THE FOLLOWING CASE SUMMARIES DIRECT YOU TO ARTICLE SUMMARIES FROM A VARIETY OF PUBLICATIONS. THE RESULTS DESCRIBED IN EACH CASE OR CASE SUMMARY CONTAINED BELOW DEPEND UPON A VARIETY OF FACTORS UNIQUE TO EACH CASE. CASE RESULTS DO NOT GUARANTEE OR PREDICT A SIMILAR RESULT IN ANY FUTURE CASE UNDERTAKEN BY THE ATTORNEYS OF BECKER, KELLOGG & BERRY, P.C.
Workers' Compensation Case Summaries:
Severely injured worker in Fairfax County, Virginia receives large lump sum settlement and yearly annuity valued at an amount greater than $1,000,000
On December 31, 2005, claimant, a nurse, injured her back lifting a heavy patient. Claimant underwent a lumbar surgery. Subsequently, she had difficulty voiding her bladder. After presentation to the emergency room complaining of same, another surgery was performed to evacuate hematomas on her spine. The hematomas left her permanently disabled. Her diagnoses were cauda equina syndrome, failed back and neurogenic bladder.
Claimant subsequently developed avascular necrosis of the right knee. This condition was determined to be caused by use of steroid therapy for treatment of her back. The carrier denied the causal relationship and further asserted the majority of the steroid therapy was prescribed by a provider previously determined to be an unauthorized provider by the Commission. The avascular necrosis could only be treated by undergoing a total knee replacement. Considering the immediate need for this procedure, the denial of coverage by the carrier, the risks of litigation and time frame under which a final ruling on this issue could be anticipated, the parties engaged in mediation, which resulted in settlement.
Based on claimant's life expectancy, the total settlement, including up-front payment and the annuity, is valued at $1,700,000.
Injured worker recovers $250,000 after suffering two separate injuries working for the same employer in Virginia Beach, Virginia
On May 5, 2010, claimant injured his back at work. He received treatment, but improved, and returned to work at the pre-injury employer. Later, on December 28, 2010, claimant injured his back again at work, which necessitated surgery. He remained out of work since that time. After May, 2012, the insurance carrier took the position no claim was ever filed with the Commission as to the May 5, 2010 accident, and therefore, the statute of limitations had not been preserved and ceased his benefits. He engaged our firm. We assisted in filing claims on his behalf for both accidents and found an Award agreement that had been executed by the parties relating to the first, but never entered by the Commission, which we believed to be a "claim" for purposes of protecting the statute. After the Award agreement was found, the parties agreed to resolve both claims for $250,000.
Injured worker recovers $175,000 in work-related accident in Fairfax County, Virginia
On June 28, 2010, claimant lost his thumb while using a shaper for his company. Emergency surgery was performed to re-attach the thumb, but unfortunately, the tissue would not re-attach. Claimant was referred to a prosthetic doctor to evaluate his future prosthetic care. He also underwent a functional capacities evaluation and subsequently returned to work in a light duty capacity. Based on future prosthetic needs, partial wage loss and permanent loss of use, the parties resolved the case for $175,000.
Injured worker recovers $100,000 plus coverage of back surgery in work-related accident in Fredericksburg, Virginia
On February 2, 2010, claimant injured his back shoveling a pile of snow for his company. Claimant was diagnosed with a lower spine disc herniation, and surgery was recommended. Claimant was unable to work pending surgery. The treating physician, a neurosurgeon, provided a strong report on behalf of claimant, supporting the need for surgery and restriction from all work. A week before the hearing, the parties reached an agreement whereby claimant would receive a lump sum of $100,000 as well as coverage of the surgery recommended by his treating physician.
Injured worker recovers $100,000 in work-related accident in Fairfax County, Virginia
On August 4, 2010, claimant injured his back while attempting to remove a heavy mirror from a wall. Claimant was diagnosed with multiple lower spine disc protrusions. Surgery was not recommended, however, claimant required medications and physical therapy. He also underwent work hardening and continued to seek employment while on restricted duty. Days before the hearing, the parties agreed to resolve the case by paying claimant a lump sum of $100,000, as well as cover any outstanding medical treatment through the date of settlement approval.
