Betty Botta was involved in a car accident in Boynton Beach, Florida this morning. The accident has left her with serious injuries that include the loss of an arm. According to police, Botta was a passenger in a vehicle which rear ended an FPL truck. It is being reported that Botta’s arm has been amputated above the elbow. The name of the person driving the vehicle Botta was traveling in has not been released.
Betty Botta’s injuries are exacerbated by the fact that she is 86 years old. Given her elderly age, Botta’s ability to heal normally and fight infection may play a substantial role in how any legal action taken on her behalf.
As an injury lawyer, my perspective focuses on liability and injuries. As a passenger , I am sure Botta played no role in causing the accident. Therefore, liability will likely be assessed on one or both of the two drivers, depending on how the car accident unfolded.
If Betty is anything like anyone else’s grandma that I know, odds are she was wearing a seat belt. If she wasn’t, the lack of a seat belt may be the only angle a defense lawyer may use to claim assess partial liability on Botta. However, even if this were to occur, Botta’s potential failure to wear a seat belt would not account for the totality of causes that led to her injuries, especially since such a failure would in no way cause or contribute to the accident.
Regardless, the ultimate analysis in this case will likely rest on a review of her injuries. While the loss of a limb is an extremely serious matter for any person, it is exponentially worse when you are 86 years old. Moreover, Botta’s injuries may not end there.
Unlike a young person, Botta will not heal normally. Because she is elderly, her body’s ability to repair itself, close wounds, and fight infection is compromised. In fact, it is not uncommon for elderly people to survive accidents like these but suffer even worse injuries from hospital born infections, bed sores, and even nursing neglect. Not to mention her inability to feed herself, bathe, use a the toilet, dress herself, and get into and out of bed.
If you have ever had occasion to care for an elderly person, like I have, you already know how disruptive hospitalizations and surgery can be. The elderly are extremely slow to recover and are very susceptible to becoming incapacitated permanently when suffering through surgery and hospitalization. Unofrtunately, car accidents like these and the aftermath they cause can sometimes cause an elderly person to lose their independence.
Elderly people are fragile and simply do not recover from car accidents like the young.
For that reason, Betty Botta’s family needs to hire a team of injury lawyers that really know what they are doing and who have experience litigating car accident cases that concern elderly victims.
For instance, an injury lawyer in a case like this one needs to pay close attention to assessing the extent of injury. While most lawyers would be quick to settle a case like this based simply on Botta’s amputation, it is necessary to also evaluate the likelihood that Botta’s injuries may worsen due to her age.
She may need extensive hospitalization, rehabilitation, long term care, and therapy. Not to mention home health care equipment, such as handles throughout the house, elderly toilet seats, a stand in tub, a wheel chair, etc.
Given these circumstances, Botta’s injury lawyer will need to coordinate closely with her doctors and health care providers. If this case leaves Botta bed ridden or in need of long term care, then monetary compensation for those expenses should be pursued in any lawsuit that may be filed on her behalf or in any settlement agreement entered into with an insurance company or other liable party.
Unfortunately, when most people hear the words “car accident” and “injury lawyer” in the same sentence they also think of all the frivolity that has gone on in our court system. But the truth of the matter is that Betty Botta’s case presents a very real legal problem that surrounds money and her practical need for help.
Unlike a young person, learning how to function with one arm at 86 is very difficult, if not impossible. For those who have never had the experience of caring for an elderly person, you need to realize that elderly people need two arms to balance, to hold onto things when getting up, to hold onto things when sitting down, when stepping into a bath tub or shower, when getting into and out of bed, when using a toilet, dressing themselves, and when doing most of all the daily tasks that we young people take for granted.
In fact, many tasks call for the use of one hand while the other is holding on to a stable object for balance, such as when cleaning oneself after using a toilet.
Given her age, Botta is in no position to learn how to live a one-armed life. That is a task for a young person.
For this reason, I must emphasize, re-emphasize, and over-emphasize the importance of hiring an injury lawyer who understands car accident litigation that involves the elderly and the implications that geriatric medicine plays in a case like this one.
In other words, Botta’s case is anything other than a routine car accident.
I hope Betty Botta has as speedy a recovery as possible and that this car accident really ends up being nothing more than a bump in the road for her.