News - Case Studies > Victim does not remember accident, court hears

Victim does not remember accident, court hears

updated: 19-Nov-13

Amnesia can be a common diagnosis as a result of hitting one’s head hard in an accident. Often a symptom of the amnesia is loss of memory. Despite how gruesome an accident may be, and how hard it is to think one would not remember the occurrence, it is common that if there is a head injury involved, the victim may not recall anything about how the accident occurred, despite the age of the victim at the time of the accident. An injured person who has suffered brain damage as a result of a motor vehicle accident may only remember the last few hours before the accident, and then wake up a few weeks later in a cold hospital bed.

It is popular to associate memory loss with old age, however, in the case of Shelley Chenier*, she was a 35 year old active woman, who had suffered memory loss as a result of the accident she was involved in in May 2011. She was a passenger in a vehicle which was driven by her husband when he hit a pothole and the car subsequently rolled. She was in a coma for one week after the accident and was on life support. She has no recollection of the events that occurred during the accident or while she was in a coma.

Shelley sustained a head injury including traumatic haemorrhaging and other intracranial injuries. She also suffered other minor injuries including a broken rib, whiplash, a sprained ankle and multiple abrasions. Post discharge from hospital, Shelley attended a neurological rehabilitation centre for several months, 3-4 times per week.

Before the accident Shelley was an avid gym-goer and had begun to train to compete in body building competitions. She had enjoyed show jumping and reading but since the accident has been too scared to return to show jumping, and reads less due to her lack of concentration. She had been working as a rental agent at the time of the accident. She only returned to work 3 months after the accident and had suffered a loss of earnings.

de Broglio Inc employed the services of a panel of medico-legal experts to assess Shelley’s injuries, as well as investigate her loss of earnings and the impact her injuries have had on her career going forward, as well as provide expert evidence on the impact of her general pain and suffering. Shelley’s attorneys used this expert evidence as the building blocks of her claim. Building each new fact and opinion into a watertight case, ready to go to court and succeed on her trial date.

de Broglio Inc appointed a top advocate from their panel of expert counsel who consulted with Shelley and her husband, provided specialist advice, and represented Shelley with her attorney in court in July 2013. The Road Accident Fund’s attorneys tried every angle to dismiss Shelley’s claim, but her legal team fought hard and her claim was settled for R1,562,187.00 with an undertaking from the RAF to cover 60% of any medical treatment she may need in the future for accident-related injuries.

*Names have been changed to protect client confidentiality

Case results depend upon a variety of factors unique to each case. Case results do not guarantee or predict a similar result in any future case.