Virginia: Car Accident – a Lawyer’s Compelling

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On November 23, 2011, Mr. Waterman filed Plaintiff’s Motion to Compel in the car crash case of Cooper v. Tigges, No. CL 63034 in Circuit Court for Loudoun County, Virginia. He seeks the contemporaneous witness statements of both drivers taken in the routine and ordinary course of insurance business by Defendant’s insurer, United Services Automobile Association (“USAA”), which has a $300,000.00 automobile liability insurance policy plus a $1,000,000.00 umbrella insurance policy for a total of $1,300,000.00 in insurance coverage.

Defendant’s initial discovery responses in Cooper did not even acknowledge the existence of either vehicle accident statement; although Defendant asserted blanket claims of privilege, no “privilege log” was provided. Moreover, when Mr. Waterman specifically inquired about the existence of such statements, Defendant’s counsel stated that by oversight they forgot to mention the contemporaneous statement of the driver of Plaintiff, who suffered more than $200,000.00 in medical expenses; but that there was not one for Defendant driver.

Mr. Waterman then underscored to Defendant’s counsel his expectation that USAA had a statement for Defendant too in Cooper, and that he would be deposing and subpoenaing USAA about the same and possible destruction if its existence continued to be denied. Twelve days later, Defendant’s counsel acknowledged the existence of Defendant’s car accident statement, but withheld it along with the other contemporaneous statement under continued claim of privilege.

Tentatively, Plaintiff’s Motion to Compel in Cooper is scheduled for hearing in Loudoun County on December 2, 2011. Mr. Waterman handles vehicle collision, medical malpractice, and other personal injury and wrongful death cases across Virginia.