Survivor or Caregiver
TBI One Love Survivor Steven Benvenisti
ello, my name is Steven Benvenisti, I will never forget how my life changed dramatically on March 20th of 1989 Six (6) weeks prior to my graduation from college with high honors! Below will be a summary of my story.
What took place is, Steven was enjoying Spring Break with his fraternity brothers when a drunk driver’s vehicle crashed into his body, crushing his legs, with his face smashing through the outside windshield and his body being thrown 70 feet. His catastrophic injuries included: Severe Traumatic Brain Injuries, comatose for 10 days at the lowest Glasgow Coma Scale of 3, crushed lower legs, fractured clavicle, significant loss of blood requiring transfusions, and open flesh wounds necessitating emergency skin grafting, etc. His family was asked permission to consent to organ donation because his severe brain damage, brain bleeding and swelling, meant survival was not likely.
His relatives and friends prayed for him to awake from being in the deepest possible coma. His immediate family purchased a room in the hospital so that they could talk and play recordings to him while comatose in the hopes of stimulating consciousness. After 10 days, everyone thought their prayers were answered when Steven showed signs of consciousness and began to awake from the coma. Weeks after fully awakening from the coma, due to the severe brain damage, Steven lost his ability to comprehend reading, had serious long and short term memory deficits, other cognitive problems, and was unable to walk. The condition was considered permanent based on historical data regarding survivors with similar catastrophic brain and orthopedic injuries. Steven was devastated that his life and future had been stolen from him due to a drunk driver. Steven promised that if he was able to achieve a full recovery, in spite of the prognosis that it wasn’t possible, that he would spend the rest of his life doing everything he could to help those dealing with brain injury and end drunk driving.
After 5 months of in-patient hospitalization, 15 major surgeries, intense physical, speech, occupational and cognitive therapy, family support, and hard work, Steven was blessed with a full recovery from his physical and brain injuries. He attended law school and passed the Bar Exams on the first taking. His Bar Exam scores were high enough to allow him waive into other state jurisdictions without taking that state’s Bar Exam. Steven became an attorney and Partner at Davis, Saperstein & Salomon, P.C. For the past seven years, Steven has been included on the list of the National Trial Lawyers “Top 100 Trial Lawyers” and is of the 3% of the lawyers in Certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a Civil Trial Attorney. His law practice has been devoted to representing personal injury victims of car crashes, falls, including drunk driving victims, and those who sustained a T.B.I.
In support of the promise he made upon achieving a full recovery, approximately 30 times per year, Steven presents a program to students, which has successfully curtailed drunk driving at their schools. Students are given a keychain and asked to take the “Pledge” to never drink and drive. Steven also serve as a keynote and motivational speaker at medical, legal, law enforcement, and education conferences throughout the United States and Europe sharing his story of his full recovery and thanking those professionals for their commitment to their patients. 100% of the honorariums Steven receives for these programs, which exceed hundreds of thousands of dollars, have been waived and donated directly to worthy charities.
Steven has been honored with many awards including: Citizen of the Year, Businessman of the Year, a US Certificate of Special Congressional Resolution, US Senate Proclamation, Super Lawyers, Brain Injury Excellence Award, Public Safety Award, Annual Law Enforcement Award, Who’s Who Among Attorneys in the US, etc.
Thank you for letting us join this helpful family. My support team, colleagues and I commendyou on your efforts to positively impact the lives of individuals and families dealing with brain injury!