Holland & Usry August 2017

A Wave of Terror DEALING WITH OUR SON’S CONCUSSION

’ve had the chance to represent a number of clients dealing with traumatic brain injuries. While this experience has offered me the

His mother quickly realized something was wrong. Nobody panicked, but we brought him to our spot on the beach to check on him. His uncle Jay, an eye doctor, told us we needed to call a pediatrician. We headed home to give Jack a bath and assess him a little more. I knew it was serious when, during the bath, he struggled to recall the names of his twin siblings. After that, there was no doubt we were heading to the emergency room. I’m no neurologist, but I did know that we needed to keep our boy awake during the 45-minute drive to the hospital. Once there, I told the staff that we were worried about possible bleeding in his brain. Luckily, that wasn’t the case, but the doctors told us he had suffered a concussion. It’s scary stuff, but we were very fortunate. The doctors assured us he would make a full recovery. Recover he has, but it’s been a rough three weeks for him. Throughout the ensuing days and weeks, he’s been dealing with headaches, neck pain, and fatigue. When we’d go out to throw the baseball, he’d grow tired after 10 minutes, and that’s just not Jack. Normally, he’ll wear me out long before his energy slows down at all. Luckily, he was recently fully cleared by doctors. This might’ve been only a brief glimpse into the world of serious brain injuries, but it was more than scary enough for me. Watching Jack’s frustrations was hard, and I’ve learned to never take for granted the most important part of the human body. “Getting your bell rung,” is not a phrase you’ll ever hear me utter again. Brains are irreplaceable, and an injury to them is worth our fullest attention.

I

chance to learn a little bit what people going through these injuries and their loved ones have to deal with, it didn’t prepare me for the recent scare in my own household. There’s an old saying that there’s no such thing as a mild surgery, unless it’s someone else’s. Well, after my boy Jack recently suffered a concussion, I can safely say the same is true of head injuries. Ever since we can remember, Jack has been an adventurous boy. When he was 3 and 4, you better believe you had to keep an eye on him at the jungle gym. If you lost him for one second, he wouldn’t be hanging from the monkey bars; he’d be on top of them. Now that he’s 9, he’s developed into quite a coordinated little athlete. We might not be able to safely say he has a future in baseball, but he definitely has a present. With all his energy and vigor, it’s ironic that Jack’s concussion was the result of following his mother’s instructions. We were at the beach with some extended family, and Jack was playing in the water with his cousin. Amy, my wife, asked him to turn around and take a few steps toward the beach, so she could get a picture. As she was about to take the shot, a huge wave crashed down, blindsiding Jack. It hit him with such force that he was upended, hitting his head on the seafloor.

I knew it was serious when, during the bath, he struggled to recall the names of his twin siblings. After that, there was no doubt we were heading to the emergency room.

–Rob Usry

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Make the Grade! 3 STUDYING HACKS FOR SUCCESSFUL STUDENTS

Are your kids already sweating exams this fall? Fear not! Combine these tips with a regular studying routine, and they’ll be set for anything their teachers assign this year. CHEW ON THIS Not all classrooms allow gum, but those that do offer students a distinct advantage. According to Scientific American, chewing gum increases the flow of oxygen to the areas of your brain responsible for attention and memory. Your student can even coordinate gum flavors with each of their classes. Do they have a biology test coming up? Encourage your student to chew peppermint gum while they study and while they take the test. Their brain will associate the minty flavor with those plant cell organelles they studied for an hour the night before. PROOFREAD WITH GOOGLE Is your child trying to perfect an essay before a midnight deadline? Be sure they leave time to read their essay aloud! Tom Stafford, a psychologist who studies

meaning the change to their relationship. We reviewed medical records and met with his doctor to develop a brief but powerful questionnaire demonstrating damages. Notably, the doctor deemed Ray unable to work again. Ray was a welder at BMW, which provides excellent benefits, strengthening his lost wages claim. DEALING WITH OTHER CLAIMS TO RAY’S MONEY. Fortunately, Ray had health insurance that paid his medical bills. Health insurance needed to be paid back through subrogation. We negotiated a reduced bill for Ray, giving him more money in the end. As Ray is now on Social Security disability, he is eligible for Medicare. Sometimes Medicare demands part of a settlement for future medical bills it pays related to that injury. To protect Ray, we got proof so Medicare would assert no such claim. typos at the University of Sheffield, notes that when we reread our work, “we don’t catch every detail; we’re not like computers or NSA databases.” Your student doesn’t catch their typos because they don’t expect them! By reading their work aloud, your student can fix those typos as they come up. But why put in all the effort when they can let Google do it for them? They can simply copy and paste the essay into Google Translate and let it read the essay aloud. Hearing their work ring out in Google’s monotone speech will help them highlight and fix those mistakes. GET OFF FACEBOOK Is your child wasting all of their precious studying hours on social media? According to Common Sense Media’s 2015 national census survey, tweens and teens spend an average of six to nine hours on some form of media daily. Help your student learn to self-regulate with StayFocusd, a web extension available for free in the Chrome Web Store. By adding this extension to your web browser, you can limit the amount of time your child spends scrolling through Facebook and maximize the time they spend on Google Scholar and Quizlet.

Maximum Insurance for a Traumatic Brain Injury RAY’S MOTORCYCLE CASE

Ray sustained a traumatic brain injury on June 6, 2014. He was sideswiped as he drove home from work on his three-wheel motorcycle. Witnesses described the at-fault driver flying off an interstate exit, trying to beat traffic to cross four lanes of Reidville Road in Spartanburg. The impact slammed Ray into the pavement headfirst.

This case teaches three important lessons about severe accident injury claims.

