Our firm helped a client reached a settlement of $215,000 after suffering a concussion mild traumatic brain injury as a result of a severe car crash.
As he had done many times before, our client set out for work at approximately 7:50 a.m. on May 27, 2014. He used his usual route—in Campbell County, Virginia—traveling at about 45 miles per hour. The speed limit on this road is 55 miles per hour, but there are many twists and turns making higher speeds treacherous.
From the opposite direction, a young inexperienced driver was late to school and was going 60 plus miles per hour around the corners when her tire went off the right side of the road. She over-corrected to bring her tire back onto the road, causing her car to swerve into oncoming traffic and then flip. Our client saw the car flip in front of him and virtually brought his truck to a stop. The flipped car still violently collided with our client’s truck.
Nobody was killed in the accident, but the damage was substantial. Our client lost consciousness at some point during the collision and remembers only bits and pieces of what transpired immediately following the collision. He does not remember getting many of his injuries and had to rely on second-hand accounts for some of the details of what the wreck looked like. In addition to a myriad of physical injuries involving his shoulder and neck, our client suffered a brain injury.
One of the major considerations for damages in settlement or trial is loss of enjoyment of life. This was a factor here because our client could not carry on his side business the same way as before and could not perform some common tasks. He had to pay significant medical expenses that included therapy for the head injuries. Fortunately, he recovered fairly well and has been able to resume most of his pre-accident activities with some modifications.
With many physical injuries, the amount of necessary therapy visits may be reasonably predictable. Conversely, with neurological rehabilitation there is no obvious or predictable end point.
After making a demand, the insurance company offered $20,000 to settle this case denying that our client had a brain injury. Our client rejected the offer and Brandon pushed forward for a jury trial. As trial approached and everyone’s positions were clearly entrenched, the insurance company increased their offer to $80,000. Our client rightfully rejected it and Brandon wrote a letter reiterating our demand for policy limits. The insurance company responded with an increased offer of$100,000. Our client rightfully rejected that offer too and Brandon sent another letter extending our demand for policy limits.
Right before the defendant’s expert designations were due, Brandon received a phone call from opposing counsel offering $200,000, nearly double the last offer. At this point, we had not budged from our policy limit demand of $250,000.
The insurance company hired doctors to say that our client did not have a brain injury at all. They wrote reports that were filed with the court and claimed that only $10,000 of our client’s medical expenses were caused by the car wreck. They claimed that our client did not lose consciousness and that he did not suffer a concussion. They claimed that the abnormalities on his neuropsychological testing were caused by pre-existing cognitive conditions.
The defendant’s policy limits were $250,000 and we were about to spend in excess of $25,000 to pay our experts to come to trial, so the client authorized us to reduce our demand to $235,000.
In the end, our client obtained a settlement of $215,000 because of our firm’s help. While liability was clear, the policy limits were an issue in this case. In order to try the case our client would have to incur at least $25,000 in cost at trial. In an effort to avoid, incurring those litigation costs and ensure a jury would not agree with the insurance company doctors, our client decided to settle his case about a month before trial.