Case Description:A Virginia Beach, VA college student suffered a connective tissue injury when the car in which she was riding was struck by a drunk driver.
What Happened: Our client was a college student in her early 20s. She was a passenger in a car that was struck by a drunk driver in Virginia Beach. The at-fault driver was given a blood alcohol content test by the police and registered a BAC, of 0.17. That is more than double the legal limit of 0.08 for intoxication in Virginia, and it also exceeds the statuatory BAC of 0.15 for evidence that triggers an automatic case for claiming punitive damages from a DUI driver who has injured or killed someone while driving under the influence of alcohol. Our client suffered connective tissue injuries to her spine that were treated by family doctors, an orthopaedist and physical therapists. Luckily, she had made a fairly good recovery. Her medical bills were approximately $3,000.
Key Legal Strategy: The insurance company was not offering fair compensation for the injury, especially given the aggravated liability of the drunk driver. We moved the case toward trial and retained an expert toxicologist to prove how the at-fault driver's level of intoxication impairs a (drunk) driver of a vehicle. Ultimately, the insurance company was forced to honor its obligation, and a favorable settlement was reached.
The Result: The injured woman received a cash settlement of $19,000, which the at-fault driver's insurance company agreed to before the case went to trial.
Court and Date: Virginia Beach Circuit Court, VA, May 2005
Staff: John C., Personal Injury Attorney; Theresa L. Martin, Paralegal; Vera VanOverstraeten, Legal Assistant