THE WISDOM OF UNDERINSURANCE (UIM). We’ve preached the virtue of this insurance repeatedly, and this case shows exactly why. UIM is coverage on your policy that pays when an at-fault driver doesn’t have enough. Here, the at-fault driver had only $50,000 in liability coverage, far less than Ray’s medical bills. But before this crash ever happened, Ray had the wisdom to choose UIM for all six of his vehicles, giving him $600,000 extra coverage. Without it, he and his wife faced financial ruin. THE CHALLENGE OF TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURIES. Ray’s brain injury did not immobilize him or require him to remain in care. If you never knew him before the crash, you might not notice his impairment right away. We built his case around the effect his brain damage had on the biggest parts of his life: his wife and career. We reported the changes in him, observed by his devoted wife, Jerrie. Part of the settlement was for her loss of consortium,

Ray’s employer paid him disability benefits. Often, the disability insurance company demands repayment. We convinced them not to.

We’re proud and thankful for the result we achieved for Ray. In addition to the damages Ray incurred, his family could have faced immense financial hardship. Thanks to his foresight to purchase UIM insurance, and the case we developed, Ray and Jerrie can live a normal life in the South Carolina foothills.

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The Most Important Organ BRAIN INJURIES AT WORK

As any football fan can attest, traumatic brain injuries are serious, damaging events. You don’t need to be a professional athlete, though, to suffer a brain injury at work. If you suspect that you or a loved one has experienced a brain injury at work, you must take action immediately. If you have even the slightest inkling that something may be wrong with your brain, here’s the rule of thumb: Assume an injury until a medical professional proves otherwise. Your brain is irreplaceable, and time is of the essence. The most important reason to seek medical attention is, of course, to ensure you get the best possible care and treatment. And if you do have a physical brain injury, you can qualify to receive maximum workers’ compensation benefits. In South Carolina, to qualify for these benefits, your injury must be severe, permanent, and physical. By law, severe means your doctor has determined that your injury is such that returning to work is impossible. For an injury to be considered permanent, it must be medically proven that you will never fully recover. Physical damage is the most complicated facet of this definition, and there are three ways it can be demonstrated. The first is through an MRI or CT scan. The second is a test of cognitive behavior, which assesses the

normalcy of your cognitive process and level of function. The final way is neuropsychological testing, a psychological examination which gauges your level of brain function. If you feel you suffered a brain injury at work, your first call should be to your supervisor to get you a doctor. Only an experienced medical professional can diagnose your condition. Your second call should be to a lawyer who can make sure you get the maximum possible benefits, which can include lifetime brain-related medical care and disability pay for life.

Good News

RITZ CRACKER ICE CREAM SANDWICHES

Lamentations 3:28-30 from the message

Make the most of these last few summer weeks and wrangle the kids for this fun, easy dessert! You can even save the leftovers in the freezer for those busy back-to-school nights.

Ingredients

When life is heavy and hard to take, go off by yourself. Enter the silence. Bow in prayer. Don’t ask questions: Wait for hope to appear. Don’t run from trouble. Take it full-face. The “worst” is never the worst.

4 ounces dark chocolate pieces, melted

1 pint of your favorite ice cream

24 Ritz (or generic butter round) crackers

Directions

1. Melt chocolate pieces in a double boiler or in the microwave. Stir until smooth and drippy. 2. Arrange crackers, bottom side up, on a cookie sheet. Use fork to drizzle melted chocolate over crackers, then place them in freezer to cool quickly. 3. Remove crackers from freezer and place small ice cream scoop

in the center of 12 crackers. Press remaining crackers, chocolate side down, onto the ice cream scoop. 4. Freeze at least 4 hours before serving. Wrap individual sandwiches in plastic wrap to store in freezer for up to 7 days — but they’ll never last that long.

Recipe inspired by joythebaker.com.

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* This newsletter is intended to educate the public about personal injury, workers’ compensation, criminal defense, and family law issues. You can copy and distribute it as long as you copy the entire newsletter. But the newsletter is not intended to be legal advice; you should ask a lawyer about your specific case. Every case is different, and all case outcomes depend on unique facts and laws.

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INSIDE this issue

1

A Wave of Terror

2

Make the Grade! Maximum Insurance for a Traumatic Injury

3

Protect Your Quality of Life Ritz Cracker Ice Cream Sandwiches

4

Pet Hero of the Year

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Pet Hero of the Year

HOW A BEAGLE MIX HELPED PASS A LAW IN GEORGIA

You probably remember the Best Picture debacle at the Oscars this year. Best Picture: “La La Land.” Wait, actually — “Moonlight!” On the other hand, April’s 5th Annual Pet Hero Awards went without a hitch, and one pup walked away with the night’s top award for pets.

again. Local news outlets picked up the story of the miracle survivor, and eventually, so did CNN. One viewer was particularly taken with the story. Phil Draughton of Illinois pledged to pay for her recovery and, ultimately, adopted her. Since then, Phil and Gracie have headed a campaign to spread awareness of banning gas chambers. On December 31, 2010, Georgia passed a law to ban them — a law called “Gracie’s Law” in her honor. Along with Animal Aid USA and the MOMS Rescue, they collected over 25,000 signatures of support to push the law through the state legislature. According to the Humane Society of the United States, 2.4 million adoptable cats and dogs are put down in the U.S. each year, many in gas chambers. For them, Phil and Gracie continue to fight the good fight.

AMAZING GRACE’S STORY

In 2006, Gracie was one of 3 million dogs in shelters nationwide. Unfortunately, she was on mutt death row. One July day, Grace and six other dogs were loaded into a gas chamber at Liberty Animal Control in Hinesville, Georgia. Thirty-two minutes later, the control officer returned to empty the gas chamber, only to find that one mutt — Gracie — was still alive and gasping for air.

The horrified officer rushed her to a local veterinary office, unwilling to put her through it

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