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Driver ran stop sign, plaintiff suffered concussion – $175,000 Verdict

Plaintiff was broad­sided by defendant who ran a stop sign. He had to be extricated from his vehicle but did not suf­fer any life-threatening injury. He was taken to the emergency depart­ment, evaluated and re­leased. He returned sev­eral hours later with severe headache and vomiting, including vomiting blood. He was admitted for two days. Following release he followed up with his PCP and with Dr. Walsh, who diagnosed a concussion. Over the next several months, while the head­ache resolved, Plaintiff developed memory, infor­mation processing and personality changes. Af­ter a year, he returned to Dr. Walsh who referred him to Dr. Katz for eval­uation. Dr. Katz also diagnosed post-concus­sion syndrome and rec­ommended counseling and medication. Plaintiff was at first unable to engage in counsel­ing although he did obtain a prescription for medication. Plaintiff began counseling shortly before trial and after discovery had closed.

Defendant admitted liability but at­tempted to claim that plaintiff had failed to mitigate his damages by not returning to Dr. Walsh for a period of 12 months and in not immediately obtaining a counselor. State Farm, the primary carrier refused to put in its coverage, although Erie, the UIM, stated that it was willing to waive subro­gation. State Farm claimed that plaintiff’s symptoms did not arise from the crash.

State Farm’s expert, Dr. Bender, on cross examination agreed that while he did not think that the symptoms reported by plain­tiff and his witnesses were related to the concussion, that the symptoms were real and that they were initiated by the crash. The jury deliberated about 20 minutes be­fore returning a verdict of $175,000.



Type of action: Personal Injury
Injuries alleged: Closed head injury with concus­sion and post-concussion symptoms
Name of case: Jerry Blair v. Lisa Rae Caviness
Court: Pittsylvania County Circuit Court
Case no.: CL14000700-00
Tried before: Jury
Name of judge or mediator: Hon. Clyde Perdue
Date resolved: May 5, 2016
Special damages: Medical expenses $36,306.00
Demand: $200,000.00
Offer: $50,000.00
Verdict or settlement: Verdict
Amount: $175,000.00
Attorneys for plaintiff: Mark T. Williams and Robert L. Morrison Jr., Danville
Attorneys for defendant: Glenn W. Pulley, Lynchburg
Plaintiff’s experts: Francis Walsh, MD (Neurolo­gist), Alan M. Katz, PhD (Neuropsychologist)
Defendant’s experts: Scott Bender, PhD (Neuro­psychologist)
Insurance carrier: State Farm – Primary, Erie Ins. Exchange – UIM

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