Our Virginia personal injury client suffered facial, head and back injuries that led to chronic pain and persistent headaches when his car was hit from behind on Millville Road in Chesapeake, VA.
The rear-end collision happened after our client slowed almost to a stop to allow a group of deer to cross the road in the Deep Creek South area of the city. Although he clipped the last deer, the animal was able to bound away. Our client was not so lucky.
The driver who struck his vehicle was distracted and following too closely, which left her unable to reduce her speed at the same time as the man in front of her. The impact caused our client’s face to strike the steering wheel. His head then snapped back, and he wrenched his spine.
Emergency room doctors and nurses treated the man for facial contusions and a concussion. He experienced blurred vision for a considerable period afterward, and he also began experiencing headaches severe enough to interfere with his work as a longshoremen and ship crane operator.
Key Legal Strategy
No one questioned whether the woman driving behind our client’s car caused the rear-end collision. She would, however, have a plausible defense against compensating the injured man if she could demonstrate that the deer jumped onto the roadway without warning, creating an emergency situation to which no one could be expected to respond perfectly.
When our Virginia personal injury lawyer interviewed the at-fault driver, the woman revealed that she had not been paying full attention and failed to see the deer standing alongside the road as she and our client approached. With evidence of the woman’s distracted driving in hand, our firm’s attorney turned to proving that our client’s crash-related injuries caused him ongoing pain, suffering and partial disability.
This turned out to be difficult, as the at-fault driver’s insurance company turned up a workplace injury report and workers’ compensation claim from our client. The unrelated on-the-job injury occurred about a year before the rear-end collision and also triggered what were described as “migraines.” Further, the man underwent spinal surgery to relieve lingering symptoms from his work injury.
Our personal injury attorney called a neurologist who had treated the man and arranged to have the medical specialist, one of the best in Hampton Roads, to testify that new health problems developed following the rear-end collision. Specifically, the neurologist could show that the headaches currently afflicting our client occurred in a different region than the ones he experienced following the work injury.
Eventually, the insurance company did agree to negotiate a settlement. The at-fault driver carried $100,000 in liability coverage for bodily injuries, and the insurer settled all our client’s claims for $73,500. That amount doubled what the man had been offered before we took his case. It also allowed the injured man to replace a significant portion of the wages he lost while recovering from the crash, pay off his accumulated medical debt and reimburse his own health insurance company.
This Chesapeake rear-end collision case turned out to be quite complicated, but we are proud that we could achieve a fair outcome for the crash victim. Presenting convincing medical evidence was key, and it is something we do for each client.
Court & Date: Chesapeake Circuit Court, Chesapeake, VA, 2008
Staff: Staff attorney