A woman, who suffered severe brain injuries that left her permanently disabled after her car was broadsided by a Los Angeles Police Department vehicle will get $4.5 million in a settlement approved recently by the Los Angeles City Council. According to a news report, Sandra Griffin was sitting in the driver’s seat of a parked Nissan Altima just before midnight on September 9, 2006, when an LAPD patrol car driven by Officer Scotty Stevens struck her.
The crash apparently occurred when Stevens swerved to avoid hitting another car that was blocking lanes at the intersection of Imperial Highway and Success Avenue. Griffin and her passenger reportedly suffered “extreme and severe mental anguish, shock, anxiety, severe injuries to their nervous systems as well as severe mental and physical pain and injury,” according to the lawsuit, which was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court.
Personal injury cases that involve traumatic brain injuries or spinal cord injuries that have resulted in permanent disability are extremely tragic. Most of these victims require 24/7 care and become dependent on someone else to perform ordinary functions such as eating, dressing, bathing and moving around. It may seem as if Sandra Griffin “won” a lot of money in this settlement. But this is no victory and the settlement is no jackpot.
This money is nothing but a crutch for severe brain injury victims such as Sandra Griffin to move on with their lives. I don’t believe $4.5 million is adequate to cover her lifelong medical and therapeutic treatment. It may not be enough to cover loss of wages. It’s hard to even put a price on the companionship her loved ones would have enjoyed with her, had Griffin remained able-bodied.
But this money will hopefully help Griffin get long term care and let her maintain a decent quality of life. Police departments get a lot of immunity from the law when it comes to operation and procedures. But the LAPD settled this case because obviously their attorneys knew that a jury would find for Griffin and she would’ve probably gotten a lot more if this case went to trial.