A woman was recently awarded 12 million dollars for a brain injury from a 2003 fall. The Hampton, Virginia (VA) jury made this large award in a slip and fall accident case.
The large multi-million dollar jury award is probably among the highest in the slip and fall/premises liability category in Virginia (VA) history, and the plaintiff was represented by Stephen Smith, of Hampton, Virginia along with Edward Scher of Richmond, Virginia who did a fantastic job representing the plaintiff.
As an injury lawyer handling these cases for 25 years in Virginia (VA), I know what a good job this attorney did. The defendant was a gas station/convenient store operator with multiple locations in Hampton, Norfolk, Virginia Beach, and elsewhere throughout southeastern Virginia (VA). The store had allowed slippery algae to continue to grow unchecked on its sidewalk just outside the store creating a danger for customers.
Brain injury cases are among the most high stakes types of injuries that injury lawyers handle. The results of a brain injury can be so devastating causing life long problems including difficulty staying employed and having normal human relationships with others. In an appropriate case a Virginia jury will be very generous in compensating someone who has suffered a closed head injury also called a traumatic brain injury. Proving the injury which is often hard to diagnosis and demonstrate requires a very skilled trial lawyer. Our law firm has had significant experience in these kinds of cases. In fact the largest verdict ever in Virginia (VA) history for an individual plaintiff occurred in Manassass, Virginia (VA) in 2001 when our law firm teamed with Steve Smith (who handled the Hampton case above also) in representing a traumatic brain injury victim who had been hurt in a train wreck. To learn more about the real cases we have handled and some past results, please look at our law firm website .
The combination of a slip and fall with a brain injury is a very volatile combination which the insurance defense lawyers in the Hampton, Virginia (VA) case obviously failed to manage properly. Sometimes a jury in Virginia (VA) will be hesitant to hold a store owner responsible for their negligence, if there is a strong argument that the person who got hurt was partially at fault for their own injury. For this reason insurance companies are often stingier about resolving a slip and fall case fairly in states like Virginia (VA) that have contributory negligence as a complete bar to recovery. Insurance companies are also quite stingy in traumatic brain injury cases, especially mild or moderate traumatic brain injuries. Part of the reason insurance companies may not be willing to voluntarily pay a fair amount of compensation to a brain injury victim is that they often look fairly normal. To see them across the court room in a first impression you may not be able to realize a person has suffered post-concussive syndrome, closed head injury, or brain injury. The insurance companies hope that they can avoid paying significant compensation to brain injury victims because they hope that a Virginia (VA) jury’s first impression may be that the person looks fine. For this reason they may be more willing to let a case like the Hampton, Virginia (VA) case go to verdict. Luckily for the particular client in question, the jury was convinced that the store was at fault, that she was free from fault, and that the brain injury was real and devastating. As a result of this big verdict, hopefully the next time that an insurance company is evaluating a slip and fall case with a brain injury they may be more reasonable knowing that a Hampton, Virginia (VA) jury was willing to arrive at such a large verdict on such a case.
Authored By: Randall E. Appleton