Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Carrier failed to respond to suit, hit with default – $75,000 Verdict

Virginia Lawyers Weekly//June 11, 2018

Carrier failed to respond to suit, hit with default – $75,000 Verdict

Virginia Lawyers Weekly//June 11, 2018

Plaintiff was rear-ended on I-495 West in Alexandria just after 3 a.m. He drove himself to Reston Hospital Center for back pain and swelling. A veteran of the U.S. Navy, he received follow-up care at the VA and was diagnosed with swelling and bruising to the back, as well as a 3 cm x 9 cm hematoma. According to a follow-up MRI, the hematoma had almost entirely resolved a month later without additional medical care.

Plaintiff was unsuccessful in resolving his case on his own and hired counsel just prior to the statute. The final pre-suit offer was $6,175. Suit was filed in Alexandria Circuit Court and served on the out-of-state driver through the DMV. A copy of the suit and service papers were sent to the carrier by mail. When no answer was filed a month after service, a letter was sent to the defendant and to Erie that the case was in default and that the plaintiff intended to move for default judgment. Erie never responded to this letter.

The court took ex parte proof of damages and awarded $75,000 plus interest from the date of the crash. A copy of the default judgment order was sent to Erie 22 days later. At that point, Erie finally contacted plaintiff’s counsel to offer $8,600 in lieu of referring the case out to be defended. This offer was declined. Shortly after the case was referred to defense counsel, a check arrived paying the judgment in full.


Type of action: Auto Accident

Injuries alleged: Low back pain, including a small hematoma

Name of case: Orenge v. Branch

Court: Alexandria Circuit Court

Case no.: CL 17-2514

Tried before: Judge

Date resolved: Jan. 24, 2018

Special damages: $2,776.50 medical costs; $1,299 lost wages

Demand: $11,000

Offer: $6,175

Verdict or settlement: Verdict

Amount: $75,000

Attorney for plaintiff: Brian Glass, Fairfax

Insurance carrier: Erie Insurance

Verdicts & Settlements

See All Verdicts & Settlements

Opinion Digests

See All Digests