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UIM carrier takes over defense of brain injury case – $320,000 Verdict

Virginia Lawyers Weekly//November 1, 2010

UIM carrier takes over defense of brain injury case – $320,000 Verdict

Virginia Lawyers Weekly//November 1, 2010//

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The plaintiff was injured on July 19, 2007, when his 1992 Ford pickup truck was rear-ended on Route 1 near Osborne Road in Chesterfield. He was stopped in traffic when the defendant hit him from behind while driving a 2005 Pontiac automobile.

Defendant was charged with following too closely and was found guilty in absentia. She never participated in the litigation, and plaintiff’s claim was pursued through his own uninsured motorist coverage.

Plaintiff had no recollection of the collision. There was conflicting evidence as to whether he lost consciousness. Several EMTs reported that he seemed dazed but was not unconscious. There was modest damage to the rear of the plaintiff’s vehicle.

He was transported to VCU Medical Center, where he was reported lethargic and slow to respond to questions with amnesia as to the collision. Plaintiff remained in the hospital overnight. He was referred to Dr. William Walker for continued symptoms of a brain injury.

The plaintiff received treatment for his orthopedic injuries over the next several months as well. He also received chiropractic care from Dr. Dennis Dullano for his neck pain. He was eventually referred to Dr. Jeffrey S. Kreutzer who diagnosed cognitive disorder, adjustment disorder with mixed anxiety and depressed mood. He sought care from Dr. Ahmend S. Meguid before eventually being seen and evaluated by Dr. David E. Ross for an independent medical exam at the plaintiff’s request.

The defense admitted liability shortly before trial for the full amount of plaintiff’s past medical bills and lost wages but argued that the plaintiff had not suffered a head injury and therefore required no future medical care. The defense offered no expert testimony but relied upon cross-examination regarding what they perceived to be consciousness or unconsciousness following impact. They also challenged the life care plan of Sharon Reavis as being based upon hearsay.

Prior to trial, State Farm offered $40,000, and then a final offer of $50,000.


Type of action: Automobile collision – personal injury
Injuries alleged: Mild traumatic brain injury, cervical strain and right shoulder sprain
Name of case: Robert O. Chappell v. India Anderson
Court: Chesterfield County Circuit Court
Case no.: CL09-492
Tried before: Jury
Name of judge: Timothy J. Hauler
Special damages: Medical bills – $50,090.44; lost wages – $3,772.59
Verdict or Settlement: Verdict
Amount: $320,000
Highest offer: $50,000
Experts: Dr. David E. Ross, neuropsychiatry, Richmond; Dr. Jeffrey S. Kreutzer, neuropsychology, Richmond; Dr. William L. Walker, physical medicine and rehabilitation, Richmond; Dr. Ahmend S. Meguid, psychiatry, Richmond; Dr. Dennis Dullano, chiropractor, Farmville; Sharon P. Reavis, life care planner, Richmond
Insurance carrier: State Farm – UIM
Plaintiff’s attorney: John C. Shea, Richmond

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