A teenager who suffered traumatic head injury in a skateboarding accident last June is finding adjustment difficult, but he and his family keep a positive attitude about his recovery. They are hoping for an eventual full recovery, but that has not kept his family from having to endure the daily problems associated with brain injury.
“In An Instant”
Everett Zamarron-Smith was riding his skateboard near his home last June when he picked up too much speed and flew backward, landing on his head. His mother, alerted by her son’s friend, raced to his side only to have rescue personnel transport the unconscious teen to the hospital. There, doctors removed a portion of his skull to compensate for brain swelling.
A 25-day hospital vigil followed in which the boy remained in a coma. Ultimately, his injuries left Everett in a wheelchair and led to periodic further surgeries, including one to place a shunt in his brain. He is unable to communicate except on a limited basis, and often loses his train of thought. For example, he forgets at times what happened to him or how he ended up with his injuries.
His single mom is still out of work, unable to leave him and unable to afford full-time care. However, she refuses to lose hope that he will make a full recovery at some point.
Skateboarding Injuries Far Too Common
According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 6,000 teens visited emergency rooms in 2011 for traumatic head injuries, many of these caused by skateboarding accidents. In Everett’s case, wearing a helmet might have prevented or at least minimized his injuries, but the teen was not wearing one at the time of his accident.
Since Everett’s brain injury, his mother has become a proponent of helmet use to prevent head injuries and maintains a blog on the subject about her experiences with a head trauma victim. She has also had to fight battles with insurance companies for payments for her son’s care, including the company’s refusal to pay for a customized wheelchair that should have been covered by her policy.
What Happens When Insurance Companies Refuse Payment?
While Everett’s accident was not the type that involves someone else’s negligence, such as a car driver who hit the boy, it clearly involves problems in dealing with insurance companies, a common issue for personal injury victims. Insurance companies are likely to use several tactics to avoid paying reasonable expenses for their insured clients, including:
• Denying coverage by claiming an accident is not a “covered event”
• Minimizing the amount paid on covered expenses • Refusing certain tests or treatments because they are too expensive • Disallowing equipment or items that could help with recovery If you have been in an accident and are battling an insurance company for payment of your medical bills or other expenses, a personal injury attorney may be able to help you recover damages from the insurance company or other liable parties.