A tractor-trailer crashed into a group of cars that were stopped at a red light in Nassawadox on the Eastern Shore of Virginia.
A passenger in one the vehicles was hit so hard his seat was broken and his head crashed into a head rest. He was transported to a local hospital and diagnosed with a closed head injury, a cervical strain and a right shoulder contusion.
He required follow up treatment with an orthopedist for treatment of neck and shoulder injuries but suffered from ongoing headaches. He was later referred to a local neurologist who diagnosed post concussion syndromes and prescribed medication for his headaches. He experienced other symptoms that were consistent with a traumatic brain injury, including inattention, poor concentration and visual disturbance when reading. He was able to return to work as a laborer tying steel, two months after the accident. He also hired injury lawyer Jim Hurley as part of a team of attorneys.
The attorneys were able to uncover alarming evidence about the nature of the truck crash in Nassawadox including a video of the crash that was obtained from a convenience store surveillance camera.
The truck driver admitted to Virginia State Police investigators that he had fallen asleep at the wheel before the wreck. Toxicology tests uncovered a 0.57 mg/L concentration of Oxycodone in the blood of the trucker. Evidence recovered by state police from the truck’s ECM or “black box” revealed that the tractor trailer was traveling at about 64.5 mph in a 50 mph zone at the time of the impact. There was no evidence that he had applied the truck’s brakes.
Our client continued to suffer from problems months after the accident. Although his post-traumatic headaches improved five months after the crash with medication therapy, 18 months after the accident, he returned to his neurologist, complaining of headaches. The neurologist referred him to Dr. Gregory O’Shanick, a neuropsychiatrist, for a consultation. He was suffering from short-term memory issues, headaches and blurry vision when he was reading.
O’Shanick diagnosed our client with a mild traumatic brain injury from the crash, attention-deficit disorder, post-traumatic headaches, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and orbitofrontal syndrome related to the mild traumatic brain injury.
Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) technology showed our client suffered from reduced fractional anisotropy in the right occipital portion of his brain. His radiologist was prepared to testify that these findings were consistent with a contusion that was noted in the emergency room after the crash.
The case was settled at a mediation hearing before trial in the U.S. District Court, Norfolk Division, for $900,000. The sum included $14,073 in special damages for past medical and $773,250 for a life care plan.