A then-9-year-old girl who suffered a traumatic brain injury when she was hit by a car after getting off of her school bus has settled the case confidentially for $3 million, her attorney reported.
Hoyt Tessener of the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin in Raleigh said the accident happened on Nov. 18, 2014, and evidence showed that the driver was on her cell phone at the time of the accident. The driver denied that and contended that the girl jumped out in front of her vehicle, Tessener said.
The girl did not have a pulse when first responders reached her, Tessener said. Her injuries included a traumatic brain injury, non-displaced fracture of the occipital bone (which is at the base of the skull), rib fracture, left fibula fracture, and pulmonary contusion (a bruising of the lung).
The girl was in an intensive care unit for one week, where doctors had to induce paralysis in order to treat her. She remained in the hospital for about a month, and a rehabilitation hospital for another week. She missed the rest of the school year as a result of the injury.
The driver was not charged. Tessener said that the investigating officer ignored witness statements, and faulted the child for “darting.”
But on May 3, four days before a trial was scheduled to begin, the case settled for $3 million. Tessener said that he subpoenaed phone records from the driver’s employer, and that those records helped bring the case to a resolution.
“The big mover was her denial in answers in discovery and deposition about being on the phone,” he said. “Once we got phone records, she was caught.”
Tessener said that the girl is now doing well.
“She has made a remarkable recovery and is making grades consistent with her prior grades and participating in activities like the step team and track,” Tessener said.
Details about the case, including the venue, identity of the parties, and attorneys for the defendant were withheld pursuant to a confidentiality agreement.
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SETTLEMENT REPORT – AUTOMOBILE ACCIDENT
Amount: $3 million
Injuries alleged: Traumatic brain injury, nondisplaced fracture of the occipital condyle, rib fracture, left fibula fracture and pulmonary contusion
Case name: Withheld
Date of settlement: May 3
Special damages: $117,863
Attorneys for plaintiff: Hoyt Tessener and Coleman Cowan of Law Offices of James Scott Farrin in Durham
Attorneys for defense: Withheld