Reckless Airport Hotel Van Driver Causes Passenger’s Traumatic Brain Injury and Stroke

In an interesting case recently reported, an airport traveler was a passenger in a hotel van traveling from Reagan National Airport to a hotel in Arlington, Virginia. No seat belts were available in the van. The van operator was allegedly reckless while driving and hit a curb or made an abrupt stop.

The facts of this 2017 case, which just settled, are similar to the Abrams Landau injury law team’s widely reported case of Alexander vs. DoubleTree Hotel, which also involved an airport hotel courtesy van passenger being permanently injured by the unsafe driving of a hotel employee.

Sometimes when travelers get off the plane and leave the airport, the hazards of their trips do not end. Transportation off the runway and away from the terminals at Washington Dulles International Airport and Reagan National Airport, if provided by unsafe drivers, can be more dangerous than traveling on the “Air Operations Area” (AOA) or flying.

In the present case, the passenger also struck his head, either on the side widow or pillar of the fan. The plaintiff passenger’s claim was supported by the deposition testimony of the passenger seated immediately behind him, especially as to the reckless driving that caused the plaintiff to strike his head.

The injured passenger, who initially complained about neck pain, sought treatment at the emergency room within hours of the incident. He was ultimately diagnosed by symptoms and from EEG with post-concussion syndrome and traumatic brain injury (TBI). This innocent plaintiff notably suffered grade-10 stroke within 86 days of the December 2017 van injury.

The causal link of stroke to head injury and overall damages were disputed by the insurance company lawyers. Notably, this plaintiff had also made a successful TBI claim after a February 2014 crash when he was a passenger in a taxi in California. In addition, the plaintiff gave notice of a subsequence head injury occurring in September 2018 while being transported in a passenger van in Wisconsin.

In cases like this, and Alexander vs. DoubleTree Hotel, the insurance defense lawyers will make use of all prior: medical conditions, treatment, claims, injuries and litigation against the injured plaintiff. It is critical to make sure that the treating doctors who may testify, as well as other expert witnesses, be aware of the background so that their opinions may be based on accurate medical histories in order to withstand cross examination by the insurance defense lawyers paid by the hour to combat, defeat or at least diminish the disabled plaintiff’s claims.

According to attorney Doug Landau’s friend, and experienced DC injury trial lawyer John Lopatto, the principal reason that the case resolved was because of a referral for a settlement conference to sitting Judge Louise M. DiMatteo of the Arlington County Circuit Court. Judge DiMatteo mediated a settlement 10 days before the trial date. The injured van passenger had medical bills and Special Damages totaling $34,000, and he has to retain the following expert witnesses: neurologist, neuropsychologist, neuro-optometrist, and an orthopedic surgeon.

The insurance defense team retained experts in neurosurgery, psychiatry and neurology. Interestingly, lawyer Landau has served as an expert witness for the Lopatto Law Firm in several cases over the years, as an expert’s opinion on critical elements of the case are required in order to go forward in many courts.

If you or someone you know has been injured as the result of an accident on or traveling to or from the airport, aircraft, or on an airline shuttle, and there are questions about what laws apply, please give us a call (703-796-9555) or email us at Abrams Landau, Ltd.