Other Personal Injury Case Results
PLAINTIFF DRIVER RECOVERS FOR NECK SURGERIES IN REAR END AUTO ACCIDENT AGAINST COMMERCIAL DRIVER
On 6/29/05, Plaintiff was rear ended in her SUV by a 1995 Chevy S-10 truck that was driven by an employee of an HVAC company. Plaintiff’s vehicle was pushed into another vehicle. There was moderate damage to Plaintiff’s vehicle and severe damage to the front of Defendant’s vehicle. Plaintiff went to her primary doctor several days later, treated with a chiropractor, orthopedist and physiatrist. Plaintiff had a neck surgery in March 2006 due to an MRI finding of a significant disc herniation at C5-6. The surgery failed and a second neck surgery was performed in February 2008 due to an MRI finding of a broad-based disc protrusion at C4-5. A plate and screws were inserted in her neck and the vertebrae were fused together. Plaintiff had $93,500 in total medical bills and $12,000 in lost wages. Plaintiff’s neck surgeon issued a 35% permanent impairment rating due to Plaintiff’s on-going pain, the need to wear lidocaine pain patches, limited range of motion, keloid scar and other limitations.
DECEASED DRIVER'S ESTATE RECOVERS $350,000 IN REAR END AUTO ACCIDENT IN FAIRFAX COUNTY, VIRGINIA
On 5/29/08, Plaintiff was rear ended by a dump truck while stopped in traffic in his pick-up truck in Fairfax County. Plaintiff complained of lower back pain when he arrived at his doctor's office several days later. Over the next several months, Plaintiff returned to his doctor with continued low back complaints. Plaintiff had an MRI in August 2008 that revealed a small central disc extrusion at L4-5 in his low back and was prescribed physical therapy that he underwent through December 2008. Over the next couple of years, Plaintiff had continuing low back complaints and a second MRI in February 2010 revealed a worsening disc extrusion at L4-5 and a new small central disc herniation at L5-S1. The decision was made to have back surgery based upon this second MRI and Plaintiff underwent a left L4-5 TLIF ((transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion) using a Globus cage and Medtronic Sextant screws, and was discharged from the hospital on 3/27/11. Tragically, Plaintiff died from a pulmonary embolism on 4/3/11. Plaintiff had no dependents and was single. Plaintiff's estate filed a wrongful death and survivorship lawsuit and the case settled shortly after mediation and within three weeks of trial. Plaintiff's total medical bills were $96,000 plus funeral and other related expenses of $16,000.
INJURED PASSENGER RECOVERS POLICY LIMITS IN SINGLE VEHICLE CRASH IN FAIRFAX COUNTY, VIRGINIA
In July 2011, Plaintiff was a passenger in a car with four other people. The Defendant driver was speeding and was told to slow down but did not. Subsequently, Defendant lost control of the vehicle and ran off the road and struck a tree at a high rate of speed. Plaintiff suffered from a mild concussion, a fractured left wrist, a right elbow lacerated to the bone for which he had at least two surgeries (debridement and skin grafts), a fractured right femur (for which he had surgery), a frayed coronary artery, and neck pain. Plaintiff saw multiple specialists and physical therapy. He was in the hospital for many days, had a cast on his arm and leg and required use of crutches and a wheel chair, among other things. He has permanent scarring and limitations.
