Type of action: Auto accident
Injuries alleged: Concussion with headaches, photosenstitvity, difficult with concentration and neck pain
Name of case: Hicks v. Johnson
Court: Henrico County Circuit Court
Case no.: CL20002597
Tried before: Jury
Name of judge or mediator: Judge Richard S. Wallerstein Jr.
Date resolved: 2/1/2023
Special damages: $34,520.60 in past medicals; $157,635 in contested future damages
Verdict or settlement: Verdict
Attorneys for plaintiff: Jonathan E. Halperin and Darrell J. Getman, Glen Allen
Description of case: On Feb. 1, 2023, plaintiff Melanie Hicks secured a jury verdict in Henrico County against the defendant, Luke Johnson, in a case involving a rear-end motor vehicle collision. On April 23, 2018, defendant was driving a Ford F250 pickup truck when he rear-ended Hicks’ SUV at the intersection of Staples Mill Road and Old Staples Mill Road in Henrico County. The impact of the collision produced very little damage to the vehicles — only a few scuff marks were visible on the rear bumper of Hicks’ vehicle. Plaintiff alleged that Hicks sustained a mild traumatic brain injury, or MTBI, from the collision, which caused Hicks to experience headaches, neck pain, photosensitivity and difficulty in concentration in the four-plus years since the collision took place. Hicks worked a full day on the date of the collision, only seeking medical treatment at Patient First when she returned home in the evening.
Plaintiff presented $34,520.60 in past medical bills and $157,635 in hotly contested future bills. Plaintiff argued that she would require occipital and facial nerve-block injections for the rest of her life. The need for these injections was supported by the testimony of Dr. Anthony Julius, plaintiff’s treating neurologist.
The defense disputed plaintiff’s future medical treatment through an expert neurosurgeon, Donald G. Hope, M.D., from Northern Virginia. Hope testified that plaintiff did not sustain any brain injury from the collision. However, during cross examination, Hope admitted that he has earned well over $7 million in the past six years working for defense lawyers. In closing, plaintiff asked the jury to accept Julius’ testimony and reject the testimony of the “$7 million man.” The jury returned a verdict of $300,000 in approximately 55 minutes.
Jonathan E. Halperin, plaintiff’s counsel, provided case information.[023-T-016]