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Shapiro & Appleton

$600,000 Settlement for Victim of Truck Crash in Norfolk

What Happened:

Our client was operating her motor vehicle on a four-lane road (two lanes each way) divided by a grassy, open median in Norfolk, Virginia. On November 16, 2000,a motorist crossed through a median opening and struck the rear left of our client's vehicle, sending it into a free spin through the grassy median where our client's vehicle was hit head-on by an 18-wheeler tractor traveling in the oncoming direction.

The rescue squad found our client unconscious with multiple trauma, and she was air-lifted while still in a coma to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital for emergency surgeries. Her vehicle was smashed and nearly unrecognizable, and at the hospital she remained in a coma for approximately three weeks, had no movement of her left side, and a multiple number of traumatic injuries.

Miraculously, our client awoke three weeks later from her coma, was able to speak with difficulty, but was left with a brain injury. Eventually after several surgeries, she had restored use of her left leg but no further movement of the left arm. Our client was referred to neuropsychiatrist Michael Stutts of EVMS who evaluated her with traumatic brain injury and some memory loss.

She will need significant physical therapy over her lifetime and future surgeries to obtain more usefulness for her left extremity, which has no movement and no feeling. On the date of accident, she was employed full-time as an administrative assistant. She was totally and permanently disabled by the wreck and incurred over $200,000 in past medical expenses and untold future expenses. The negligent motorist fled the scene of the accident but later turned himself in and was charged with felony hit and run.

Legal Strategy:

The insurer offered his $25,000 policy limits. Our firm retained an accident reconstruction exper. We also got our client evaluated to determine if they suffered neuro-psychiatric deficits caused by brain injuries. Counsel pursued underinsured motorist insurance coverage from the insurer for the vehicle that our client was operating and also pursued underinsured motorist coverage from the insurer covering G.C.'s own family automobile.

Staff: Richard N. Shapiro, Attorney Charles Cunningham, Investigator Jackie Tilton, paralegal Mary Wareing, legal assistant

Counsel settled with the motorist's insurer, and then with two additional underinsurance carriers for a total settlement of $600,000 which constituted all available insurance.

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