In April 2022 a Fairfax County jury awarded more than $4M to Brian Glass's client following a head-on collision with a drunk driver. The crash happened in Burke, Virginia, in September 2018. The Defendant was charged with a DUI, but escaped punishment for more than three years before a conviction in early 2022.
The defendant's blood alcohol concentration at the time of the crash was 0.165, which is more than twice the legal limit. Despite that fact, he and his lawyer from Elephant Insurance argued to a jury that he had only consumed two beers on the evening of the crash. The responding police officer testified that an empty bottle of Fireball whiskey was found in the driver's side well of his vehicle after the crash.
Our client suffered massive injuries to her abdomen including a hemothorax, torn colon, and torn ileum that had to be surgically repaired. The tear in the colon did not heal and required a colostomy during her monthlong stay in the hospital. She has a permanent injury today in the form of a large hernia in her abdomen.
Trial was conducted in Fairfax County. After listening to two days of evidence about her personal injury claim, the jury awarded $3,240,000 in compensatory damages and $1,000,000 in punitive damages. In addition, they awarded interest on the sum of $1,000,000 from the date of the crash.
We believe that this punitive damages award is one of the largest awards of punitive damages for a drunk driving case in the history of Virginia. To obtain punitive damages in Virginia in a drunk driving case, the Plaintiff must show that the Defendant's blood alcohol concentration was over a 0.15 mg/DL; that he knew or should have known that he was too intoxicated to operate a motor vehicle; and that his intoxication was a proximate cause of the crash. The jury in our case found that all three were true.