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Unusual Connecticut accident underscores brain injury risk

A Manchester man was sentenced to 18 months in prison for his role in a car accident. The 24-year-old Connecticut resident pled guilty to second degree assault with a vehicle and DUI, which both stem from a 2010 car crash.

Reports indicate that the man's vehicle crossed the road's centerline and struck another car. The other motorist, now 62 years old, spent several days in the hospital's intensive care unit after the incident.

It was the scene in the man's car, however, that raised eyebrows and the female passenger in the man's vehicle was also extremely fortunate not to sustain a serious brain injury.

Apparently, officers discovered that the 22-year-old female passenger had a circular bruise on her face. The police determined that the mark was the same size as a steering wheel on the man's vehicle. After some questioning, the police got the woman to admit that she was performing a sexual act at the driver's insistence when the accident occurred, which may have been a major distraction. Doctors had to repair her facial bones with a steel plate.

She was lucky that her injuries did not involve a serious traumatic brain injury, or TBI. Passengers who fail to buckle-up are at an increased risk of serious harm, including brain injuries. These types of injuries encompass debilitating conditions that can involve years of rehabilitation, therapy and possibly long-term care.

The expense of medical bills, in addition to a possible reduced work capacity, can be crippling on a victim and the victim's family. Legal professionals can help investigate an accident, examine the relevant details and determine if an award is possible.

Just because a passenger failed to put on a seatbelt does not mean he or she is automatically precluded from recovery. However, this does depend on state law. Also, the passengers of a vehicle driven by a person who caused an accident may also be able to seek compensation. Brain injury victims can work with a professional to determine their rights in accord with the facts of the case.

Source: The Hartford Courant, "Manchester Man Sentenced For Role In 2010 Head-On Crash," Jesse Leavenworth, Jan. 11, 2013

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