Lawyers Weekly (VLW) reported a case that confirms Herndon Reston area brain injury lawyer Doug Landau’s assertion that there is often videotape of an accident, or its aftermath, if you know where to look. The Virginia case report stated that the defendant’s tractor trailer smashed into the rear of plaintiff’s vehicle and several other cars waiting at a stop light. The injured victim’s counsel was able to obtain a video of the actual crash from a convenience store surveillance camera, which was adjacent to the intersection. Defendant’s driver admitted to state police investigators that he had fallen asleep at the wheel. Toxicology tests revealed Oxycodone (a strong pain killer drug) in the defendant driver’s blood.
The state police were also able to download the data from the tractor’s ECM or “black box.” Plaintiff’s ECM expert testified that the defendants’ tractor trailer was traveling approximately 64.5 mph (in a 50 mph zone) at the time of initial impact and had not applied his brakes prior to the collision. At the time of the crash, plaintiff was a passenger in a vehicle traveling to the local community services board for substance abuse counseling. As a result of the impact, plaintiff’s seat was broken and he struck his head on the headrest. Plaintiff was transported to a nearby hospital by ambulance.
The ER physician diagnosed the plaintiff with a closed head injury with edema to the occipital portion of his head, a cervical strain and a right shoulder contusion. Plaintiff followed up with an orthopedist for his neck and shoulder injuries, but he continued to suffer from daily headaches. Plaintiff was referred to a local neurologist, who diagnosed plaintiff with post-concussion syndrome and prescribed medication for his head pain. Plaintiff also complained of problems with attention and concentration and visual disturbance when reading. Plaintiff returned to work as a laborer tying steel. The plaintiff claimed $14,073 in past medical bills and a life care plan of $773,250 for his future needs. The case settled at mediation for $900,000 due to the excellent efforts of the lawyers involved.