Our client, a dental hygienist and mother of two, was involved in a serious collision with a commercial tractor / 18-wheeler in March of 2018. The operator of the tractor-trailer negligently changed lanes on Route U.S. 58 Eastbound in Suffolk, Virginia when the road was heavily congested. Our client was headed to work when the tractor trailer operator failed to properly check their mirrors prior to making the lane change. As a result, they clipped the rear end of our client's vehicle which caused them to hit the median barrier and ultimatley propelled our client into a water-filled ditch on the side of the road.
Bystanders stopped their vehicles and jumped into the water to help extract our client from her vehicle as she was distraught and in a daze. First responders arrived at the scene within minutes. Our client was rushed to the emergency room for treatment of her injuries and medical evaluation. Our client was discharged that same day with orders to follow-up with her primary care physician and physical therapy. After about three months of physical therapy, our client was discharged as having reached maximum medical improvement.
Common Insurance Company Trick
Prior to retaining the legal services of truck accident lawyer Eric K. Washburn, the insurance company attempted to convince our client to accept a settlement of only $20,000.
Taking Aggressive Legal Action to Hold the Tractor Trailer Operator Accountable
After our client wisely rejected the lowball settlement offer from the insurance company, she reached out to Mr. Washburn and quickly retained his services and resources.
From the beginning, Washburn prepared this matter for trial as the tractor trailer driver and company disputed liability and the cause of the crash. This prompted the Shapiro Appleton & Washburn legal team to secure the identities of a handful of eyewitnesses who were there when the crash occurred. Specifically, Washburn's legal team filed multiple FOIA requests to secure First Responder records. The records included body camera footage from the investigating police officer. This footage produced a great deal of information that was not present in the written reports from the investigation. In addition, it gave the viewer an actual first hand account of what it was like to be there at the scene and to see how the client was injured and out of it. The footage showed the magnitude of the damage done to the client’s vehicle.
It was this evidence/footage that truly put the insurance company in a corner and to increase its settlement offer. Attorney Eric K. Washburn always requests this type of video footage, when available. Washburn knew, based on his years of experience handling personal injury cases, that the written police reports generated in a motor vehicle crash routinely only tell half the story.
Court: Norfolk Circuit Court
Attorney: Eric K. Washburn
Paralegal: H. Gomez