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Drunken driver rear ends motorist, causes brain injury – $625,000 Settlement

On Friday, Oct. 10, 2008, at approximately 9:30 p.m., the plaintiff was stopped at a traffic light on River Road at its intersection with Gaskins Road in Henrico County. The defendant, who had been drinking all afternoon and early evening, rear-ended the plaintiff’s vehicle at 50 miles per hour. The defendant had a blood alcohol content of 0.32 percent.

The plaintiff was knocked unconscious and unresponsive. He was transported to VCU Medical Center where it was determined that he sustained bilateral subdural hematomas on his brain. He remained in intensive care for three days.

Plaintiff was diagnosed with a mild traumatic brain injury with symptoms including dizziness, memory loss, headaches, blurred vision and difficulty with processing information. Plaintiff was also diagnosed with a cervical strain. Plaintiff returned to his employment about a month after the accident. While he continues to suffer subtle brain injury symptoms, he has returned to all of his previous activities.

The defendant admitted liability for the accident but denied driving drunk and any liability for punitive damages. The court denied defendant’s motion to bifurcate the trial on compensatory and punitive damages. The case was settled with the help of mediator Donald H. Kent.


Type of action: Personal injury – compensatory and punitive damages
Injuries alleged: Mild traumatic brain injury and cervical strain
Name of case: Confidential
Court: Henrico County Circuit Court
Judge: Burnett Miller III
Special damages: $30,909.65
Name of mediator: Donald H. Kent
Verdict or Settlement: Settlement
Amount: $625,000
Date: Jan. 4, 2010
Experts: Alphonso Poklis PhD; Joseph Saady PhD; Dr. Scott Graham, neurosurgeon;
Dr. Pari Nikpey, neurologist; Dr. Jeffrey Barth, neuropsychologist
Insurance carrier: Allied Insurance Company,
a subsidiary of Nationwide Insurance Company
Plaintiff’s attorneys: Neil Cowan and Frank Cowan, Richmond

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