Articles Posted in Virginia

Virginia is a big state, and Northern Virginia is one of the most densely populated metropolitan areas in the country. Thousands of medical malpractice cases get filed in Virginia’s civil courts each year. Like all states, Virginia has its own unique common law rules and statutory laws governing medical professionals’ liability and patients’ right to sue them. Although Miller & Zois is based in Maryland, we regularly handle cases in Virginia through a close working partnership with local counsel.

Anyone considering a medical malpractice lawsuit in Virginia needs to be familiar with the state’s malpractice laws because they can significantly impact medical medical malpractice lawsuit in Virginia needs to be familiar with the state’s malpractice laws because they can have a significant impact on the value of your case or whether you have the right to sue at all.

Virginia Medical Malpractice Settlements and Jury Payouts

Here are 5 interesting Virginia jury verdicts in 2015 that you might find interesting:

$13,000 Settlement – A 31-year-old man is driving his car on the highway at a rate of around 60 mph. He approaches an intersection where a woman driving a pickup truck is attempting to virginia jury verdictsmake a turn in the middle of the intersection. She starts to travel out into the intersection but stops upon seeing another driver’s car trying to make a left turn in front of her. Contact was unavoidable at that point, and the woman clips the man’s tires. He immediately complains of neck pain and is transported to the hospital via EMS, where doctors diagnose him with soft tissue injuries. He sues both of the involved drivers, claiming that they were negligent in the operation of their vehicles. The defendants contend that plaintiffs injuries were actually from a motorcycle accident that he sustained years ago. Prior to trial, the parties settle for $13,000.

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In Funkhouser v. Ford Motor, the Virginia Supreme Court upheld a products liability wrongful death suit against Ford arising from an electrical fire in the Ford Windstar.


The facts in this one are just plain awful. Three-year-old twins were playing in their parents’ 2001 Ford Windstar. The engine was off and the keys were not in the ignition. As a parent, you really do feel pretty safe in that situation with three-year-old’s because the cars are made to be kid-proof on that level. A fire erupted in the passenger compartment of the van. One child suffered significant burns and died later that day.

In August 2007, the administrator of Emily’s estate filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Ford alleging a design defect in the electrical connector behind the dashboard caused the fire. However, after Ford was granted a motion to exclude evidence of other Windstar fires, the lawsuit was dismissed. But the family refiled the wrongful death lawsuit against Ford, alleging negligence and breach of implied warranty. The lawsuit claimed that Ford failed to adequately warn consumers about the fire hazards in Windstar vans when they are parked with the engine off and no key in the ignition.

Plaintiff filed a wrongful death product liability lawsuit against Ford, contending that Ford did not properly warn consumers about the fire hazard in Windstar vans when they are parked with the engine off and no key in the ignition.

Evidence that Ford Knew

Plaintiff wanted to introduce evidence of seven other similar fires in the wrongful death lawsuit. The point being that since Ford knew of the problem, whatever the cause might be, it should tell consumers. Because other Ford Windstar fires that happened before this tragedy show Ford was aware or should have been aware of the danger of electrical fires in the dashboard of the Windstar vans when the engine was off and the keys were not in the ignition. Ford countered that the plaintiff did not prove that the causes of these other fires were substantially similar to the cause of the subject fire.

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You get a big verdict. Defendant’s big bone of contention on appeal is an evidentiary issue. When this happens, and it has happened to me a number of times, you are feeling pretty good about your chances. Particularly when the standard is – as it is for most evidentiary issues – an abuse of discretion.

There were some Virginia lawyers probably feeling the same way. That is until last week when the Virginia high court flipped their $18 million verdict against Exxon.

Plaintiff got a wrongful death verdict against Exxon in a lawsuit involving a man who developed mesothelioma while working on Exxon ships. Suffice to say, the jury was not happy with Exxon, awarding $12 million in compensatory damages, $12.5 million in punitive damages and nearly a half a million in medical damages. The punitive damage award was knocked back to $5 million, still leaving the plaintiff with a nearly $18 million verdict.

You’d be hard pressed to find anyone in the Delmarva area, or anyone anywhere for that matter, that doesn’t recognize the names Yeardley Love or George Huguely.

In case you’ve had your head in the sand and haven’t heard these names, the story here is tragic. Yeardley Love was a popular and beautiful University of Virginia lacrosse player, whose was killed in an awful and vicious manner. Love’s former boyfriend, George Huguely, was convicted of her death and is currently awaiting sentencing.

It is being reported that Yeardley Love’s family has filed a lawsuit against George Huguely, and is asking for $29.45 million dollars in compensatory damages, with another $1 million being sought in punitive damages. The lawsuit states that Huguely “acted with such indifference to Love that his conduct constituted an utter disregard of caution amounting to a complete neglect of safety for Love.” Moreover, the suit said that Huguely “was aware, or should have been aware’ that Love was severely injured after the physical altercation that would result in her death.” The suit names Love’s sisters as beneficiaries of her estate.

This blog post was originally what I have a the bottom of this post now: a quick summary of a large verdict against IKEA in Virginia.  Updating this post in 2020, I realized people would be more interested in seeing sample settlements and verdicts against IKEA than short summary of a case that is years old.


IKEA Verdicts and Settlements

  • 2020, Pennsylvania: $46,000,000 Settlement. A 2-year-old boy died of suffocation after an IKEA MALM dresser fell over and trapped him. The dresser was recalled because its defective design rendered it unstable. His parents purchased it before the recall announcement. They sued IKEA, alleging that the dresser’s faulty design caused their son’s death. The parents claimed that the dresser did not comply with national safety standards. IKEA countered their claims by arguing that the dresser’s instructions recommended anchoring it to a wall to prevent tip-overs. The parents refuted IKEA, arguing that the instructions did not advise that it was necessary to anchor a dresser to a wall to prevent it from tipping over. Despite being members of IKEA’s rewards program, the parents also alleged that IKEA failed to contact them about the defect and recall. This case settled for $46,000,000. The parents, bless them, donated $1,000,000 of their award to three public safety organizations that protect children from defective products.

Virginia Lawyers Weekly reports on an insane case in Virginia where an emergency room doctor in Hampton received a defense verdict.

After a night of partying, the decedent and his friend got into a dispute over whether the decedent would drive drunk from Hampton back home to Atlanta with his 4-year-old son. The best friend did what best friends usually do – he stabbed him in the thigh.

The decedent was taken to the emergency room. Plaintiff’s malpractice lawsuit claimed that the emergency room doctor should have sought out detailed information about the length of the knife. The defendant was told only that the decedent was stabbed with a knife and that the length of the blade was unknown. The defendant assumed it was a small blade.

The Baltimore Injury Lawyer Blog has a post on a Maryland Daily Record article looking at how President-Elect Barack Obama might change the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals which includes Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina.

I’ve spent far more time thinking about how President Obama will change the country than his impact on lawyers or even my own clients. But President Obama will nominate judges that I will stand before and argue. While I think President Bush has nominated a lot of good judges, this fact makes me a little happier to be a lawyer today. I’m not saying every plaintiffs’ lawyer will have a better shot at success in front of judges nominated by Obama. I just think they are likely to be fair and reasonable judges.

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