Question: My husband was stopped behind a pick-up truck that was turning left. While stopped, his car was hit from behind by a big truck and pushed into the pick-up truck. There were some long pipes sticking out of the pick-up truck that crashed through my husband’s windshield and ripped through the right side of his head.

  1. Who pays for the brain damage caused by the pipes, the pick-up truck driver, the commercial truck driver or both?

The following answers are by Eric Hageman, a national lawyer who represents accident victims and their families nationwide in personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits.

You Can Sue for Your Husband’s Serious Brain Injuries

In cases of incapacity, you will need to go to court and be appointed your husband’s guardian if you do not have power of attorney, a written authorization to represent or act on your husband’s behalf. Your husband would have had to sign the power-of-attorney form prior to the accident. (For others reading this, it is a good idea for spouses to have power of attorney for each other just in case something like this happens.)  Your husband’s claims will be litigated on his behalf by you, and all court documents will make this clear. Your husband’s claims will not be diminished because you are acting on his behalf.

As the wife, you may also have your own claims against all parties that are legally responsible for the accident and its aftermath. In the case of permanent, severe impairment, a spousal claim can be substantial.

If you decided to go forward with a claim, both you and your husband would then be my clients.

Both Truck Drivers and Others May be Legally Responsible for the Brain Damage

I would need more facts to be able to fully answer your question regarding the legal liability of the truck drivers. It is possible that both truck drivers acted negligently and are both legally responsible. In that case, the percentage of fault will be determined by the court or possibly even by agreement (for example, as part of a settlement agreement). In some states, there is a legal theory called joint and several liability, which, if applicable, would mean that compensation could be sought from one of the drivers, who would then have a claim against the other driver for part of the amount paid. In most cases, though, the accident victim would sue all of the parties that could potentially be liable, including both drivers, the commercial trucking company, the owner of any freight being hauled and possibly others. This can be a bit confusing and is probably more information than you need. The best thing to do in a case like yours is to contact an attorney with the right experience as soon as possible after the accident.  You can talk to me for free by submitting our free consultation form or by calling me at 1-888-377-8900.

We have handled a brain injury case almost exactly like your husband’s.  Attorney Fred Pritzker and I represented a man whose head was crushed by a tow truck hook being used to tow a commercial vehicle. He lost one eye and was severely disabled, which was a tragic situation for his entire family.

Attorney Eric Hageman represents semi truck accident victims and their families in personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits throughout the United States. He is a member of the American Association for Justice (AAJ) Interstate Trucking Litigation Group.