A tow truck driver from Portsmouth, Virginia was working on the 1-664 Monitor Merrimac Memorial Bridge-Tunnel (MMMBT) between Suffolk and Newport News when he was involved in a wreck.
While he was helping a broken down motorist on the bridge, his vehicle was hit by another car as he tried to secure a tow. He sustained serious injuries.
The at-fault driver was given a breath test by police and was found to have a blood/alcohol content that was twice the legal limit to drive.
The impact of the crash was so severe our client suffered a displaced fracture of the clavicle, a concussion, a broken ankle bone, and injuries to his knee.
The tow truck driver was left in a state of delirium at the accident scene. He remained dazed and confused for some time after the wreck. He was later diagnosed with a mild traumatic brain injury, also called a concussion. In the days after the accident, he was confined to a wheelchair. He was no longer able to work as a tow truck operator or to do tasks like playing with his children.
John Cooper and Jim Hurley of Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers filed a claim against the DUI driver’s insurance company at Newport News Circuit Court. They made a case to support the evidence that our client had suffered from a mild traumatic brain injury in the crash.
Lawyers acting for the DUI driver’s insurance company claimed our client had post-traumatic stress disorder but had not suffered a traumatic brain injury.
Brain injuries are some of the most serious injuries that can occur after a wreck and a mild traumatic brain injury can also cause long-lasting effects. At the time of settlement, our client was continuing to face a daily struggle to live a normal life, even though he was out of a wheelchair.
A mediation hearing was held two months before the trial date when our client was awarded $895,000. The settlement was limited by the amount of insurance that was available.
This case serves as a reminder about how drunk drivers can ruin lives and cause permanent injuries. It also highlights the dangers that tow truck drivers face on a daily basis in Virginia.
Virginia’s “move over” law that was enacted to protect police, fire and paramedics by the roadside also applies to tow truck drivers. If you see a flashing blue or orange light by the side of the highway, you should move over a lane or, if it’s not safe to do so, reduce your speed.