Fatal Explosion and Fire Leads to $42 Million Settlement in Virginia
The biggest personal injury settlement of 2016 followed an industrial explosion and fire at a logging site in Greensville County in 2011 in which workers were killed and injured when equipment exploded. The highest settlements of 2016 were recently profiled in Virginia Lawyers Weekly.
The manufacturer of the product and the component part manufacturer were named as defendants in the lawsuit. Three of the workers sustained serious burn injuries while a fourth died. Lawyers for the plaintiffs said the products were defective due to their poor design.
The lawsuit involved 39 experts for both sides. The case settled in mediation seven weeks before the trial. All cases are different and no one case result is an indicator of a future result, but the case was settled in mediation for $42 million.
The attorneys for the plaintiffs were Christopher Malone and William Tunner from Richmond, A. Donald McEachin of Henrico County, Charles and Richard Cuthbert from Petersburg, and P. Christopher Guedri, Jason W. Konvicka and Ashley T. Davis from RichmondMany of the largest settlements of 2016 involved car, truck and motorcycle wrecks. A brain injury case settled for $10 million. The plaintiff was traveling in a passenger in a car that was stopped at a red light when it was rear-ended by a truck. Counsel for the defense claimed the accident was caused by a medical emergency suffered by the truck driver.
Many of the largest settlements of 2016 involved car, truck and motorcycle wrecks. A brain injury case settled for $10 million. The plaintiff was traveling in a passenger in a car that was stopped at a red light when it was rear-ended by a truck. Counsel for the defense claimed the accident was caused by a medical emergency suffered by the truck driver.
The attorneys for the plaintiff were E.F. Drewry “Drew” Gallalee and Gray B. Broughton from Richmond.
Another large settlement involved a driver who was rear-ended by a truck. The plaintiff was hit by a big rig on Interstate 95. A driver had merged back into the right travel lane after changing a flat tire.
The driver was transported to VCU Medical Center with life-threatening injuries and ended up in brain injury rehabilitation.
Investigations into the incident found the driver had been on duty for 37 consecutive hours, driving more than 27 hours in that time, reported Virginia Lawyers Weekly. The defendant trucking company claimed restrictions on driving did not apply because the business was operating under a federal exemption.
The case was settled a month before trial for $6.5 million. The attorneys for the plaintiff were David E. Durrett, Jay Tronfeld and Kelly Martin from Richmond.
Auto Wrecks Dominated Multi-Million Dollar Settlements in Virginia
In Virginia, we see many accidents in which motorcyclists are seriously injured or killed when cars or trucks make sudden turns or lane changes. Tragically, a sudden lane change resulted in the death of a Naval officer who was knocked off his motorcycle.
The report of a Virginia State Police trooper stated a driver made a sudden lane change, forcing the motorcyclist to brake suddenly to avoid a collision. The bike struck a jersey wall on I-64 and was hit by the defendant’s vehicle. The sailor died two days before his wedding.
The wrongful death case was settled in mediation. The lawyers for the motorcyclist were John Zydron, Eric Washburn, Carlton Bennett and Kevin Sharp of Virginia Beach.
In Amherst County, a wrongful death settlement may have been a record for the county. A truck driver was behind the wheel of a tractor-trailer that was too long for the mountain road. The truck killed a diver who ran a garage and wrecking service and was attending an accident on State Route 130 on Snowden Mountain.
His death came as Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) failed to set up traffic control measures at the accident scene. VDOT workers waived the tractor-trailer through even though they acknowledged the trailer was too long. The case was settled a day before the trial for $1.9 million. The sum is believed to be the highest for Amherst County.
The attorneys for the plaintiff were Jim Neale, Ashley Winsky and Ben Abel of Charlottesville.
In a case in Rockbridge County, a woman was injured after she got into the cargo hold of an SUV with four other students to return to the campus at the end of a party. The driver lost control on the road, flipped the vehicle and it ended up in a culvert.
The driver admitted to intoxicated driving. The woman sustained numerous serious injuries including burst fractures of her lumbar spine. A lawsuit was filed in Rockbridge County Circuit Court. It settled for $1.8 million six weeks before a trial. The attorney for the plaintiff was H. Aubrey Ford of Richmond.
Every year, dozens of pedestrians are killed in crashes. In Fredericksburg, a woman was hit by a van as she walked across the parking lot of a Chick-fil-A restaurant. She suffered a head injury, a comminuted proximal tibial fracture, a neck fracture and compartment syndrome in her right leg. Her previous medical conditions complicated treatment and rehabilitation. She spent almost three months in the hospital going through various surgeries and treatments.
The lawsuit was settled for $1.6 million at mediation. The lawyer for the plaintiff was Paul McCourt Curley of Fredericksburg.
Collisions with commercial vehicles made up many of the highest settlements of 2016. On Interstate 77 in Wythe County, a family of four was involved in two separate wrecks involving commercial vehicles.
Both incidents involved the plaintiffs’ vehicles being rear-ended. Two minors were trapped after the second, one of them for 45 minutes until rescue workers were able to cut her from the wreckage. The minor was hospitalized for six weeks after the wreck.
A lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Roanoke that was settled for $1.5 million. The attorneys for the plaintiff were Paul G. Beers and Emma Kozlowski of Roanoke.
In a motorcycle accident injury case, a rider was injured when he was hit by a driver in a loaner vehicle. The rider was heading westbound on Columbia Pike in Arlington. The driver of a Lexus tried to make a left turn onto South Queen Street. He crossed into the rider’s lane of traffic, forcing him to take evasive maneuvers. The rider was ejected from his bike and injured.
The case was settled for $1.4 million. The attorneys for the motorcyclist were Scott Perry, Mike Charnoff and Leslee Soudrette from Arlington.
Every day people are injured on the highways of Virginia. Often another driver is to blame. If you are or loved one has been involved in a serious personal injury accident, please contact our Norfolk injury lawyers at (757) 455-0077.