INJURED DRIVER RECOVERS POLICY LIMITS FROM T-BONE COLLISION
On 3/16/08, Plaintiff was stopped at an intersection waiting to turn left in Fairfax County, Virginia when Defendant lost control of his vehicle and T-boned Plaintiff's vehicle on the driver's side. Plaintiff had to be cut out of his vehicle before being transported to the hospital, also lost consciousness after impact and awakened in the hospital. Plaintiff suffered a lacerated liver, hematuria (blood in urine), a concussion, neck and back injuries and ultimately underwent a neck surgery (posterior cervical decompression laminectomy to C3-7 with posterolateral fusion and instrumentation). Plaintiff was reliant on pain medications and a cane to walk as part of his daily life following the accident. Plaintiff incurred $125,000 in medical bills and had a lost wage claim of almost $19,000. Plaintiff was a civilian employee for the U.S. Dept. of Treasury. The case settled before trial for policy limits of $300,000.
INJURED PASSENGER PLAINTIFF RECOVERS FOR SEVERE KNEE INJURY IN T-BONE TRUCK ACCIDENT
Plaintiff Istigal Taha was a passenger in her daughter's vehicle, which was northbound on Route 1 in the Woodbridge area. Route 1 was a four-lane roadway with a center turn lane for both directions of traffic. Plaintiff's daughter was intending to turn left into a shopping center, which was 100 yards ahead. Plaintiff's vehicle drove into the center land and, as she continued toward the turn, she struck a large box truck driver by Defendant Oscar Mendoza. Defendant driver was in the course of his employment with Defendant L & M Produce at the time of the collision. He had just made a delivery on the right side of the road and had been waived through the two lanes of stopped northbound traffic so that he could turn left into the southbound lanes of traffic. As he crossed the center turn lane, he was struck by Plaintiff's vehicle.
Plaintiff alleged that defendant driver failed to yield the right-of-way and failed to properly observe traffic. Plaintiff claimed a significant knee injury which would require two knee replacements over the course of hr lifetime. She further claimed to be disabled from working in a day care, as she could no longer lift children or bend her knee.
Defendants contended that plaintiff's driver caused the accident by getting into the turn lane too soon and using it as a travel land so that she could by-pass the stopped traffic. Defendants also argued that plaintiff would only need one knee replacement over the course of her lifetime due to the new technology employed in knee replacement surgery.
AUTO ACCIDENT VICTIM RECOVERS MAXIMUM AMOUNT AVAILABLE FROM DRUNK DRIVER FOR BACK SURGERY
On 8/15/08, Plaintiff's vehicle was struck on the right rear side by Defendant, who pleaded guilty to drunk driving and had a blood alcohol content of .17, more than twice the legal limit in Virginia, for which a presumption of punitive damages applies. Plaintiff suffered herniated discs at two levels in her lower back, for which she had back surgery on 6/10/09. Plaintiff had two prior back surgeries before the accident but was in good health with no complaints on the day of this accident. Plaintiff incurred over $110,000 in medical bills. After Plaintiff's attorney filed a lawsuit for $1.5 million, the case settled for Defendant's $250,000 policy limits shortly thereafter - on 1/11/2010
INJURED PLAINTIFF DRIVER RECOVERS FROM DRUNK DRIVER FOR NECK SURGERY
On 5/20/07, Plaintiff was traveling through an intersection when she was struck on the driver's side by a drunk driver attempting to turn left from the opposite direction. The driver refused to submit to the required breath test at the station but he failed the field sobriety tests at the scene. Defendant's airbags deployed due to severe front end damage to Defendant's car and there was moderate damage to Plaintiff's front driver's side. Plaintiff was unable to move in her car and was taken by ambulance to the hospital with complaints of neck pain and other complaints. Over the next eight months, Plaintiff treated with her family doctor, a pain management doctor and had physical therapy, including injections, cervical traction and use of pain patches for neck pain and radiating pain, numbness and tingling in her arms and hands. Plaintiff had a three level neck surgery (anterior discectomy with fusion) in January 2008 with a neurosurgeon due to an MRI finding of a disc herniation at C4-5 and severe stenosis at C5-6 and C6-7. A titanium plate and screws were inserted in her neck after three discs were removed and the vertebrae were fused together and secured with a plate and screws. Plaintiff had over $67,000 in total medical bills and $5,200 in lost wages. Plaintiff made a good recovery with the expected residual limitations in range of motion and some residual neck pain. Defendant alleged that Plaintiff was suffering from preexisting cervical disease, based on pre-accident chiropractic visits, which the surgery was largely directed at resolving.
