According to a published article in the Virginia Lawyers Weekly, on December 27, 2005 at 3:45 am, Jerome Stewart of Fairfax County, Virginia (VA) was in an accident that left him a quadriplegic.
A garbage truck, owned by Potomac Disposal Services of Virginia LLC, collided with Stewart’s 1990 Jeep Cherokee while he delivered The Washington Post. His spinal cord at level C5-C6 was damaged, leaving him with no use of his arms or legs. The injured man, who is 60 years old, is now dependent and has been in a hospital, rehabilitation center or nursing home since the wreck. He has suffered everything under the sun including pneumonia, sepsis, urinary tract infection and bed sores. With no health insurance, his bills were piling up and exceeded $1 million. The Washington Post’s subcontractor fortunately had a workers compensation policy that helped Stewart get the medical treatment he needed.
Stewart’s attorneys had a few plans to prove that he was not negligent. The driver, who had hit him, it was discovered, had been involved in a few minor accidents before. Because of the size of these trucks, the truck drivers had been trained to avoid backing up anywhere if possible. The judge allowed this evidence about the earlier problems the driver had. There shouldn’t have been a problem to begin with because the truck driver could have maneuvered the truck through a parking lot without hitting the plaintiff.
Zurich American Insurance Company offered to settle the case for $2 million but Liberty Insurance Underwriters Inc., the excess insurer, initially refused to offer any money from their $25 million coverage. Recently, Stewart’s attorneys continued mediation with the insurance companies and settled at $12 million.
For more information on this subject, please refer to our section on Car and Motorcycle Accidents.