A 19-year-old highway worker was putting down cones out of a construction company vehicle on the I-264 in Norfolk in the early hours of the morning, when a drunk driver suddenly and unexpectedly veered around the traffic cones and a police cruiser with flashing blue lights and crashed into the back of the highway work crew’s flatbed truck.
The young man was sitting on the edge of the truck with his legs dangling over the edge with a co-worker, when he was hit by the car at a high speed. The impact was so severe, he subsequently ended up losing both of his legs at the hospital. One leg was amputated above the knee and the other below the knee. One amputation is tough but two was a terrible injury to recover from.
Our client faced an uphill battle in rebuilding his life. His mother gave up her job to care for him and he learned to walk again over a period of months with the help of prosthetic legs and crutches. The severely hurt man sought a lawyer to file a lawsuit against the insurance policy of the drunk driver who was later convicted of a DUI. The young man and his family decided they wanted a law firm that concentrated on personal injury work, so he took on Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers.
A personal injury case was filed by John Cooper in Norfolk Circuit Court and a workers’ compensation claim was pursued with the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission through co-counsel selected by Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers. The workers’ compensation system is good in that it guarantees some payment when Virginia workers get hurt on the job for a limited amount of lost wages and future medical bills. The problem is that it does not fully and fairly compensate people with injuries as great as those in this case as they get nothing for pain and suffering and other real harms and losses.
The loss of this young man’s legs greatly decreased his potential to earn income. His lawyers hired a number of experts including a life care planner, an economist and an expert in physical medicine and rehabilitation to make a powerful case for compensation for his serious injuries. We also met with the key doctors of the patient to be sure we fully understood his medical and vocational situation.
Our client learned to walk again on artificial limbs. The double amputee never gave up on life. He also took up sports such as running and basketball, joining other men with handicaps. A desire to better himself led our client to enroll in a college course just over two years after the accident. Despite his upbeat attitude, his challenges meant he required money to purchase equipment to help make his home more handicap accessible and keep some quality of life. The man learned to drive without real legs, using an adapted vehicle.
The lawyers at Cooper Hurley convinced the insurers for the at-fault driver to pay $936,775, all of the available insurance including under-insured motorist insurance for the drunk driver’s actions. Our client was separately awarded an additional $1,930,000 in his workers’ compensation claim, making a total of about $2.86 million. The workers’ compensation amount was reached after a mediation with his past employer’s insurer and was approved by the Workers’ Compensation Commission after presentation of information about the client’s future medical needs.
We were happy to get this client’s life back on track and to fight for him when he needed help most. Attorney John Cooper praised the young man’s “resilience and positive outlook” as an inspiration to others. The funds made available to the client should ensure good financial security to take care of his own needs for the rest of his life.