INJURED DRIVER RECOVERS IN HIGH IMPACT COLLISON WITH DISABLED TRACTOR TRAILER ON 1-95 IN FAIRFAX COUNTY, VIRGINA
In July 2009, Plaintiff was driving a Krispy Kreme truck at night and rear ended Defendant's disabled tractor trailer on I-95 at 60 mph. The Defendant's truck had no lights on and there were no reflective triangles in the road. Immediately after the accident, Plaintiff alleged that he staggered to the front of Defendant's truck and saw the hood open and Defendant appeared to be working on his truck. Plaintiff was bleeding profusely from his injuries to his elbow and knee and allegedly requested help but Defendant ignored Plaintiff's requests and continued to work on his truck. Fortunately, witnesses arrived shortly thereafter and administered aid and called for help. Plaintiff had extensive physical therapy, work hardening and eventually required a diagnostic knee arthroscopy and missed a total of 18 months of work. The case settled one week before trial at mediation.
INJURED PLAINTIFF RECOVERS FOR DAMAGED BREAST IMPLANTS FROM TRUCK DRIVER IN REAR END AUTO ACCIDENT
Plaintiff slowed for traffic in her 2000 Ford truck on southbound Interstate-95 before the defendant, who was driving a 1999 Freightliner Classic tractor trailer at 50 mph, rear-ended another vehicle and then rear-ended plaintiff's truck. Plaintiff's vehicle was then pushed into another vehicle at an angle. Plaintiff's truck was totaled and almost unrecognizable. Plaintiff sustained a cervical and low back strain, lacerations to her head that which required sutures and resulted in a faded scar, headaches, dizziness, short term memory loss, pain in her left elbow, bruising to both knees and to her head and chest.
Plaintiff has seven physical therapy sessions on her neck but her most significant injury was leaking breast implants and asymmetry of her breasts from the accident, which resulted in the surgical removal of her existing breast implants (which she had for fifteen years without problems) and insertion of new implants (reconstructive breast surgery). Plaintiff also claimed some physical limitations in her ability to work out and lift weights. No quantifiable lost wage claim was submitted.
Injured Passenger Recovers $200,000 in Rear-End Multiple Vehicle Tractor Trailer Collision
On 5/13/10, Plaintiff was a passenger in a work van that was rear ended in a chain reaction collision caused by a tractor trailer. Plaintiff went to the hospital, had physical therapy, an MRI of his right shoulder, which showed a grade 2 AC separation and shoulder surgery to repair a rotator cuff tear, a type 2 superior labrum anterior posterior tear and a subluxed biceps with marked fraying intra-articular biceps injury. The case settled just a few weeks before trial and after a mediation.
INJURED PASSENGER HUSBAND RECOVERS FROM WIFE RUNNING OFF THE ROAD FOR HIP SURGERY AND OTHER INJURIES
Plaintiff was an 81-year-old front seat passenger involved in a car accident in Pennsylvania in which her husband, the driver, was at fault for losing control around a turn. Plaintiff and her husband live in Virginia. Plaintiff suffered a comminuted fracture of her proximal femur and underwent an open reduction and internal fixation of her left hip, which involved insertion of a nail into her left femur. Plaintiff was discharged to a nursing home for four weeks after surgery and had physical therapy for one month. Plaintiff made an excellent recovery.
Absent settlement, suit would have been filed in Virginia pursuant to Pennsylvania tort law.
Pennsylvania law apparently did not allow plaintiff to reclaim the amount of medical bills as part of the settlement for this case. The settlement was for pain and suffering and payment of the Medicare lien.
