Virginia Lawyers Weekly reported a total of 49 million-dollar settlements over the past year.
This figure is significantly higher than the 2010 survey, which featured 37 settlements.
To qualify for the survey, a settlement must have been for at least $1 million, been reached in the year 2011 and involved a dispute with a strong Virginia component.
Here are some of the findings from this year’s compilation:
AUTO ACCIDENTS DOMINATE. Nearly half of the featured settlements stemmed from automobile accidents. Of the 24 auto-accident cases reported, six involved tractor-trailers, four involved pedestrians, two involved a plaintiff on a bicycle and one involved a motorcycle crash. Four of the accidents resulted in death, but the majority of the cases involved brain injury to the plaintiff.
DOLLAR AMOUNTS DOWN. Plaintiffs recovered less money in 2011 compared to previous years’ reports. The largest settlement we reported this year was $11 million for a teenage passenger who suffered severe injuries in a collision. This was the only eight-figure settlement on the list. Between 2008 and 2011, the top settlement ranged from $14.5 million in a products liability claim to $313 million in a False Claims Act action.
MORE MED-MAL. This year’s survey featured 16 medical malpractice cases, up from seven in last year’s compilation. Five of the med-mal cases involved birth complications, two of which resulted in death. Death was a factor in three additional med-mal settlements. Two settlements stemmed from negligent prostate cancer screenings.
NO BUSINESS SUITS. In 2011, Virginia Lawyers Weekly did not feature any million-dollar settlements involving business disputes. This was the first year the list did not include a single contract, IP, False Claims Act, or FCRA case. Also absent were products liability and eminent domain cases.
Editor’s Note: We compiled this list throughout the year and made a final appeal in January for qualifying settlements. If you have a million-dollar settlement from 2011 that should be included, please let us know, and we will include it in the online version of the survey.