A 24-year-old Silver Spring man who was paralyzed from the shoulders down in a motorcycle accident three years ago was awarded $1.5 million yesterday in settlement of a damage suit he filed in Prince George's County.
The settlement, described as among the largest ever in the county, will go to Dennis Blush, whose motorcycle collided on Aug. 31, 1977, with the rear of a van being towed on Ardmore-Ardwick Road in Landover.
Blush sued two employes of Potomac Ford Truck Sales, Inc., who were towing the van.
After several months out-of-court negotiations, the employes' insurance company, Fireman's Fund, agreed to a settlement that will provide Blush $3,650 a month for the next 25 years. In addition, the insurance company will pay Bush $140,000 immediately to help him buy a specially equipped van and house Blush's legal fees totaling $280,000, will also be borne by the insurance company.
"I'm just happy everything worked out and we settled," Blush said yesterday. He also said he was relieved that the damages agreement was reached before the case went to court.
"You can either win or lose in court, so going in would have been a lot of stress and a lot of worry," Blush said. "This way I have a sure thing in front of me."
Blush said he is considering enrolling in college next fall but would not say where.
Since the accident Blush has received psychological and vocational rehabilitation to help him adjust to life in wheelchair.
The accident occurred when Blush failed to see a slack 20-foot chain connecting the tow truck and the disabled van. As Blush attempted to drive between the two vehicles, the tow truck moved forward, pulling the chain taut direcatly in his path. He swerved to avoid flipping over it and collided with the van.
Albert Brault, a lawyer for the two truck company employes, called the negotiated settlement "fair."