Norfolk Motorcycle Crash Case Settles for $61,000

Norfolk Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

Norfolk Motorcycle Crash Case Settles for $61,000

It’s the time of year when I like to review some of the more interesting cases I’ve handled and assess the results.  One of my better cases this year concerned a young Navy medical corpsman.  One evening a large SUV (sport utility vehicle, in this case a Cadillac Escalade) pulled out in front of him when he was driving home on his motorcycle.  He tried to avoid a collision, but struck the rear of the Escalade.  The driver of the Escalade admitted fault at the scene and received a ticket for failure to yield right of way.

My client was immediately hospitalized.  He suffered a number of injuries, including multiple transverse fractures of the upper spinal vertebrae.  He stayed at a local Sentara Hospital for seven days.  Even after discharge, he had extreme limitations in his activities.  He ultimately made a full recovery after lots of physical therapy.

Many interesting points can be made about this case.  From the personal injury attorney’s point of view, perhaps the most significant was the issue of liability insurance coverage limits.  My client was allowed to “stack” two policies: the liability coverage from the negligent driver’s policy, and the underinsured coverage from the client’s significantly larger automobile liability policy.  Even though the client’s automobile policy was not a motorcycle policy (he had a motorcycle policy that was much smaller) he was allowed to use it under Virginia law for underinsurance purposes.

Citing Virginia Code section 38.2-2206, I first convinced the negligent driver’s insurance company to tender the limits of the entire insurance policy.  Then I approached my client’s own insurance company and pointed out that they would be responsible for attorney fees if the case went to trial, and sure enough, we got a settlement that my client was happy with.

I think this case show that even when there is clear-cut negligence accompanied by serious bodily injuries, one should always contact an attorney in order to maximize recovery.  To most people, the concepts and laws behind underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage are not familiar.  I would advise every driver to have as much liability insurance as possible and to contact a lawyer if they are injured by another’s negligence in an automobile accident.

Disclaimer: every personal injury case is different; no specific dollar value or results are guaranteed.

Attorney wins $25,000 in car accident case | Norfolk General District Court

Norfolk personal injury car accident lawyerIt has been too long since I last posted on the Norfolk Personal Injury Lawyer blog, but I have been very busy taking car accident cases to trial, settling other personal injury matters, and moving into my new office location in downtown Norfolk, right across from the new courts building.  Now that I have settled in a bit, I am pleased to report an excellent trial result yesterday in Norfolk General District Court.  I represented a young working class man, a mechanic for the military who works on large guns.

One day last April he was headed to work, leaving his home on Oceanview Avenue.  As he was slowing down to make a left turn, he felt a massive impact from behind him that pushed him forward into oncoming traffic.  He hit another vehicle head on, causing him to lurch violently inside his vehicle, a compact pickup truck, and hit his head on the window.  In addition to this head injury, my client injured his neck, left wrist, left leg and his chest, the last one probably from the tightening of his seatbelt upon impact.

At trial, we proved that a driver of a large SUV was immediately behind my client, but the judge did not find that this driver caused the accident.  Rather, she was also an innocent victim of a third driver, who negligently crashed her smaller car into the rear of the SUV with enough force that the SUV in turn struck my client’s pickup, crushing the bed of the truck like an accordion.  After causing this pile up, the third driver told my client, “I can’t stay here” before she fled the scene.  She did return to pick up her car’s bumper, which fell off due to the impact.

My client’s trusty girlfriend came to the scene and drove him to DePaul Medical Center, where triage nurses placed him in a C-collar to protect his spine from trauma.  He was dizzy and in pain.  There were cuts on his head and leg.  Hospital staff took CT scans of his head and neck.  Thankfully there was no brain injury or spinal trauma.  His chest was x-rayed and an EKG was taken of his heart.  Again, thank goodness, the young man suffered no permanent injuries to the head, neck or chest.  He and his girlfriend did get to spend the day at DePaul while he underwent various evaluations and was filled with all sorts of medicines, from strong painkillers like Morphine and Percocet to the anti-nausea drug Zofran and the muscle relaxer Flexeril.

For several weeks following the accident, my client suffered from left wrist pain.  It interfered with his job and his day-to-day life, from maintaining military hardware to driving to simply opening doors.  Everything that involved twisting the wrist caused pain.

The woman who caused the accident and fled the scene had no insurance coverage — wouldn’t you know it!  Therefore, my client was forced to name his own insurance company as a defendant in the lawsuit, and an attorney from that company defended the case.  He argued that this young man should not be entitled to much money for his pain and suffering.  He did not get any additional medical treatment and did not miss time from work.  Also, he did not use a splint for his wrist…

Whatever that means.  I argued that my client should not be penalized for toughing it out at work, and fighting through the pain so he could get his work done.  And so what if he did not get additional medical treatment?  Was the lady who caused the accident and fled the scene offering to give him a ride to the doctor?  No!  Was she in any position to say how the accident affected him?  Nope.  She was more interested in picking up her bumper that she left at the scene than she was in anyone else’s safety or quality of life.  Not to mention, the whole situation of being slammed in a multi car motor vehicle accident and taken to the ER was no day at the beach.

Guess who the judge agreed with?  See above!  We won the jurisdictional maximum of $25,000 plus 6% interest from last April.

On to the next one…

Disclaimer: case values vary depending on many factors and results are not guaranteed

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