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Local Florida Woman Slowly Recovering from Traumatic Brain Injury

Three months after being hit by a pickup truck in a hit and run accident, Tampa high school senior, Jackie Faircloth, is beginning the slow, painful process of recovery. Back in November, the 18-year-old cheerleader suffered a traumatic brain injury in Tallahassee after a truck hit her while she was standing on the side of the road, and then took off. She was immediately placed in a chemically induced coma after brain surgery to reduce brain swelling and was subsequently transferred to Atlanta Georgia to begin rehab at the Shepherd Center, a brain and spine facility. As of last week, she is currently involved in several different therapies 5 days a week.

The hit and run driver, Devon M. Dwyer, was arrested back in December and has been charged with a felony hit and run and failure to remain at a crash involving injury. Both the driver and the passenger (who came forward to authorities) have retained legal counsel, and the case has not been assigned a trial date yet.

Civil vs. Criminal

In cases such as these, there is both a criminal side and a civil side to the claims. On the criminal side, leaving the scene of an accident (aka committing a “hit and run”) is a crime under Florida Statute. If there is injury or property damage involved, penalties can be between 60 days to 5 years in prison, with fines ranging from $500 to $5,000. As illustrated by this tragic story, once a driver involved in a hit and run accident is arrested, the fight is still far from over. The medical bills, lifetime injury, and potential loss of earning power all give rise to civil claims against the bad actor.

Civil Damages

In cases in which someone loses a family member due to someone else’s’ negligence, they may file a wrongful death suit. In cases where the family member does not die, a relative such as a parent may file a lawsuit on behalf of their relative to recover:

  • Compensatory damages such as monetary compensation for medical bills and therapy;
  • Potential loss of earnings or loss of earnings: In many jurisdictions, if the injured person was not of working age, this can cover lost opportunities. Courts typically take into account the injured person’s plans to go to college, etc.;
  • Emotional pain and suffering: this could cover compensation related to aches, temporary and permanent limitations on activity, potential shortening of life, depression or scarring;
  • Decrease in the quality of life: a victim will be able to recover for their inability to participate in activities that they once enjoyed or for the inability to participate in essential life activities such as speaking or controlling one’s own bodily movements; and
  • Punitive damages: these are available in cases of particularly bad behavior, such as a hit and run.

These damages are on par with what is available with any other personal injury case. However, traumatic brain injuries are notoriously expensive due to the level of medical treatment that is involved, and this increases the amount of recovery.

Clearwater Brain Injury Lawyers

Mike Walker is a Clearwater brain injury attorney who understands the impact that head injuries can have on accident victims and their families. If someone you love has experienced a head or brain injury, seeking help from Florida personal injury lawyer Mike Walker can help recover the damages you are entitled to. Contact the office today for a consultation and to begin working immediately.

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