Published: August 24, 2009
On Nov. 16, 2007, at approximately 12:30 p.m., the plaintiff was operating a 1994 Buick Le Sabre and traveling west on Route 360 in Chesterfield County, approaching the intersection with Spring Run Rd. The plaintiff was traveling at 45 mph. The defendant was traveling east on Hull Street when he lost control of his vehicle, crossed over the median, went airborne, entered the plaintiff’s lane of travel and struck her vehicle head on.
The plaintiff was knocked unconsciousness and unable to extricate herself from the vehicle. An eyewitness who was traveling behind the plaintiff stopped and rushed to the plaintiff’s aid. Since the plaintiff’s vehicle was on fire, the eyewitness removed the plaintiff from the vehicle and carried her to safety. The plaintiff was unconscious for approximately five minutes. When she woke, the plaintiff had no recall of the accident.
The plaintiff was 61 years old at the time of the accident. She was taken by ambulance to the VCU Medical Center. She sustained five fractured ribs, a left hemopneumothorax, a left ulnar fracture, fractures of lumbar vertebra L2-L4, a pneumomediastinum, a subgaleal hemotoma, and mild traumatic brain injury. The plaintiff was treated conservatively and did not require any surgical treatment for her ulnar fracture or other orthopedic injuries. Dr. O’Shannick testified that the plaintiff sustained a permanent mild traumatic brain injury with ongoing cognitive deficits.
However, due to the plaintiff’s aversion to psychiatric or psychological treatment, Dr. O’Shannick opined that cognitive therapy would not be beneficial to the plaintiff and that no further treatment was needed. The plaintiff’s special damages were $43,358. Two-thirds of the special damages were for the initial ER and hospital stay after the accident. All of the defendants’ experts agreed that the plaintiff sustained a mild traumatic brain injury in the accident.
However, the defendants’ experts opined that the plaintiff had recovered from the brain injury and that any ongoing cognitive issues were related to aging of her brain. The defendants’ experts opined that that the brain MRI taken after the accident showed significant atrophy and small vessel ischemic disease.