The City of Norfolk Virginia settled with the mother of a teenager who suffered permanent brain damage after being struck by a city truck for $7,500,000 one week prior to trial. Because the teenage Plaintiff will never be able to work or care for himself, this lawsuit was filed on his behalf by his mother.
In December 2006, Plaintiff was 17 years old. He was standing in the median, on his way to a job interview. He was hit by a truck, owned and operated by the Defendant City of Norfolk. Plaintiff suffered a serious brain injury requiring three months of hospitalization. The Plaintiff’s sustained severe brain injury swelled, which necessitated the removal of a portion of the skull to relieve the pressure. Plaintiff was left with the mental capacity of an 11 year old and was not expected to be able to hold a job or live by himself at any point in the future. At the time of this settlement, plaintiff lived with and was cared for by his mother.
Defense lawyers for the City of Norfolk maintained that the physical evidence and the testimony of at least one eyewitness indicated that the teenager was running across the street at the time he was struck and not in the median as the Plaintiff contended. Defendant City of Norfolk insisted it was immune because their truck driver was engaged within the scope of the his work at the time of the accident and that his work, which was almost exclusively limited to the maintenance and repair of recreational facilities, parks, and beaches, was necessary and essential to Norfolk’s operation of such facilities.
Defense counsel maintained that the City enjoys immunity pursuant to Virginia Code Section 15.2 under these circumstances. The lawyers for the City of Norfolk filed a special plea (to dismiss the injured victim’s case), but were not heard on it prior to settlement. In many cases, Virginia cities, towns, counties and municipalities are given partial or total immunity from lawsuits for injuries caused by their employees who are carrying out certain functions for these governmental entities. If a truck, bus or other vehicle owned or operated by the government has injured you or someone you know, call for legal help right away. There are strict time limits that give less time to the injured victims and their families than what is accorded plaintiffs in other personal injury cases.