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University Professor Suffers TBI When Speeding Semi Slams into Cars Stuck in Traffic

The eighteen-wheeler barely braked before it slammed into the back of a stationary minivan at highway speeds. The van crumpled like an aluminum can, the rear hatch folding into the third row of seats in a twist of metal and glass. Upon impact, the driver of the minivan struck the left side of his head and flew backward into the second row as the steel under his seat snapped. The massive Freightliner continued its destructive journey, smashing into the next cars in line, damaging multiple other vehicles and injuring several other people. In the passenger seat, the minivan driver’s wife had just enough time to grab the wheel and steer the car away from oncoming traffic as her husband lay unconscious beside her.

The lives of the couple were never the same – the husband suffered a traumatic brain injury in the crash. A Texas A&M professor, he spent the next months in the hospital and clinics, missing most of the first semester of school. His wife was treated for orthopedic injuries.

Attorney Jeff Paradowski has offices in College Station, where the accident occurred, and his phone was soon ringing. The minivan owners called, and the personal injury specialist met them at the hospital.

The semi-driver was an independent contractor for a major national trucking corporation based in New Jersey. Jeff filed a claim against the trucking company but met stiff resistance. In response, the company did what many do in cases like these and claimed liability did not belong to it because the driver of the truck was not a direct employee. Likewise, insurance companies were in no hurry to help the Plaintiff.

Jeff understood that to get the damages his clients deserved, he’d need to show just how serious the professor’s brain injuries were. And brain injuries, because they are invisible, are difficult to document. Paradowski and his team of paralegals set about securing testimony from the neurologists and other physicians who treated the couple.

Jeff sent the husband to a neuroradiologist to produce micro images in his brain as well as to a neuropsychologist for an interview and assessment of his cognitive functioning. To see how he’d changed since the accident, Paradowski talked to his family, friends, and coworkers. He found that the professor had a hard time focusing, was irritable, often couldn’t sleep, suffered short-term memory loss, and had difficulty with some cognitive functions.

Paradowski knew that visuals can be critical in brain injury cases, and he turned to DK Global for help. While he was crafting his demand package, the legal animation specialists worked on demonstratives that clarified what happened during the accident, its impact, and what the massive force did to the husband’s brain.

The animations first showed the accident – the stationary minivan and the hurtling Freightliner. It then zoomed out for a bird’s eye reconstruction of the crash as the truck hit the van and catapulted the smaller vehicle sideways. The perspective shifted to a side view of the car’s interior, recreating what happened to the driver as he was thrown backward. Viewers were then taken inside his skull to see how the rotational forces rocked his brain upon impact. The wrecked minivan from the animation was contrasted with photos of the actual vehicle for accuracy, graphically depicting just how violent the crash was.

The animations continued into the driver’s cranium and displayed what happens to the brain when forcefully twisted. Neural cables smaller than hairs, called axons, sheared and died when subjected to swelling, creating cognitive pathways that no longer function. The demonstratives showed actual radiographic images of the Plaintiff’s brain alongside a large illustration of the skull’s interior, pointing out microhemorrhages and microintensities where the damage occurred.

The presentation was powerful, and Paradowski included it in his demand package. He found the animations indispensable and knew they would communicate to the Defense that he was ready to go to trial. The Defense wouldn’t submit an offer before mediation, but didn’t want the case to go before a jury. Paradowski settled the case in a back-and-forth after the second mediation. He was able to gain a favorable high seven-figure settlement for his client.

Jeff Paradowski of Paradowski Law has been in practice for close to thirty years. Based in College Station, Texas, he runs a solo firm with three paralegals and specializes in personal injury cases, automobile accidents, trucking cases, on-the-job injury, product liability, and medical malpractice. He is a director for the Texas Trial Lawyer’s Association.


"I don't think anything communicates your readiness and preparation to try the case more than an animation created by DK Global."
Jeff Paradowski - Paradowski Law
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