Virginia was a 53-year old nurse who was rear-ended by a semi-truck on highway 94 at highway speeds. She was hit so hard that her vehicle was pushed into a truck in front of her which pushed into another car, thereby totaling all three vehicles.
At the scene Virginia was disoriented but it is unknown whether she lost consciousness. She was taken by ambulance to the hospital. She had significant treatment over the next several months for a mild traumatic brain injury and neck and back injuries. She now has trigger point injections every three months for ongoing neck and back pain along with occipital nerve blocks for intense headaches resulting after the traumatic brain injury. She takes significant medications for pain, headaches and other complications form the mild traumatic brain injury. Her home life and relationships were affected considerably. While she is able to work, it requires an heightened level of attention and focus resulting in worsening fatigue and requiring significant rest on her off days. She also suffered from PTSD and anxiety as a result of the crash and her injuries. She also has some vision loss in one eye in the lower right quadrant.
Virginia was just starting a second job as a nurse where she anticipated working substantially more than full time between the two jobs. Following her recovery from this crash, she was out of work for almost 10 months and could only get back to 24 hours a week, which is a permanent restriction requiring a day off between shifts due to her traumatic brain injury and significant fatigue. Her wage loss was substantial. Three coworkers and supervisors testified as to her significant problems at work and changes in her previous abilities as a nurse before she was injured in this crash. Her husband and daughter also testified as to her changes in personality, home life and cognitive deficiencies. Her husband suffered significant damages for loss of consortium as well, due to his wife’s changes in personalities and abilities.
Virginia’s neurologist, psychologist, and internist all wrote reports confirming the ongoing and permanent nature of her brain injury, PTSD and anxiety condition, fatigue, and neck and back injuries.
The trucking company admitted the crash was the fault of its driver, but refused to agree that her injuries were as significant as alleged or that she had a significant wage loss. They hired a neuropsychologist who stated that Virginia did not have an ongoing cognitive injury from her traumatic brain injury. They also argued the ongoing damages in the case were fairly minimal and that she had fully recovered from the injuries she suffered in the crash.
Partner, Rich Ruohonen, represented Virginia from the beginning of the case and worked on the case for four years. The parties agreed to enter binding arbitration on the case with a three-attorney panel to make the decision regarding the amount of damages in this case. The case was tried to this panel of arbitrators in a full-day hearing and resulted in an significant award for Virginia and her husband. The following amounts were awarded:
Past Medical Expenses: $116,784.10
Past loss of earnings: $400,000
Future earning capacity loss: $550,000
Future medical expenses: $100,000
Past pain, disability, emotional distress and embarrassment: $500,000
Future pain, disability, emotional distress and embarrassment: $750,000
Past Loss of Consortium: $225,000
Future Loss of Consortium: $400,000
Total Award in this case was $3,041,784.10, which will compensate Virginia for her significant loss resulting from being hit by this semi-truck. Virginia now recovered a significant portion of her lost wages and future losses, which will help her go on her with her life. This was a four-year battle with the trucking company, which finally resulted in a tremendous and deserving award for Virginia and her husband.