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Drunken driver’s carriers offer $70K, jury gives $230K – $230,000 Verdict

Virginia Lawyers Weekly//September 12, 2017

Drunken driver’s carriers offer $70K, jury gives $230K – $230,000 Verdict

Virginia Lawyers Weekly//September 12, 2017

Kathleen Young suffered a neck injury when her vehicle was hit in the rear by Cantrice Henderson on Hopkins Road in Chesterfield County. At the time of the crash Henderson had a blood alcohol content of .26. Liability was

Bridget K. Long
Bridget K. Long


Young was transported by ambulance to the emergency room and received follow up care from her primary care physician, an orthopedic surgeon and two pain management physicians. Plaintiff’s expert, Michael DePalma, M.D. performed radiofrequency ablation procedures beginning approximately 18 months after the collision and testified the 63-year-old plaintiff had suffered a permanent C5-6 facet joint injury as a result of the crash.
Defense expert, Mark Ross, M.D., testified Young suffered only a minor sprain/strain injury and required no additional medical treatment after eight weeks. The defense admitted approximately $10,000.00 of Young’s claimed medical expenses.

Amy S. Whitelaw
Amy S. Whitelaw

Plaintiff’s expert toxicologist, S. Rutherfoord Rose, PharmD, FAACT, testified to the severity of Henderson’s impairment with a BAC of .26. Defendant testified she had pled guilty to DWI, served 30 days in jail and paid a fine.

Defendant’s insurance carrier, GEICO, tendered their $25,000.00 policy limits early on. Plaintiff was covered by a UIM policy with State Farm which provided an additional $225,000.00 in coverage. State Farm offered $45,000.00 bringing the total offer to $70,000.00 a few weeks before trial. Plaintiff’s last demand of $240,000 was not reduced since State Farm indicated that would be their highest offer.


Type of action: Personal Injury

Injuries alleged: Cervical facet joint injury

Name of case: Young v. Henderson

Court: Chesterfield County Circuit Court

Case no.: CL16-1875

Tried before: Jury

Name of judge or mediator: Hon. T.J. Hauler

Date resolved: Aug. 9, 2017

Special damages: $34,215.04 in past medical bills and $4,695.00 for future medical care

Demand: $240,000

Offer: $70,000

Verdict or settlement: Verdict

Amount: $230,000 ($80,000 in compensatory damages and $150,000 in punitive damages)

Attorneys for plaintiff: Bridget N. Long, Petersburg; and Amy S. Whitelaw, Richmond

Attorneys for defendant: Jayne Randall, Richmond; and for State Farm: Walker Terry, Richmond

Plaintiff’s experts: Michael DePalma, M.D., VA Ispine Physicians; S. Rutherfoord Rose, PharmD, FAACT

Defendant’s experts: Mark Ross, M.D.

Insurance carrier: GEICO (Liability) State Farm (Underinsured)

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