teachers immediately checked his condition and saw that he was not breathing and was non-responsive.  The teachers called for began CPR, called 9-1-1, and retrieved an automated electronic defibrillator (AED).  The teachers stopped CPR to use the Medtronic Lifepak CR Plus AED but it did not work due to expired batteries.  Once the EMTs finally arrived and used their defibrillator to shock our client’s heart back into normal rhythm, he suffered an anoxic brain injury.  Lodi High School failed to regularly inspect the AED, failed to perform any maintenance on the AED and allowed the service contract with Medtronic to expire, despite repeated warnings from the manufacturer, which caused our client’s injuries.

Passenger v. U.S.A.

Passenger suffered a severe TBI when U.S Army howitzer went out of control while being towed on I-405 in Los Angeles

Our client was a backseat passenger in a car on I-405, a Los Angeles freeway, when a U.S. Army truck towing a large howitzer lost control and crashed into the back of our client’s car.  Traffic had suddenly stopped on the 405 and the Army truck attempted to stop but it was too small to tow such a large piece of artillery and jack-knifed and continued down the freeway before colliding with the rear of the car, causing a catastrophic brain damage that ultimately killed our client.

Resort Guest v. Resort

Resort guest suffered severe TBI when he slipped on ice, fell and struck his head

Our 58-year-old client suffered a permanent brain injury when he slipped on an ice-covered handicap ramp leading to the parking lot at the Lake Tahoe Vacation Resort by Diamond Resorts, fell backwards, and struck the back of his head violently on the concrete.  The impact knocked him unconscious and caused a grand mal seizure, all witnessed by his wife. The defendant admitted that it ran out of salt used to prevent ice formation of the handicap ramp.

Football Fan v. Stadium and Security Company

49ers fan at Levi’s Stadium suffers severe TBI from assault in restroom

Our client suffered a serious brain injury from a violent assault in a restroom at Levi’s Stadium just before kick-off at a San Francisco 49ers game in Santa Clara. After several powerful punches to his face that knocked him out, our client fell forward and slammed his head against the concrete floor.  He sustained a severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) with a skull fracture. After a long history of alcohol-induced criminal behavior, gang activity, fights and assaults at San Francisco 49ers home games, the team failed to protect against foreseeable third-party assaults.  The 49ers employed Elite Show Services, Inc. and the Santa Clara Police Department to provide security and police services at Levi’s Stadium but they failed to properly screen fans and deploy appropriate security personnel.

Passenger v. Construction Company – $2,550,000

$2,550,000 for passenger who suffered TBI and multiple spinal fractures in an auto collision caused by a construction company’s unauthorized closure of traffic lanes.

Our 34-year-old client suffered serious injuries, including a brain injury and multiple spinal fractures, in an auto collision caused by an unauthorized obstruction of freeway traffic by roadway contractor defendant Peterson-Chase General Engineering Construction, Inc. during a Caltrans maintenance project on the SB680-WB24 connector ramp in Walnut Creek.  Without Caltrans’ approval, Peterson-Chase closed off the wrong traffic lanes at the wrong time, which created a bottleneck and an abrupt traffic jam that forced a chain-reaction of emergency braking and the subject high-speed rear-end collision.  Defendant Peterson-Chase negligently obstructed the flow of freeway traffic when it improperly closed a majority of the lanes on the busy I-680 – State Route 24 connector ramp to perform roadway maintenance too early on the night of the incident, in violation of Caltrans’ permit.

Family v. Trucking Company – $1,500,000

Mother and her three kids driving to school suffered serious injuries in a head-on collision by a speeding truck.

Our clients, a mother and her three children, were commuting to school near Placerville in El Dorado County when a large tractor-trailer dump truck driver ignored a school zone speed limit of 25 miles per hour and entered an intersection adjacent to a school at a speed of greater than 60 miles per hour.  The truck collided with another car in the intersection, lost control, crossed into the oncoming lane and struck the plaintiffs’ car, crushed it and set it on fire.  The mother and her three children suffered multiple serious injuries, including a severe TBI, cervical fractures, and facial injuries with scaring.

Office Manager v. Property Owner – $1,575,000

Office manager tripped and fell over sandbags placed in office doorway to prevent flooding and suffered TBI

$1,575,000 for an office manager in an administrative medical office in Mill Valley tripped and fell over sandbags placed in front of an exterior door by her employer to prevent recurring flooding of the office, striking her head against a wall and sustaining a traumatic brain injury.  The drainage at the building caused water to run towards the offices during moderate rainfall.  The owner and landlord of the building, Stephen Pugh, knew of the problem and did nothing to remedy it.

Student v. Natomas Unified School District & Fence Company

Student suffered a mild TBI when another student on a school playground collided with her while playing tag

Our 7-year-old client, a student at Natomas Park Elementary School within the Natomas Unified School District, suffered a subdural hematoma and a skull fracture during recess when another student, who was playing tag, ran into our client and knocked her to the pavement, causing her to strike her head.  The school deleted the video of the incident from its surveillance video system.

Tenant v. Property Owner & Management Company – $2,300,000

Man suffered a TBI when he slipped and fell on black ice in his driveway due to over-spray from the sprinkler system.

$2,300,000 for a retired doctor struck his head and sustained a severe traumatic brain injury when he slipped on black ice and fell in the driveway of his rental home in Ukiah, Mendocino County, after Realty World and Selzer Property Management failed to properly maintain the property by allowing the automatic front lawn sprinklers to over-spray into the driveway, then turn into black ice in freezing temperatures.  A responding paramedic similarly slipped and fell in the driveway.  Our client suffered frontal and temporal lobe contusions.