DENTAL MALPRACTICE PLAINTIFF RECOVERS FOR BOTCHED FULL MOUTH RESTORATION
On 8/15/07, Plaintiff visited Defendant to receive a full mouth rehabilitation/restoration, including numerous implants and bridgework. Defendant improperly placed and positioned many implants; improperly combined natural teeth and implants as abutments for the same bridge; used posts that were too short to adequately hold the bridgework; provided inadequate and poorly constructed bridgework; and inadequately designed and prepared the prosthetics, among other things. As a result, Plaintiff suffered immense pain, discomfort and embarrassment from posts and bridgework that became loose and fell out. Plaintiff's experts opined that a substantial amount, if not all, of Defendant's work would have to be removed and begun anew at substantial cost (six figures). Plaintiff, however, did not exercise good hygiene habits, did not speak English and probably contributed to some of the problems that he experienced.
INJURED CUSTOMER RECOVERS FROM RESTAURANT DUE TO INSECURE DOOR
On 1/21/08, Plaintiff was leaving a restaurant in Fairfax County, Virginia when the commercial glass exit door dislodged from its hinges, tilted and struck Plaintiff in the head, neck and left shoulder. The accident had no witnesses. Plaintiff went to her family doctor the next day with complaints of headaches and neck pain. Plaintiff was ultimately diagnosed with a herniated disc in her neck at C5-6 and saw a neurologist, who diagnosed her with post-concussive syndrome due to her headaches, blackouts, seizures, sleep walking, sleep talking, fatigue and concentration difficulties, which were permanent. Plaintiff also had numerous physical therapy treatments for her neck and left shoulder. Plaintiff incurred over $51,000 in medical bills and no lost wage claim. Plaintiff retained a door expert who would testify that the rusty hinges and washers and pivots required replacement and the Defendant should have called an expert to inspect these visible conditions before the accident. The case settled one week before trial for $158,000.
TRIP AND FALL VICTIM RECOVERS $150,000 DUE TO UNSECURED SIDEWALK GRATE
This case was previously cited in the Virginia Lawyers Weekly. Prior to this law firm's representation of Plaintiff, the case was previously tried to a defense verdict (by other counsel) but was successfully appealed to the Supreme Court of Virginia (by other counsel), which reversed the verdict based upon introduction into evidence of prior alcohol use by plaintiff, which was irrelevant and prejudicial. The case was sent back for a re-trial, at which time this law firm was retained by Plaintiff.
Plaintiff tripped and fell on a dislodged metal drainage grate that was supposed to be flush with the sidewalk in a common area of a shopping center. Plaintiff's initial diagnosis was a sprained right ankle and left thumb but he then developed carpal tunnel syndrome in both wrists. Plaintiff eventually underwent two surgeries on both wrists and one surgery on his left elbow. His medical bills totaled $105,000. Plaintiff sued the landlord/owner and property management company of the common area where he fell. Plaintiff had a former employee of a nearby commercial tenant who testified at deposition that he notified the defendants on several past occasions that the protruding grate had been dislodged by vehicular traffic and requested that the grate be secured but defendants ignored his requests.
Defendant argued that the accident could not have occurred as plaintiff alleged and that any danger would have been open and obvious.
Plaintiff obtained a pre-trial motion in limine ruling that barred defendant from introducing into evidence any prior or subsequent accidents, injuries and medical treatment to unrelated body parts, as well as a prior conviction for a crime of moral turpitude and a medical record finding of prior alcoholism problems. As a result, the case settled after the first day of a three day jury trial in Fairfax County Circuit Court.
VICTIM RECOVERS AGAINST DRUNK DRIVER IN ROLLOVER TRUCK ACCIDENT
Plaintiff, a 61-year-old male, was operating his 1995 King F8 box truck southbound on Route 123 at approximately 45 mph. Defendant, who had a blood alcohol content of 0.19 percent, was operating his 1999 Ford Taurus directly behind the plaintiff's vehicle at a high rate of speed (at least 55 mph). Defendant failed to maintain control of his vehicle and collided into the rear of the plaintiff's vehicle. The high speed rear collision caused plaintiff's vehicle to strike the guardrail, become airborne, overturn and roll down a 20-foot embankment. The roof was torn off the claimant's truck and his blood was splattered on the windshield and seats. Plaintiff's vehicle was a totaled.
