Bench trial verdict for child struck and dragged by drunk driver who then fled the scene

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The 5-year-old Plaintiff was playing in the parking lot at the apartment complex where he lived. The Defendant was operating a vehicle that struck plaintiff and dragged him several feet along the concrete.  The Defendant then fled the scene of the accident.  The young boy was left with multiple injuries after being struck by the intoxicated driver.  The child sustained a head injury, left ear injury, left shoulder injury, right ankle fracture and nose fracture.  The Plaintiff underwent several surgeries and claimed some mild learning disabilities, but he was expected to be able to care for himself in the future.

The Plaintiff alleged defendant was negligent in failing to maintain a proper lookout and operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.  The Defendant admitted he heard a thump and fled the scene because he was scared. The Defendant was criminally charged with felony hit-and-run and driving under the influence.  Both charges carry serious penalties under the law of the Commonwealth of Virginia.  The defendant had admitted liability (fault).  After a bench trial, the Rockingham County Circuit Court judge rendered a verdict of $600,000.  Former prosecutor Doug Landau points out that even where there are criminal and/or traffic court convictions, an injured plaintiff can still recover restitution under the Defendant’s insurance policy(s) in the civil case from the same incident.

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