Man scores $7M verdict against drunken driver – $7,000,000 Verdict

Virginia Lawyers Weekly//December 5, 2011

Man scores $7M verdict against drunken driver – $7,000,000 Verdict

Virginia Lawyers Weekly//December 5, 2011

On Aug. 7, 2009, a 20-year-old correctional officer was riding his 1998 Harley-Davidson motorcycle when he was hit by a drunken driver. The wreck occurred on Route 619 near its intersection with Route 606 in Greensville. The defendant was driving a 2007 Ford pickup truck, owned by Sandy Grove Farms Partnership, when he turned suddenly in front of the plaintiff, crashing into his motorcycle and causing him to be catapulted off the road.

Plaintiff was taken by helicopter to VCU Medical Center, where he was hospitalized for two weeks. He underwent multiple surgeries for his various orthopedic and dental injuries and was then transferred to Retreat Hospital for inpatient rehabilitation for approximately three weeks. He returned to VCU for another hospitalization when he developed complications from a carotid artery injury. His injuries prevented him from realizing his life’s ambition to be a Virginia State Trooper. The plaintiff made a great recovery and was back at work at his pre-injury employment, but with some restrictions.

Shortly before the trial, the defendants admitted liability as well as the nature and extent of the plaintiff’s injuries. The case was tried with a declaratory action pending regarding the extent of the coverage available to the partnership, of which the defendant driver was a member. The primary carrier paid its limits. The defendant driver and his two partners paid $100,000 personally in exchange for a release from personal exposure.


Type of action: Personal injury – motorcycle collision
Injuries alleged: Traumatic brain injury with subarachnoid hemorrhage, left internal carotid artery dissection, multiple severe orthopedic injuries, multiple severe lacerations including right knee degloving injury, multiple dental fractures and right elbow contracture
Name of case: Rawlings v. Fajna, et al.
Court: Greensville Circuit Court
Tried before: Judge
Judge: Samuel Campbell
Special damages: Medical bills – $615,312; past lost wages – $19,620; lost earning capacity – $349,620
Verdict or settlement: Verdict
Amount: $7,000,000
Attorney for plaintiff: John C. Shea, Richmond

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