Plaintiff was transported by ambulance to the hospital with complaints of pain in his right side, right elbow, head, chest, rids, and upper and lower back. He also had several scalp lacerations that required sutures.
Plaintiff returned to the hospital once to have his sutures removed before leaving for five weeks for his previously planned honeymoon out of the country. Upon his return, plaintiff sought treatment with a chiropractor for low back pain, which consisted of 28 sessions over a four-month period. He made a full recovery, with some minimal scarring and indentations remaining on his scalp.
The statutory presumption of punitive damages based upon the BAC level of the defendant was the most significant factor in the settlement of the case. Defendant's DUI charge was dismissed in the criminal court because he was arrested and administered a breath test more than three hours after the accident occurred. Plaintiff decided to settle rather than wait a year to roll the dice for more money at trial.
INJURED TRACTOR TRAILER DRIVER RECOVERS AGAINST FARMER FOR T-BONE TRUCK ACCIDENT
On 1/17/07, Plaintiff was driving a tractor trailer in the city of Winchester, Virginia and was T-boned by a Dodge Ram truck that was towing several tons of hay bales. Plaintiff suffered a herniated disk in her neck and back and was a questionable surgical candidate. She went to the hospital, had physical therapy, saw orthopedists and neurologists, had an epidural injection, underwent MRIs and had a history of three prior back surgeries in 1995, 1998 and 2003. There was a $94,000 workers compensation lien on the case that was negotiated and reduced to help position the case to settle.
INJURED PLAINTIFF RECOVERS FOR BACK SURGERY FROM REAR END AUTO ACCIDENT
Plaintiff was rear-ended by defendants, both sisters, who were following each other. Plaintiff's car was also pushed into a vehicle in front and sustained approximately $16,000 in property damage. Both defendants' vehicles were totaled. Liability was not seriously contested but damages were.
Plaintiff went to the hospital on the day of the accident and followed up with a chiropractor for neck and low back and radicular complaints about six to eight weeks later and treated with the chiropractor for the next two years. After one year of chiropractic treatment, plaintiff decided on her own to seek a second opinion from her primary physician and obtained an MRI of her lower back, which revealed a disc herniation. Plaintiff continued treatment with the chiropractor for another year before seeing a neurosurgeon, who performed an
ALIF fusion procedure with insertion of LT cages. Plaintiff claimed permanent injuries associated with her back and neck.
Defendants argued that plaintiff only suffered soft tissue strains to her neck and back that should have resolved after no more than three months after the accident. Defendants argued that plaintiff overtreated and her low back surgery was not related to the accident and that plaintiff did not suffer a herniated disc, despite the radiology report finding. Video depositions were conducted of both experts prior to settlement of the case. The maximum insurance overage available was $175,000.
INJURED PLAINTIFF RECOVERS FROM SALON FOR FACIAL SCARRING SUFFERED FROM SKIN REJUVENATION PROCEDURE
On 10/6/08, Plaintiff went to a salon in Fairfax, Virginia and purchased a package of five facial skin rejuvenation treatments that was supposed to make her skin look younger and improve some sun spots. The treatments were administered via a laser. On the third visit, Plaintiff felt some pain and her skin felt hot during the administration of the laser treatment on her right cheek. Plaintiff experienced severe blistering later that same day and returned to the salon to complain. She was advised to put on Neosporin and that she would be fine in a couple of weeks. The blisters turned into three visible facial scars on her right cheek and her sun spots worsened on her forehead (became darker). Plaintiff only requested Defendant to cover her medical bills to correct the damage done to her face and Defendant refused. Defendant tried to blame Plaintiff for exposing herself to sunlight, which Plaintiff denied. Surprisingly, the Defendant's retained expert sided with Plaintiff and opined that Defendant negligently administered the laser treatments and failed to advise Plaintiff on appropriate after-care for her scarring. As a result, Plaintiff's facial scarring and spotting was permanent. Plaintiff's total medical bills were $2,800 and she received $100,000 to settle her case on 1/8/2010.
