At the time of the car accident, claimant was 53 years old, with a medical history that included a heart attack, and treatment of high blood pressure. As she was driving at or near highway speed with two of her grandchildren in the back seat, a chunk of concrete measuring approximately 9″ x 12″ x 6″ hit the front hood of her car, penetrated the windshield, hit the steering wheel, and then struck claimant on the left side of her forehead, rendering her unconscious. Claimant’s car drifted off the right side of the roadway, eventually striking a tree beyond the right shoulder of the roadway and coming to rest. At the time of the accident, claimant was wearing a lap belt with a shoulder harness seatbelt.
Claimant regained consciousness while she was still in her car. Her first memory after the accident is of regaining consciousness while lying halfway on her back, seeing a large hole in the windshield, reaching for a tissue because there was blood in her eye, and realizing that she was being attended to by another person. Claimant inquired many times about the safety of her grandchildren before again losing consciousness. Thereafter, claimant was brought in the emergency room at Albany Medical Center (AMC).
A source said that, claimant was admitted to AMC, and was treated by neurosurgeon Dr. John Waldman. Initial CT scans of claimant’s skull taken the day of the accident indicated that she had suffered numerous skull fractures in the area of her left eye socket involving the forehead bone behind her left eyebrow, the bones of the outer upper part of the eye socket, the roof of the eye socket, and the upper part of the eye socket near the temple, as well as fractures of the bones along the left side of her sinuses behind her nose. In addition, the initial CT scans indicated a small epidural hematoma (i.e. a blood clot between her skull and the dura, the fibrous material that covers and protects the brain), a traumatic subarachnoid hemorrhage (blood in the fluid between the brain and the dura), and bloody fluid in the ethmoid sinus. The CT scans also revealed pneumocephalus (air inside the skull cavity), indicating that the dura may have been torn at the time of the head injury. The CT scans also indicated that claimant had sustained trauma in the area of the skull where the olfactory nerve (the nerve that senses odors) is located. In addition, claimant had a deep laceration of approximately two inches on her forehead above her left eyebrow.