$4,683,500 settlement for a tractor-trailer crash

The plaintiff was driving from Ohio, where she lived, to visit family in Virginia. At around 4:20 am, the tractor-trailer accident took place on Interstate 81 South in Virginia.

The defendant was driving a 66 foot-long tractor-trailer, and was under the impression that he had missed his exit. Rather than taking the next exit one-quarter mile further south, which was the legal option, he stopped his tractor-trailer to make an illegal U-turn using an “authorized vehicle only” cut-through in the median – meant for first responder vehicles.

The engine control module (ECM) reported that the plaintiff was driving the speed limit, which was 70 m.p.h. When seeing the stopped tractor-trailer, she hit her brakes 2.5 seconds prior to the collision, reducing her speed to 36 m.p.h. at impact. This underride type of collision caused extensive damage to her vehicle, and to the plaintiff herself.

The plaintiff 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 also broke nearly every bone in her face.

She was air-lifted to the nearest level 1 trauma center, and underwent open reduction internal fixation of her facial fractures. She later underwent naso-septal reconstruction surgery and an additional procedure to remove hardware in her face. The plaintiff is now legally blind in her right eye, has lost her sense of smell and taste, has constant tinnitus in her right ear, and experiences daily headaches.

Although the recovery from her traumatic brain injuries was nothing short of miraculous, she continues to experience memory changes, increased frustration, balance issues, and decreased motivation.

The case was mediated virtually and settled one week later.

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