PLAINTIFF PEDESTRIAN RECOVERS MAXIMUM AMOUNT AVAILABLE AT TRIAL FROM AUTO ACCIDENT
On Aug. 14, 2004, at 9:00 p.m., plaintiff attempted to cross a low-traffic, two-lane side street (with a center turn lane) between intersections from her place of employment to her car, which was parked across the street. The nearest intersection was a very busy intersection with a main road about 50-75 years away, but the intersection has no marked crosswalks or pedestrian crossing signals. The intersection also had a two-way service road, which resulted in approximately seven to eight ways for cars to approach from various directions. Plaintiff alleged that the intersection was more dangerous for pedestrians to cross than the side street where she attempted to cross.
Plaintiff also introduced evidence from former co-workers that the area where plaintiff was hit was well lit at night due to large nearby commercial lights from the dealership where plaintiff worked.
Plaintiff alleged that defendant, a former co-worker, turned left from the dealership to go home and stopped about two-three car lengths away from plaintiff, so that plaintiff assumed that he was allowing her to cross. However, after plaintiff took one to two steps into defendant’s travel lane, she heard an acceleration and saw bright lights approaching. She attempted to turn to return to the center lane but was hit.
It was undisputed that defendant did not see plaintiff at any time before striking her. A former co-worker of plaintiff testified that defendant told him after the accident that he was trying to “catch the light.
Defendant alleged that he did not stop after starting his left turn from the dealership. Defendant contended that he was in the process of completing his left turn by crossing over the center turn lane when he heard a noise (the impact) and believed that plaintiff merely walked into the driver’s side mirror of his car, which has no damage.
Plaintiff and defendant agreed to try the case on liability only and entered into a high/low agreement of $100,000/$25,000 because defendant’s liability limits were $100,000 and no additional coverage was available.
The jury returned a special verdict form, which found that defendant was negligent, that defendant’s negligence proximately caused the accident, and that plaintiff was negligent but plaintiff’s negligence was not a proximate cause of the accident.
VICTIM WHO LOST FINGERTIP IN WEIGHT MACHINE RECOVERS FOR INJURIES
Karla Ortiz was attempting to operate a ST-4 exercise machine, manufactured and supplied by Paramount Fitness Corporation, in the gym at the Elms at Kingstowne Apartments, where she was a tenant. When Ortiz approached the bench press portion of the machine, the bench press bar was in a raised position and the pin had been placed in the weights by the time she arrived at the machine. Ortiz attempted to pull the pin out of the weights, but it appeared to have been stuck. Ortiz braced her left hand on top of the weights and as she pulled the pin out with her right hand, the middle thick section (with the red warning that says to make sure pin is inserted completely in the weights before using) that rises and falls with the bench press bar, came crashing down on her left index finger immediately after she removed the pin with her right hand. The immense force and weight of the crashing bench press bar was strong enough to sever her fingertip. Due to the nature of the injury, no reattachment was possible. The surgery was mostly a success, although plaintiff continued to experience tenderness and increased sensitivity to cold after the surgery.
Plaintiff's counsel spoke to four potential mechanical engineering experts and a fitness equipment expert, who could offer only limited assistance with a theory of negligent design and/or manufacture and failure to war and/or inadequate warning by the manufacturer because the machine in question was about 20 years old and subject to lesser standards and regulations at the time of manufacture. Plaintiff is still considering filing a lawsuit against the apartment complex.
