Overcoming Obstacles: the Olivia Abbington Story

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My daughter, Olivia, was only 21 years old when she headed to Wrightsville Beach in North Carolina for spring break. A junior in college at Louisiana State University, she had her whole life ahead of her. Olivia loves children, and she was studying child psychology when her friends invited her on their spring break trip. 

She was only supposed to be gone for the weekend since she was so immersed in her studies, but when her mother and I didn’t hear from her Sunday night, we began to worry. We tried calling her friends several times but had been unable to reach anyone. Finally, around 2 o’clock in the morning on Monday, we got the news that Olivia and her friends had been involved in a car accident.

Olivia was driving their rented Jeep and it rolled over on their way to the beach that Sunday morning. Her three girlfriends all had broken bones and were stuck in the hospital, unable to reach anyone. Olivia’s injuries were far worse; she was in a coma and no one knew how serious her brain injury was until she woke up. 

The parts of her brain that let her speak, walk, and write had been severely compromised. The doctor’s told us that she would always need a caregiver, and that if she ever hoped to live a “normal” life again, she would need to undergo extensive physical and occupational therapy, as well as speech therapy.

In the months following the accident, we tried to figure out how the Jeep rolled over. We hired a private detective to investigate and it turned out that there was a malfunction in the steering wheel that caused the Jeep to rollover. We immediately began looking for a Baton Rouge car accident lawyer since that is where we are from, but we quickly discovered that we would need an attorney in North Carolina to hold the parts manufacturer accountable. 

We did everything we could to get justice for Olivia while she fought to regain her mobility and language expression, but during the investigation, it was discovered that Olivia was also driving 20 mph over the speed limit when the car rolled over, and in NC, if you are even remotely at-fault for an accident, you lose the opportunity to be awarded compensation.

Despite losing in court, we have much to be thankful for. It has been 2 years since the accident, and Olivia can now speak. Her brain damage has healed dramatically. After undergoing six surgeries, two brain bleeds, and physical therapy five hours every single day, Olivia can walk with the assistance of a cane. We are still working on her fine motor skills so she can regain the ability to write. She has started back up at school last semester and still dreams of working as a child psychologist. 

Almost losing a child, no matter how old they are, is one of the most terrifying experiences you can go through. Her mother and I constantly have to remind ourselves that things could have been so much worse, but every day we are amazed at her progress and vivacious outlook on life.

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