Type of action: Personal injury
Injuries alleged: Subdural hematoma and strains of her shoulder and back; neck and hip pain; post-concussion symptoms
Date resolved: 6/14/2021
Special damages: $53,130.69 in medical bills
Verdict or settlement: Settlement
Attorneys for plaintiff (and city): Eugene C. Miller, Fairfax
Insurance carrier: Selective Insurance Company of America
Description of case: Client was an 83-year-old grandmother who went to a local elementary school to see her disabled grandson at an end of the year party. It was also a primary election day and the school was a polling place. It was sunny, hot and windy. After she checked in at the office, she went back outside to walk to where the students were playing games. At that time, a canopy tent being used by some volunteers for a particular political organization in front of the school was lifted by a gust of wind and blown into her, knocking her down onto the concrete where she struck her head. The canopy tent had not been secured or weighted down. She was taken by ambulance to the hospital where she was diagnosed with a subdural hematoma and strains of her shoulder and low back. She also suffered neck and hip pains. She had some post-concussion symptoms. She was admitted to the hospital for three days and was discharged to inpatient rehabilitation for eight days. After discharge home, she had in-home therapy for five weeks. Following that, she had outpatient physical therapy for five months for her shoulder. Her subdural hematoma resolved as did her post-concussion symptoms and her other injuries. In terms of her prior physical condition, in 2016, she had won two gold medals and set records in the Northern Virginia Senior Olympics in the shot put and javelin throw for her age group. In 2017, she competed in the Senior National Games in Alabama, placing in both events. She was training to compete in the 2019 NOVA Senior Olympics in September when this incident occurred and sidelined her athletic career which was a great disappointment to her. Her medical expenses were $53,130.69. She had no lost wages other than a small amount of money that she was paid by her daughter to watch her grandson. The first adjuster initially offered $60,000, claiming that it wasn’t that windy and that a gust of wind enough to lift the canopy tent was unforeseeable. Historical meteorological records, photos and videos contradicted that position. The adjuster also claimed that her shoulder problems pre-existed the incident but the client’s athletic records contradicted that position. The adjuster also sent the bills (including unrelated bills) and records to an outside vendor for a review and the adjuster then reduced the specials by subtracting the unrelated bills that we didn’t claim from the total of the related bills. Suit was filed in response but not served and a SDT was issued to the insurer. They produced their investigative file that provided all the evidence we needed. We went through two more adjusters and finally, after serving several defendants, defense counsel convinced the carrier to settle for $150,000.