Our Virginia car accident clients, JS and DD, suffered leg fractures when a driver hit them as they crossed a street at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront. Both of the injured pedestrians were in a crosswalk at the intersection of Atlantic Avenue and 23rd Street when the collision happened.
Following the crash at 9:10 pm on July 30, 2004, both of the car crash victims needed surgery to repair fractures to the tibia and fibula in their right legs. JS experienced no complications, but DD had the main piece of hardware inserted into his leg work lose. This resulted in him returning to the hospital for revision surgery and treatment for soft tissue damage and possible infections.
Key Legal Strategy
Neither JS nor DD lived in Virginia Beach, but they filed personal injury lawsuits against the driver who hit and injured them in that city. Our car accident victims’ law firm is also located in the resort city.
Our personal injury lawyer knew he could have a strong case to make for the driver being responsible for causing the crash because Virginia law grants right of way to pedestrians who use crosswalks to cross streets with posted speed limits of 35 mph or lower. Both of those conditions existed when and where the driver struck JS and DD.
A significant potential complication did present itself, however. The driver and both pedestrians had blood alcohol concentrations above the legal limit of .08. While the driver’s insurance company could not deny liability for its drunk driving policyholder, the insurer could argue before a judge and jury that JS and DD contributed to causing their own injuries by being legally drunk in public.
Our Virginia personal injury lawyer eliminated this difficulty by agreeing that no mention of the driver’s alcohol use would be made during insurance settlement negotiations or at a possible civil trial. This stipulation convinced the insurer to also avoid pressing any contributory negligence claims. The positive result for the insurer was that it would not be sued for punitive damages.
Recognizing that the evidence for their policyholder’s fault in hitting and hurting the pedestrians was otherwise indisputable, the insurance company initiated mediation proceedings to keep the case out of court. That alternative dispute resolution process resulted in DD receiving $455,000 and JS receiving $90,000.
We noted the date of this serious pedestrian accident above because we also note below that our injured clients finally reach an insurance settlement three years after going to the hospital with broken legs. Every car crash case presents unique challenges for victims and their Virginia personal injury lawyers. We work hard for however long it takes to achieve the best outcome for each client we represent.
Court and Date: Virginia Beach Circuit Court, Virginia Beach, VA, May 2007
Staff: Staff attorney