Case Description: A Norfolk, VA, school teacher using a crosswalk to get across a street suffered a fractured heel and broken lower leg bone when he was struck by a distracted driver
Firm Attorney and Staff: Richard N. Shapiro, Atorney; Roz Hughes, Paralegal; Meg Cudden, Legal Assistant
Court/Date: Norfolk Virginia/2008
Click the links below for even more information on crosswalk injuries:
- Important to Know: Virginia Pedestrian Laws
- Virginia Injury Lawyers Discuss Pedestrian Cross Walk Injuries
- Virginia Pedestrians Injured in Crosswalks
What Happened: Our client was a Norfolk, Virginia (VA), public school teacher who was crossing a two-lane road near an intersection with a Norfolk highway when he was hit by a 2005 Dodge Magnum. The driver of the car told the police that he had looked down and only saw our client when he looked up, which did not give him enough time to avoid the accident. Our client was taken to a local emergency room with cuts to both arms and complaining of left foot and left knee pain. He was placed in a leg cast for his left ankle, given crutches, and told to follow up with his doctor.
When our client followed up with his own doctor, he was experiencing swelling and bruising around his ankle. He was eventually diagnosed with a distal fibula fracture before he saw an orthopedic surgeon in Virginia Beach, VA. The surgeon eventually diagnosed a left calcaneal fracture. The calcaneus, or heel, had a displaced fracture. A CT scan was ordered, and that revealed multiple bone fragments and problems at the posterior subtalar joint. The fracture was comminuted and malaligned.
In the midst of his medical care, our client relocated from Virginia to California (CA) to take another teaching job and had to have follow-up care with a new orthopedic surgeon. Corrective surgery was performed on his ankle in California, and our client underwent substantial physical therapy and was forced to wear an orthopedic boot.
Ultimately, our client's medical expenses totaled $40,000, and he lost significant wages from his teaching position while receiving treatment and participating in physical therapy sessions.
Key Legal Strategy: This case was pending in Virginia, so we analyzed VA law pertaining to pedestrians and crosswalks. We were prepared to show the insurance company that the right of way was in favor of the pedestrian and that the at-fault had driver failed to keep a proper lookout.
During settlement negotiatons, we provided a careful history of digital photographs of our client’s injuries, including the appearance of his ankle after the corrective surgery. This impressed the insurance adjusters. We also obtained verification of all our client's wage loses and presente this calculation to the insurance company's representatives.
After outlining all of this, we obtained the maximum payout allowable under the at-fault driver's insurance policy limits.
Outcome: The total insurance coverage available was only $100,000. Two insurance companies combined to pay the settlement.
Postscript: When ths case settled, my client reminded me that the first personal injury lawyer he contacted turned down the case because the other lawyer didn't think our client had a case. Stunning, but true.