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
Verdict or settlement: Verdict
Attorney for plaintiff: Brian Glass, Fairfax
Insurance carrier: Erie Insurance