John Cooper and Jim Hurley
A terrifying crash with a construction truck on an unmarked road in Gloucester County left a woman from Hampton, Virginia, with severe injuries that changed her life.
The woman was driving on the narrow road when the truck came into her lane and crashed into her car. The impact was so intense that her car’s engine was thrown onto her lap, causing multiple fractures and organ damage. At the age of 41, the woman suffered extensive rib fractures, liver laceration, a pelvic fracture, a fractured femur and right tibia as well as other injuries. Her symptoms also included post-traumatic stress disorder and mild traumatic brain injury.
The mother of the lady in the wreck had been a satisfied client of Jim Hurley in the past. When she contacted Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers, we realized that her daughter would need lifelong help with medical and living expenses. After getting the family’s permission, we quickly filed a lawsuit against the at-fault driver and the construction company that employed him in the Newport News Circuit Court.
Our client ended up with amnesia after the crash. Fortunately, an eyewitness in a car behind our client’s identified himself to the police and told investigators the truck came into our client’s lane. Physical evidence at the scene confirmed this fact. To preserve this key evidence we took the deposition of this eyewitness immediately.
The worker was using a company vehicle and we were able to prove that he was acting within the scope of his employment. This was an important finding because it meant we could sue the construction company. John Cooper managed to get the truck operator’s cell phone records that showed he was on the phone close to the time of the wreck. We were able to force the insurance company defense lawyers to admit liability, although they wanted to say that the road was the cause of the crash because of its curve and its narrowness.
Injury attorneys, John Cooper and Jim Hurley, were working as fast as possible getting the case ready for trial. Our client was struggling for months to function day to day and needed a walker. She initially required eight hours a day of in-home help to assist with the daily living activities she had previously taken for granted. Our staff stayed in constant touch with the client and her husband to help make sure all the treatment that was needed was given.
When the time was right, we met with the patient’s main surgeon, to get him to document the harms and losses from her injuries. An orthopedic evaluation under the American Medical Association’s guidelines found she was left with a permanent 58 percent impairment of her body. That might not mean much to the lay person, but it meant her life was severely affected by the accident. She would be suffering chronic pain that required daily medication and would have life-long restricted mobility requiring the use of a cane.
In cases like this we are always acutely aware of the potential effects of a brain injury that can permanently change the life of someone who has been involved in a car wreck. The mild traumatic brain injury claim was hotly contested by the attorneys representing the truck driver’s insurance company. Mild traumatic brain injuries can be tricky to diagnose and nobody identified it until we sent our client to see a neuropsychiatrist. Evidence of post-traumatic stress disorder was clearer to the doctors who treated our client from the outset. She frequently had nightmares about the wreck.
John and Jim had prepared the evidence for trial and showed it to non-lawyers to see how they would react to the case. These focus groups, which included a neutral presentation of the facts to two different sets of jurors, were vital to figuring out the real value of the claim. The results of the mock deliberations were videoed and were made ready to send to the attorneys for the insurance company, if needed. In significant cases that involve injuries as severe as these, it’s important to go the extra mile for a client.
We forced the insurers for the at-fault driver and company to settle for $5 million. The case took only 15 months from the time of the wreck to be successfully mediated, which is a relatively speedy resolution, given the complexity. We made sure that our client’s future needs were taken care of.
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