Car Crash Injuries: The Faces, Behind the Statistics

Tallulah, LA – As a child, you probably have fond memories of coming home after school and waiting with eager anticipation for Dad to come home from work. A little catch after dinner, or working on the tree fort, or tying a few new fishing lures for the glorious weekend of fishing that lay ahead.

Now imagine coming home from school to find your daddy already at home, because he is in a wheelchair now, the victim of a car accident. He can’t play catch, or tie those fishing lures, because he can’t move his arms. He can’t take you fishing, because he has no feeling, and therefore no strength in his hands to hold the rod.

He can hug you only with his eyes, and with his voice. And with his tears. But he can’t wipe those away. You have to…

Man Paralyzed from Auto Accident

Luis Pena Jr., and his family have lived that horror. Prior to October 18, 2007 Pena was an active husband and father who toiled as a border patrol agent in Arizona. Before that he worked as a volunteer firefighter for the Warminster, PA fire department, and as an officer with the Amtrak Police Department. He was summoned to New York, to help with the horrific aftermath of 9/11.

He will always have that past. But his future is uncertain after the Ford F-250 XL he was driving went off the road and rolled over while Pena was on duty, responding to a narcotics call on an Indian reservation. He can’t recall the hours leading up to the accident, or what caused it. All he, and anyone know is that he was found by a partner on the side of the road.

Today, Luis Pena Jr. is a quadriplegic. His life has forever changed, and so have the lives of his wife Jennifer, and their two children.

Vehicle Rollover Caused Injuries

According to the People Safe in Rollovers Foundation, vehicle rollovers account for 10,000 fatalities in the US every year, and are the #1 cause of quadriplegic injuries. And while vehicles are purported to be getting safer, rollover injuries appear to be climbing as vehicle manufacturers, in the race to provide their vehicles with better creature comforts and more airbags than the other guy, somehow drop the ball when it comes to what happens when a vehicle is upended. The statistics reveal that manufacturers fail in this department time, and time again.

But it’s the faces behind the statistics, which are most compelling. Like Pena. And David Garcia, who is himself a quadriplegic, and who has nearly identical scars to that of Pena, when the ‘A’ pillar of his Ford Escort collapsed onto his head after the car rolled.

Other Victims of Vehicle Rollover Accidents

Before the accident David Garcia was a young man with a bright future, pursing his doctorate degree in Spanish American literature and Latino studies while working as a teaching assistant. It’s Dr. David Garcia now, since he beat the odds and completed his PHD, somehow writing his dissertation with a voice-activated text converter. And his future is just as bright, but limited according to how long he has left to live. He doesn’t know. Nobody knows.

All he knows is that he was driving westbound along Interstate 20 on May 25th 1996 when he came onto the smoke generated by a vehicle fire off to the side of the road. Suddenly aware of another vehicle, the driver of which began swerving into his lane upon becoming confused by the smoke, Garcia had no choice up to apply the brake hard and attempt to avoid the vehicle coming into his space. In the ensuing seconds the Escort skidded sideways onto the grassy area of the highway, rolled twice and came to rest on its wheels.

Garcia had done everything right, including being buckled in with both lap and shoulder harness. However, the car he was driving let him down. The roof buckled at the driver’s side ‘A’ pillar, crushing down onto Garcia’s head. His discharge diagnosis was C-4 quadriparesis secondary to C-5 on C-6 subluxation.

The foregoing is a medical term. The reality is that Garcia has no feeling below his neck. He cannot wash himself, feed himself, or brush his own teeth.

That Garcia persevered, and attained his PHD is a testament to his tenacity. But his challenge is also demonstrative at the failing of vehicle manufacturers to build safe vehicles that are capable of withstanding all types of accidents. And it matters not if you have airbags front, side and rear in an effort to protect occupants from front, side and rear-impact collisions—or seat belts which properly restrain driver and passengers in the vehicle. All that is wasted, if a vehicle flips over onto its roof, and the ‘A’ pillar gives way.

More Than Just Auto Accident Statistics

Statistics are statistics. But they also have names, like Luis and David. Claudette, and Patrick and Michelle. Their lives changed forever due to a manufacturers’ inability to improve the strength, and safety of the vehicle roof.

Someone needs to be held accountable for that.

A Philadelphia Auto Accident Attorney Can Help

When you need a lawyer who will exhaustively investigate your case and make sure that every responsible party is held accountable, contact The Killino Firm, where Keeping America Safe is our primary goal. Contact a Philadelphia personal injury lawyer, or call us toll free at 800-815-2603 to speak to one of our attorneys. We will respond promptly to your inquiry so that you can experience The Killino Firm Difference.