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Wheel fell off truck after routine servicing — $200,000 verdict

Type of action: Negligence, personal injury

Injuries alleged: Concussion, subdural hematoma

Name of case: Sheckels v. Handley Motor Company Inc.

Court: Fairfax County Circuit Court

Case no.: CL 2020-11058

Tried before: Jury

Name of judge or mediator: Judge Penney S. Azcarate

Date resolved: 2/10/2022

Special damages: Medicals of $21,500; lost wages of $24,000

Demand: $75,000

Offer: $125,000

Verdict or settlement: Verdict

Amount: $200,000

Attorney for plaintiff (and city): Peter M. Baskin, Fairfax

Description of case: Plaintiff went to defendant dealership, Safford Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram Fiat, on May 21, 2019 for routine 10,000 mile servicing of his new Dodge pickup truck. The included a tire/wheel rotation. Upon completion of the service, plaintiff drove from Safford, and within two miles of leaving the dealership, the left rear wheel separated from the vehicle, became wedged underneath the rear of the vehicle, lifting it sharply off the pavement and immediately causing the rear to drop to the pavement, and abruptly stop in the roadway causing plaintiff to strike his head on an interior grab handle. Later in the day, plaintiff developed the classic symptoms of a concussion and subdural hematoma. Symptoms fully resolved after six months. The principle claim for damages focused on past, ongoing and future mental anguish. Defendant contended that, upon plaintiff’s full recovery from the concussion six months later, mental anguish damages were not thereafter appropriate. Liability was admitted by defendant, leaving damages as the sole issue for jury determination.

Peter M. Baskin, counsel for the plaintiff, provided case information.