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Truck driver ran red light, woman had concussion – $400,000 settlement

On Sept. 13, 2007, the plaintiff had picked up her 18-year-old son from school and was driving home when she stopped for a red traffic signal on Miles Avenue at Winston Churchill Drive in Hopewell. As the defendant, driving a dump truck in the course and scope of his employment, approached on Winston Churchill, he reached for a bottle of water, dropped his cellphone and bent to pick it up. The defendant did not see his light change to red, later telling the investigating officer, “The last time I looked up at my light, it was green, and then when I looked back up after picking up my phone, the car was right there in front of me.” The impact pushed the plaintiff’s car 50 feet past the intersection and smashed the passenger compartment to the driver’s seat. Fortunately, the plaintiff’s son decided to sit behind his mom instead of in the passenger’s seat when she picked him up from school; he suffered only soft-tissue injuries, and his claim settled pre-suit for $85,000.

The defendant disputed the relationship of some medical bills to the crash and that the plaintiff’s post-concussion syndrome symptoms resulted from the crash rather than the chemotherapy she was receiving to treat metastasized colon cancer.

The case was mediated shortly after suit was filed but before discovery began.


Type of action: Negligence-automobile crash

Injuries alleged: The plaintiff was unresponsive at the scene and required extrication from her vehicle. She suffered a subarachnoid hemorrhage with brief loss of consciousness; a broken nose and left mandible; lacerations on her face, head, and arms; and chest-wall trauma with difficulty breathing. Surgery to repair her broken jaw entrapped a nerve resulting in facial numbness.

Name of case: Thompson v. Bowling

Court: Hopewell Circuit Court

Case no.: CL2019-289

Name of mediator: Hon. Diane M. Strickland (Ret.)

Date resolved: Aug. 30, 2019

Special damages: $142,452.20 in past medical bills; $22,114.00 estimated cost of surgery to remove plate in jaw

Verdict or settlement: Settlement

Amount: $400,000

Attorneys for plaintiff: Joanna L. Suyes and James A. McCauley, Richmond