A Federal Jury Awards the Plaintiff $ 3.8 Million in Compensatory Damages for a Tractor-Trailer Collision in Newton County, Georgia

sunset-run-1427546-mAt 11:00 a.m. on a clear day under dry and level road conditions on I-20 in Georgia, a tractor-trailer driven by Billy Ray Outlaw going 60-65 miles per hour slammed into another tractor-trailer driven by Allen Pace, a former war veteran. The impact, the equivalent of more than 4 million lbs. of force, was so hard that it caused the container that was on Pace’s rig to tip over on its side, it broke the 5th wheel of said rig, and it knocked the rig almost 300 ft. down the roadway causing the entire rig and its contents to be completely destroyed, and causing permanent physical injuries to Allen Pace.

As a result of the collision, Pace suffered from a head injury causing him to lose his memory of the accident, and a later spinal fusion that would leave him in constant pain and unable to do what he used to do as an active, young and in shape, outdoors person. Pace’s medical bills would total over $ 40,000.00. Outlaw, who it would show lived up to his name, was, according to eyewitness testimony and blood tests following the accident, popping xanax and other opiates, and washing them down with whiskey for five (5) days straight prior to the accident. Outlaw also had heart disease and sleep apnea and experts at trial would testify that he most likely fell asleep at the wheel due to the side effect of drowsiness from the medications that he was taking and that he, “was a physical wreck before this collision.”


The Jury in a Tractor-Trailer Logging Truck Case in Washington County, Georgia Awards $ 16.5 Million to the Plaintiffs

logging-in-bc-745925-mJust before 6:00 p.m. in November, 2011, Attorney Albert “Buddy” Dallas was traveling South on Georgia Highway 171 when the lane in which he was traveling was blocked by a logging truck owned by Bass Logging, Inc. and driven by Bennie Dixon. Unable to stop , Mr. Dallas’ pickup truck crashed into the logging truck causing Mr. Dallas to suffer broken vertebrae in his neck and back, and his shoulders were disconnected from his collarbone.

The injuries that Mr. Dallas sustained in the wreck became permanent in nature as he battles pain daily, has continuous shoulder spasms, nerve damage in his face, and exhaustion and trouble sleeping from the pain. The logging company would deny that the driver committed any wrong doing in the incident and would maintain this position throughout the course of the case and into trial.

The case would see a jury trial in 2015 whereby the Plaintiffs, Mr. Dallas and his wife, would seek general damages for Mr. Dallas not being able to maintain his law practice in a way in which he was accustomed and his wife would suffer damages for loss of consortium.


In Georgia, a Trucking Accident that causes No Visible Injuries, but a Mild, Internal Brain Injury that was Traumatic brings a $ 3.5 Million Dollar Verdict: Video Included

brain-001-880737-mOn July 22, 2012, Jewel Wicker was driving her Honda 2002 Accord to church when she was stopped on Camp Creek Parkway at a red light at the intersection of Old Fairborn Road close to the interstates of Georgia. While she was stopped at the red light, she was abruptly run over from behind by a commercial vehicle driven by Parker Owens that was owned by First Class Produce which is his parents’ company. The wreck was so severe that Ms. Wicker’s car was crushed underneath the truck as emergency responders removed her from her vehicle with the jaws of life. Luckily, Ms. Wicker survived the incident, but not without injury.

Mr. Owens, the driver, would tell police that he tried to apply the brakes to stop but nothing happened so he was not able to stop. The police would discover that there were no skid marks at the scene and that nothing was wrong with the brakes of the truck. Mr. Owens was cited for running a red light. Later, at trial, it would never be disputed by anybody on the defense or the plaintiff’s side that it was Owens who caused the crash. It would also not be disputed that Ms. Wicker was injured as a result of the crash.

What would be in dispute at trial, however, was how badly Ms. Wicker, the Plaintiff, was injured and whether or not she had made a full recovery. This would prove to be a difficult concept to prove to the jury since Ms. Wicker’s injuries were not external such as broken bones, a lost limb, scars, or other visible injuries.  Instead, Ms. Wicker’s injuries were internal and in her brain.

To show the damage to the Plaintiff’s brain, at trial the Plaintiff would use many visual aids such as a video that was animated to show the anatomy of the brain and also diagrams showing the brain. The way the Plaintiff also described her injury to the jury was an injury compared to that of shaken baby syndrome where you would not necessarily see a fracture to the skull or a negative CT scan, but, nonetheless, a brain injury exists.


A Trucking Accident in Georgia that Results in the Permanent Scarring of a Young Model’s Face brings a $ 7.5 Million Dollar Settlement for the Victim even though she was charged with DUI and Following Too Closely ~ part two

anger-1093119-mThis is a continuation of my discussion of this case in my last blog post titled, .”A Trucking Accident in Georgia that Results in the Permanent Scarring of a Young Model’s Face brings a $ 7.5 Million Dollar Settlement for the Victim even though she was charged with DUI and Following Too Closely ~ part one.”

Ms. Love’s charges of both Following Too Closely and DUI were dropped in the case eventually since interviews with witnesses were consistent that Ms. Love was not impaired at breakfast and the police officers further collaborated this account stating that there was not any smell or sign of alcohol on Ms. Love at the scene of the accident. Furthermore, it was confirmed that the blood test taken at the hospital, which are normally taken if there has been an accident in Georgia, are not as accurate as the alcohol testing that is done by the police which were not performed in this case.

Ms. Love’s team of attorneys made an offer of settlement for $ 7.99 Million and gave Defense counsel until January to make a decision on the offer on the table. $ 7.5 Million, just less than the original offer, would ultimately settle the case but would never bring back Ms. Love’s modeling career that included appearances in fashion shows, shows at retail stores, and hair shows in which she engaged in over a decade. Now she would have a Facebook page that would show a recent photo of the scars from the tragic accident.


