Tractor-trailer crash – $4,683,500

Location: Confidential
Injuries: Catastrophic Injuries, Traumatic Brain Injuries

The plaintiff in this case was driving from her home in Ohio to Virginia, to visit family. At around 4:20 am, the tractor-trailer accident occurred.

The defendant was driving a 66 foot-long tractor-trailer on Interstate 81 South. The defendant thought he had missed his exit. Instead of taking the next exit one-quarter mile further south, he stopped his tractor-trailer and attempted to make an illegal U-turn using an “authorized vehicle only” cut-through in the median. The engine control module (ECM) recorded that the plaintiff was driving the speed limit (70 m.p.h.), then hit her brakes 2.5 seconds prior to the collision, reducing her speed to 36 m.p.h. upon impact. The underride-type collision caused extensive damage to her vehicle.

The plaintiff broke nearly every bone in her face. She also sustained a traumatic brain injury with hemorrhages involving the frontal, temporal, parietal, and tentorial lobes, cervical spine fractures, transverse process fractures, a left first rib fracture, and a comminuted fracture of a bone in the right hand.

She was med-flighted to the nearest Level I Trauma Center where she underwent open reduction internal fixation of her facial fractures. She later underwent naso-septal reconstruction surgery and surgery to remove the left mid-face hardware. The plaintiff is now legally blind in her right eye, has lost her sense of smell and taste, experiences constant tinnitus in her right ear, and has daily headaches. Although she made a miraculous recovery from her brain injuries, she continues to experience memory changes, increased frustration, balance issues, and decreased motivation.

The case was mediated virtually on December 16, 2020 and settled one week later.