Type of action: Personal injury
Injuries alleged: Concussion and insomnia
Tried before: Mediation
Name of judge or mediator: Judge Thomas S. Shadrick (Ret.)
Verdict or settlement: Settlement
Attorneys for plaintiff (and city): Seth R. Lindberg, Peter C. Burnett and Donald C. Culkin, Leesburg
Description of case: The plaintiff was driving his car, alone, on a two-lane road in Loudoun County. According to the plaintiff, a tractor-trailer was blocking his lane of travel in a “jack knife” position. The defendant tractor-trailer driver was backing into a nearby business to make a delivery. He hit the trailer at an estimated speed of 45 mph, which caused him to suffer a period of unconsciousness and a possible concussion. Afterwards, the plaintiff reported headaches, loss of concentration, anxiety and insomnia. Plaintiff’s medical records reflected similar symptoms prior to the collision.
In an unusual twist, soon after the accident the plaintiff’s and defendant’s insurance carriers engaged in arbitration to determine property damage responsibility. The arbitrator ruled that the plaintiff was at fault in causing the collision. The arbitrator entered an award requiring the plaintiff’s insurance carrier to pay $100,000 in damages for the property damage to the trailer. Apparently, this fact was not shared with defense counsel until shortly before the mediation.
The plaintiff filed suit in Loudoun County Circuit Court. After paper discovery was exchanged, the parties agreed to mediation. The defense argued that the plaintiff was contributorily negligent and argued that the plaintiff’s complaints were not proximately caused by the collision. After a full day of mediation, the plaintiff agreed to accept $150,000 to settle the matter. Also unusual was an apparent insurance arrangement that, despite no retention provision, imposed litigation costs and attorney fees on the insured.
Seth R. Lindberg, counsel for the plaintiff, provided case information.[022-T-036]