Life Almost Lost: How A Hard-Working Father Fought To Survive

The Accident

August 29, 2012 is a date that Lindsey Beek will never forget and a day that Dustin Vogelsong will never remember.

Dustin and Lindsey had been dating for 13 years and relishing their new-found roles as parents to a one-month old baby girl when an accident changed their lives forever. On that fateful August morning, Dustin was traveling westbound on Buckskin Road in rural Hicksville, Ohio when his truck was struck by the driver of another truck that failed to yield at a stop sign.Dustin’s vehicle was so heavily damaged that the jaws of life were needed to remove him from the wreckage before he was taken by ambulance to Parkview Regional Medical Center in Fort Wayne, Indiana. 

 

The Injuries

Upon arrival to the hospital, he was rushed to the intensive care unit and a breathing tube was inserted into his throat since severe swelling in his neck and larynx made it impossible for him to breathe on his own. He had extensive blood loss from the wounds on his face and scalp and it was clear by the deformity in his leg that Dustin had sustained severe fractures to his right ankle and tibia/fibula.Dustin also suffered from a severe traumatic brain injury as a result of the crash and had apparent brain bleeds. His jaw was fractured in multiple places, which required surgery and the need for his jaw to be wired shut.

It is estimated on average 52,000 people in the United States die from traumatic brain injuries each year. More than 85% of TBI’s are preventable.

“All I remember is waking up and going to work, then the next thing you know, I’m in the hospital,” Dustin said.

 

Getting the Right Help

It was a week after the accident before everything sank in and the family and Lindsey rallied together and came up with a plan on what needed to be done. Part of that plan was to call Charles E. Boyk Law Offices, LLC.

“After it really sank in what happened, maybe that night or the next day, family members and people were saying, ‘You know, this is what you need to do,’” Lindsey said. “I think I waited a few days before we gathered the information of what happened, but I heard about Charles Boyk through Robert and Michelle Lucas, a good friend of my parents. She said that she really loved you guys and had a great experience and she recommended you. The only phone call I made was to you guys.”

From that point on, Boyk Law handled everything from making sure Dustin got top-notch medical care to dealing with the at-fault party’s insurance company. 

“Leah in the office pretty much took care of everything,” Lindsey said. I didn’t have to do much of anything. If I had a question something needed taken care of, they were there.”

 

The Recovery

“It took about a week after the accident for everything to even sink in,” Lindsey said. “Dustin kept asking over and over and it took a while for it really to sink in what actually happened to him.”

During his 36-day hospital stay at Parkview, Dustin underwent a battery of on-going tests, x-rays, MRIs, and exams. After neurology had determined the extent of Dustin's traumatic brain injury and the severity of the brain bleeds, he was seen by an orthopedic surgeon and immediately underwent a surgical operation to repair the deformed right tibia/fibula and right ankle fractures. After the fractures were repaired, Dustin was kept in traction for the remainder of his stay at Parkview to keep the leg and ankle stabilized.

Following his hospital stay, Dustin was moved to an inpatient rehabilitation center, where he struggled to undergo difficult exercises that tested his ability to regain strength in his right leg and ankle, as well as to re-learn simple tasks like feeding himself. The inability to complete the tasks quickly led him to become very upset and irritated with his lack of progress.

The traumatic brain injury he suffered caused amnesia, preventing him from remembering the day of the accident and those days following. He didn't fully comprehend the severity of the accident or his injuries, which made his frustrations even worse.

He was hospitalized for another six weeks since he was struggling with cognition and balance, he was non-weight bearing on his right leg, and he still had the tracheotomy tube in place. Dustin was moved via air ambulance October 4, 2012 to the University of Toledo Medical Center to complete his rehab treatment and receive top-notch care from their orthopedic department.

Even after his discharge weeks later, he was unable to put weight on his leg for three months and he required the use of a wheelchair.

The next year brought numerous procedures, including steroid injections into the right knee and ankle and two subsequent surgeries in an attempt to relieve the pain he was experiencing.

While Lindsey vigorously works to help Dustin return to the life that he once lived, his prognosis of doing so is slim to none. His cognitive problems from the brain injury and the major fractures of his right lower leg and ankle would prevent him from ever being able to work in roofing again.

Being that Dustin had been labeled as "totally unemployable," experts were able to calculate that Dustin would incur an economic loss of $1,053,234.00 over his lifetime. This amount is pale in comparison to the emotional and mental loss that Dustin has sustained and will continue to deal with for the rest of his life.

Dustin’s future and existing medical expenses totaled more than $500,000. These numbers do not factor in the 50 days that Dustin spent in the hospital in a sedative state, missing out on some of the most precious moments of his young daughter's life. The numbers never even consider the psychological damage this has caused to his personal life.

 

The Outcome

Although a lawsuit was filed in common pleas court, Boyk Law was successful in securing a confidential, out-of-court settlement without the need for a trial. Charles Boyk was the chief negotiator on Dustin’s behalf and was successful in negotiating a confidential settlement which was more than pleasing to Dustin and his family. 

In addition, Chuck was successful in negotiating with Dustin’s medical providers to significantly reduce the lien that they had on Dustin’s claim, thus significantly increasing the amount of money that the firm was able to put in Dustin’s pocket.

Dustin and Lindsey were not only happy with the outcome of the case, but also at the service that they received from Boyk Law.

“Everyone went above and beyond,” Lindsey said. “They took care of some things that I didn’t even think that they could. I would strongly recommend Charles Boyk Law Offices.”

 

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