A car crash on Leesburg Pike in Virginia (VA) in April 2007 resulted in a jury award of $2.04M. The 30-year-old plaintiff, Daniel Norton, went from being a young man who enjoyed an athletic, fit lifestyle to someone in constant pain likely to last the rest of his life. A contractor for the government, Norton ran miles each morning and then bicycled miles to and from work. Now he can no longer bike or stand the jarring impact of running, even after surgery to repair several vertebrae in his back. All of this is due to another driver’s negligence, the jury found.

The 17-year-old driver of a Mercedes sports utility vehicle failed to stop for a traffic light and ran into Norton’s smaller SUV. Norton’s vehicle spun around twice from the impact; the Mercedes flipped and landed on its roof. The 17-year-old admitted liability, but the testimony of two other drivers on the scene emphasized his speed and lack of stopping ability.

Norton remains employed as a government contractor and made no claim for loss of future wages, though in some cases such earnings might have been awarded. His attorney said he was astounded at the effect the accident had on his client’s life and contrasted Norton’s life before and after the car crash: going from an active, fit life before the accident to one of limited mobility and pain after. The jury agreed.