INJURED POLICE OFFICER RECOVERS FOR SHOULDER SURGERY IN T-BONE AUTO ACCIDENT
A police officer injured in a motor vehicle accident while responding to an emergency agreed to settle her injury claims for a total of $75,000. The tortfeasor paid $25,000 toward the settlement and the underinsured motorist carrier paid the balance of $50,000. The underinsured carrier also waived its subrogation lien for worker’s compensation benefits.
Alexandria City police officer was driving her police vehicle on South Glebe Road near the Arlington/Alexandria City line. She was on an emergency run with her siren activated and emergency lights flashing. As she attempted to go through the red light at the intersection of South Glebe Road and Mt. Vernon Avenue, she was “T-boned” by a vehicle driver by Defendant Jose Soriano. Defendant has the green light, but admitted that he failed to yield the right-of-way to an emergency vehicle. Plaintiff sought damages for her shoulder injury from the tortfeasor and from her employer, Defendant City of Alexandria, for underinsured motorist benefits.
Plaintiff claimed she suffered a torn rotator cuff which required surgery and follow-up treatment for more than one year. She claimed medicals and lost wages from a second job as a result of her injuries.
Defendants disputed the nature and extent of plaintiff’s injuries, but ultimately settled her claims prior to the lawsuit being served. Defendant City of Alexandria also waived its subrogation life for workers’ compensation benefits as part of the settlement.
INJURED GOLFER RECOVERS AGAINST GOLF COURSE FOR TORN ACL DUE TO INSECURE SPRINKLER COVER
At the time of the accident, plaintiff was playing golf at the Penderbrook Gold Club in Fairfax County. He was at the 18th hole near the green and his golf ball was near the hole. As he approached his ball, he stepped on some leaves that camouflaged an unsecured steel or iron sprinkler cover, which gave way when he stepped on it and his left foot went into the hole.
Plaintiff suffered an Achilles tendon rupture and a nondisplaced medial malleolus fracture. His injury healed without surgical intervention after wearing a cast and using crutches for two months. He wore a walking boot for an additional six weeks and then used a 3-D walker.
Plaintiff had 23 sessions of physical therapy thereafter and ended up with a 4 percent whole person disability but was doing very well one year after the accident. No quantifiable lost wage claim was submitted.
INJURED PLAINTIFF PEDESTRIAN RECOVERS AGAINST PROPERTY MANAGEMENT COMPANY FOR TRIPPING ON UNEVEN SIDEWALK
On 3/20/08, Plaintiff settled a case against a property management company, Kimco Realty Corporation, for $52,000 for a trip and fall that occurred when she stubbed her toe on a protruding portion of an uneven sidewalk located outside a Safeway store in Fairfax County, VA.
Plaintiff fractured her right elbow and left knee and had surgery on both and a follow-up surgery on her right elbow. These cases are very difficult for Plaintiffs to prevail in Virginia courts due to notice requirements and other legal hurdles.
INJURED STORE CUSTOMER RECOVERS FOR SLIP AND FALL IN COSMETICS AISLE
On 10/8/08, Plaintiff settled a case filed in Fairfax County Circuit Court against THE TJX Companies, Inc. d/b/a T.J. Maxx for a slip and fall that occurred in a T.J. Maxx store in Kingstowne Towne Center in Springfield, Virginia, located in Fairfax County, VA. Plaintiff was walking down a cosmetics aisle that contained creams, lotions and soaps, when she slipped and fell on a clear slippery substance and landed on her right side on broken glass. There were no warning signs present.
About fifteen to twenty minutes before Plaintiff fell, another customer slipped and almost fell on the same slippery substance. The other customer notified the customer service attendants about the hazardous condition that was on the floor with the expectation that it would be cleaned up before someone slipped and fell. However, nobody was sent to clean up the hazardous condition. Plaintiff suffered cuts to her ankle, had physical therapy, injections and ultimately required sural nerve decompression surgery along with removal of palpable scar tissue on her right foot at Inova Fairfax Hospital. The case settled two months before trial.