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Verdict Amount: $175,000
Attorney for plaintiff: David M. Williams, Fredericksburg – Allen, Allen, Allen & Allen
By: Virginia Lawyers Weekly
Published: June 22, 2015
On Oct. 10, 2012, the 72-year-old defendant was pulling into a parking spot at a local bank when she lost control of her SUV, jumped the sidewalk and crashed into the bank’s vestibule. The impact occurred just as the plaintiff, a 47-year-old restaurant manager, was walking into the building to make a deposit for work. It happened so quickly, the plaintiff was unsure if she was stuck by the vehicle, the falling debris or both. The defendant initially claimed a sudden mechanical failure but subsequently admitted liability at trial.
The plaintiff was initially diagnosed with cervical and lumbar strains, hematomas to her right hip and right leg, a right knee sprain and a right foot contusion. The strains and the discoloration from the hematomas resolved quickly. However, the right hip and leg pain continued and she was eventually diagnosed with trochanteric bursitis of the right hip, a right leg neuropathic pain problem secondary to a cutaneous nerve injury caused by the blunt force trauma to that area, and post-traumatic plantar fasciitis. The right leg injury was the most significant and an MRI confirmed a Morel-Lavallee lesion, which is a post-traumatic soft-tissue closed degloving injury in which the subcutaneous tissues are separated. This resulted in persistent right leg/calf pain as well as a small area of numbness. The plaintiff also developed some anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms after the crash.
The plaintiff’s medical treatment was fairly limited. She was transported from the scene by rescue squad to a local emergency room where she was discharged a few hours later. The remainder of her care was provided by Fredericksburg Orthopaedic Associates, where she initially treated with a physician’s assistant. The PA referred her for a short course of physical therapy and she was discharged from treatment having returned to nearly all duties at work in mid-January 2013. Following a three-month gap in treatment, the plaintiff returned to the orthopedic practice and presented to Dr. David Sokolow due to continued right hip and leg pain. She was then referred for another round of physical therapy, lasting about a month, and received one injection for her hip. By November 2013, the plaintiff was released again with instructions to follow up if necessary. It was more than a year until she returned to Dr. Sokolow and again presented primarily with continued right leg pain/numbness. At that point, Dr. Sokolow determined that the residual symptoms were likely permanent. At its worst, the plaintiff rated the pain at 3/10.
The defense hired Dr. Wylie Lowery, a Woodbridge orthopedic physician, to perform a defense medical exam, but he was not called to testify. Dr. Lowery confirmed the injuries but did not feel any future treatment was necessary.
Past medical bills totaled $21,978.71. The plaintiff also claimed $10,362.57 in future medical expenses for the continued use of pain patches that Dr. Sokolow said would be necessary for the right leg injury. These future expenses were hotly contested as the plaintiff had only filled prescriptions for these pain patches two or three times since the crash. The plaintiff also made a small wage loss claim for the roughly three weeks she missed after the collision.
Allstate’s final offer was $60,000. A Stafford County jury deliberated approximately 45 minutes before returning a verdict for the plaintiff in the amount of $175,000.
Type of action: Personal injury – auto/pedestrian accident
Injuries alleged: Cervical and lumbar strains, hematomas to the hip and leg, knee sprain, nerve damage to the leg, trochanteric bursitis of the hip and a foot contusion/post-traumatic plantar fasciitis
Name of case: Powers v. Simborski
Court: Stafford County Circuit Court
Case no.: CL13001186-00
Tried before: Jury
Judge: Charles S. Sharp
Date resolved: May 19, 2015
Special damages: Past medicals – $21,978.70; future medicals – $10,362.57; wage loss – $2,873.14
Verdict or settlement: Verdict
Attorney for plaintiff: David M. Williams Jr., Stafford
Plaintiff’s experts: David Sokolow, M.D., orthopedics
Insurance carrier: Allstate