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Crash injury settles for limits, carrier loses lien over paperwork – $300,000 Settlement

This case arose from a car crash that occurred on Jan. 3, 2017, at the intersection of Richmond Road and Forge Road in James City County. The plaintiff did not have a stop sign and had the clear right-of-way through the intersection. The defendant had a stop sign on Forge Road, facing north across Richmond Road. As the plaintiff continued driving straight ahead in her lane, the defendant proceeded from the stop sign into the median of Richmond Road, and then through the median in an attempt to cross the westbound lanes on Richmond Road, failing to yield the right-of-way to oncoming traffic. The front passenger side of the defendant’s vehicle struck the plaintiff’s vehicle on the front driver’s side. The plaintiff did not see the defendant approaching and did not have a chance to stop or avoid the collision. A witness at the scene, who was in the left westbound turn lane on Richmond Road and saw the defendant proceeding from the median into oncoming traffic, honked his horn and flashed his high beam lights at the defendant in an attempt to get her attention and alert her to the fact that she was proceeding unsafely through the intersection.

After the collision, the plaintiff’s vehicle was declared totaled. Immediately following the crash, the plaintiff was cared for at the scene by emergency medical trauma personnel and transported by ambulance to VCUHS/MCV Hospital, where she was initially diagnosed with a left femur fracture, abdomen contusion and right knee abrasion. After further treatment and testing, the plaintiff was found to have suffered a traumatic brain injury, along with a left spiral femur fracture with intercondylar extension, which required surgery the day following the crash, and hospitalization for a week. The plaintiff was then discharged from the hospital into in-hospital rehabilitation at VCUHS where she began her physical therapy and training for daily life activities such as bed mobility, gait training, transfer training, wheelchair mobility, bathing/showering, dressing techniques, grooming/personal hygiene. The plaintiff was discharged from the care provided at VCUHS directly into in-home care for physical therapy and occupational therapy. Over the course of her in-home physical therapy, the plaintiff slowly improved and was eventually discharged from in-home physical therapy, but still needed assistance with stairs and egress, and continued with a program of out-patient therapy through June 2017.

The plaintiff had a Functional Capacity Evaluation performed by Pivot Physical Therapy which provided a final impairment rating of 43 percent lower extremity impairment (18 percent whole person impairment). It was further determined by the FCE performed that she did not demonstrate the ability to perform the physical demands of her full-duty job. The plaintiff made a claim for lost wages and also made a claim for future lost wages through her anticipated retirement age of 73 years old.

The case settled for policy limits. Re-payment of a large health insurance lien was averted due to the insurance carrier’s inability to provide adequate documentation (despite numerous requests) establishing that the plan was a valid ERISA plan with a valid lien.


Type of action: Personal Injury – Automobile Accident

Injuries alleged: Left spiral femur fracture with intercondylar extension, traumatic brain injury

Date resolved: May 2018

Special damages: $391,412.91 (as of April 2018)

Demand: Policy Limits

Offer: Policy Limits from Liability and UIM Carriers

Verdict or settlement: Settlement

Amount: $300,000 (Policy limits of $250,000 from liability carrier and $50,000 from UIM carrier)

Attorneys for plaintiff: Colleen Marea Quinn and Kati K. Dean, Richmond

Insurance carrier: Defendant’s carrier – Alfa Insurance; UIM – USAA