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Pilot injured in head-on crash on runway — policy limits settlement

Type of action: Airplane crash

Injuries alleged: Left mandible fracture; humerus fracture, concussion with loss of consciousness; bicondylar fracture of the left tibia; left shoulder scapula fracture; multiple lacerations to the head, lip and elbow; tooth fracture; multiple missing teeth

Special damages: $295,584.85 in past medical bills, $28,697.28 in lost wages

Offer: Policy limits

Verdict or settlement: Settlement

Amount: Policy limits

Attorney for plaintiff (and city): Cory R. Ford, Leesburg

Description of case: In October 2017 the plaintiff and the defendant were participating in an aerobatics flying competition practice session at a small non-towered airport in Virginia. The plaintiff, whose turn was first, finished his practice and returned to the airfield. The defendant, who practiced next, had to return to the airfield due to the presence of an object in his cockpit. The defendant landed in the opposite direction of the plaintiff, who was already touching down, and a head-on collision occurred. By the time both planes were landing, each had a naturally “nose high” position of the aerobatic aircraft that prevented any forward visibility by the pilots, preventing them from seeing the impending collision. The plaintiff alleged several violations of regulations applicable to aircraft operators. Despite his injuries, the plaintiff has returned to flying competitive aerobatics.

Plaintiff suffered multiple traumatic injuries, including loss of teeth, a broken jaw, a tibial plateau fracture requiring a closed reduction and placement of an external fixator of his left proximal tibia, ORIF of his right mandible parasymphyseal fracture, ORIF of his mandibular alveolar segment fracture with Erich Arch Bar and tension banding, numerous physical therapy sessions as well as numerous scar revision therapy sessions.