It was dusk in Norfolk, Virginia (VA), when our client - a retired school administrator - entered a marked crosswalk on Colley Avenue, to go pick up pizza at a nearby pizza parlor. The crosswalk was near the intersection of Spotswood Avenue. A car came barreling down Spotswood Avenue and made a left turn onto Colley approaching the crosswalk. For reasons that were never fully understood, the driver of the car never saw our client, even though he was crossing Colley Avenue in the marked pedestrian crosswalk. The car driver struck our client immediately knocking him to the ground before the driver stopped. Rescue squad personnel was called to tend to our injured client.
He was transported to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital for emergency care before he was admitted and diagnosed with closed intra-articular fracture of the distal end of his right radius (right forearm), as well as a closed displaced fracture of the styloid process of his right
ulna (also the forearm bone) and was admitted for care. These injuries required two different surgeries, one with K‑wires and then another relating to the ulna, ultimately involving K‑wires, screws and plates. (See attached graphical image).
Just as painful, he suffered a fracture of his tibial plateau which is the top of your lower leg just below the knee joint. When the tibial plateau is fractured, it destabilizes the entire knee and must be restabilized through one of various methods. Our client's surgeon chose to use a medical device called a synthes variable angle LCP which is a fancy medical device used along with screws to stabilize the upper portion of the tibial plateau. (See graphic images).
The leg surgery was successful but a client undergoing this procedure cannot walk for some period of time plus the client was not able to use his forearm because of the surgeries to the ulna and radius. Eventually he was discharged from the hospital but was simply transferred to inpatient rehabilitation hospital very close to Sentara Norfolk General. Over a period of weeks he received therapy in order to begin to walk again and to be able to use his forearm also.
After finally being released from the rehabilitation Hospital, the client had incurred in the vicinity of $125,000.00 in related medical expense.
KEY LEGAL STRATEGY
Once our team of Norfolk crosswalk accident lawyers realized the significance of the impairment and how long our client would undergo rehabilitation, we began looking for all the available insurance coverage. We determined that the other driver had a $300,000.00 motor vehicle insurance policy and did not have any umbrella coverage.
We then determined our client had an umbrella insurance policy in the amount of $1,000,000.00 with his Virginia car insurance company. However, many Virginia umbrella insurance policies will not provide uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage that could have provided more insurance money for this type of crosswalk accident personal injury case. In fact, the umbrella policies will supply up to $1,000,000.00 of coverage if our own client was the negligent party and was responsible for causing someone else's injuries, but in a case where our client was free of fault, and was looking for additional insurance over the other driver's insurance, the umbrella policy does not provide any underinsured motorist coverage. This is a topic that I have written on numerous times to alert persons that their umbrella policies will not supply underinsured motorist coverage.
Related Umbrella Policies & Uninsured Motorists Content:
Ultimately, we advised our client to accept the full amount of car insurance available from the other driver's insurance company because we were concerned about issues of whether the other insurance company would claim that our client could have contributed to his injury by failing to see the car coming towards him as he was in the crosswalk. Certainly, anyone inside a marked crosswalk has the benefit of the doubt, but in Virginia, and other states, even a pedestrian must keep a proper lookout inside a crosswalk. Because of concerns about contributory fault arguments by the other side, we advised our client to accept the available insurance coverage rather than filing suit and seeking to pursue personal liability against the other driver in excess of the available insurance coverage limits.