A Trucking Accident in Georgia that Results in the Permanent Scarring of a Young Model’s Face brings a $ 7.5 Million Dollar Settlement for the Victim even though she was charged with DUI and Following Too Closely ~ part one

a-long-truck-1165921-mOn December 1, 2012, Kimberly Love, now age 29, had just left a restaurant off 1-285 after a having breakfast at approximately 5:00 a.m. that followed a night of partying where her and her friends closed down one club before heading to the restaurant for breakfast. When Ms. Love left the restaurant, she was in Clayton County, Georgia near the 1-285 ramp on 1-75 when she crashed into the rear end of a tractor-trailer truck that was owned by Triple Crown Services Co. The case is Love v. Jackson, No. 2013CV02020-6.

The driver of the truck, Mr. Kevin Jackson, had just finishing dropping off the trailer after his shift and was on his way home in the truck at the time of the collision. When police arrived on the scene, Ms. Love was not conscious and was charged with Following Too Closely. After the blood tests from the hospital showed that Ms. Love’s blood alcohol level was .081 the charge of Driving Under the Influence was added to her original charge.


One of Georgia’s Top Legal Settlements in 2013 Involving a Total of Nine Motor Vehicles and a Collision with a Tractor-Trailer

 road-traffic-accident-1016504-mIn April of 2012 the Plaintiff John Roe, age 30, was driving his motor vehicle on 1-285 in Georgia with two (2) passengers; Jane Doe age 1, and John Doe age 6. At the same time, Defendant Jimmy Roe was driving a Tractor-Trailer when he struck another car that was driven by Defendant James Roe. At that time, James Roe was attempting to change lanes when he crossed the outer lanes of traffic and then struck the median. Both Defendants Jimmy Roe and James Roe lost control of their vehicles and struck more vehicles on the interstate resulting in a collision with a total of nine (9) vehicles.

One of the vehicles struck was Plaintiff John Roe who claimed injuries of a herniated disc in his back. Young Jane Doe sustained minor injuries, but John Doe had closed head injuries that resulted in brain damage that was irreparable. The Plaintiff’s filed suit in Fulton County Superior Court claiming that the truck was traveling too fast for conditions even though he was going the speed limit. The truck driver, on the other hand, blamed the accident on the Defendant James Roe for pulling into his lane without any warning, applying his brakes, and thereby causing a collision that could not be avoided. Defendant James Roe stated that he was merely changing lanes as instructed by the road construction signs. James Roe was cited for an unlawful lane change, but the ticket was dismissed. Truck driver Defendant Jimmy Roe was not cited in the accident.


As the Possibility of a Bad Faith Claim Lingers, an Accident involving a possible Fatigued Tractor-Trailer Driver Yields a $ 950,000 Settlement: $ 200,000 above Policy Limits

truck for dec 3 2014 blogOn February 19, 2012 the Plaintiff, Michael Gentis, was heading North on I-85 in his Honda Civic at Spaghetti Junction in Georgia when a truck merging from I-285 in front of him swerved out of control and jackknifed. The Plaintiff was not able to stop and subsequently crashed into the tractor-trailer.

The Plaintiff suffered a severe back injury whereby he required surgery and incurred $ 150,000 in medical bills. The case is Gentis v. Global Hawk, No. 13A46963-4.

Although the accident was clearly the truck drivers fault, the insurance company for the truck driver denied several demands from the Plaintiff for policy limits. Thereby exposing itself to potential bad faith claims that ultimately could have led to a judgement that exceeded the ultimate $ 950,000 settlement which was $ 200,000 over insurance policy limits.

Other factors that were in play in the case was the fact that tractor-trailer driver was cited for failure to maintain lane, there was speculation that driver fatigue may have played a role in the accident, later that evening the same driver was involved in another accident in the State of Virginia, and the driver did not speak proficient english which is a trucking law violation. Instead he relied upon an app on his cellphone to translate his language of Chinese to English.

All of these factors coupled with the clear liability on the truck drivers part should have led to at least a payment of policy limits in this case at the onset. Fortunately for the Defendant, the issues were not pushed to trial and the case ultimately settled for $ 200,000 over policy limits for a total of a $ 950,000 settlement.


Settlement of $ 12 Million Dollars for an Augusta, Georgia Family Man Who was Severely Brain Damaged in a Trucking Accident ~ part two

light speed blog oct 5 2014This is my continuation of a very interesting case from my last blog post titled, “Settlement of $ 12 Million Dollars for an Augusta, Georgia Family Man Who was Severely Brain Damaged in a Trucking Accident ~ part one.”  As I discussed in my last blog post, there were many factors that finally led up to the insurance company of the Defendant’s Employer to decide to settle the case early and for an amount that was double the amount of the actual compensatory damages of the Plaintiff.

In continuing that discussion, there were other issues at play such as the fact that the Defendant was not hurt at or after the accident, but that the Plaintiff sustained a catastrophic injury to the brain including a fractured skull and a brain hemorrhage leaving him now living in a home in Augusta, GA that is a home for the exclusive treatment for people with injuries to the brain who no longer need medical care, but are not ready to go home yet.  Mr. Bellamy’s mother has also been appointed as his legal guardian.

In addition, after the deposition of the eyewitnesses at the scene of the accident, who collaborated with the Plaintiff’s version of the events, and also described in detail the scene of the accident, then the defense really began to take notice and think about the value of settling the case verses continuing the case further.

What you might find most interesting in this case is that the actual damages sustained by Mr. Bellamy by the wreck totaled $ 1.38 million in medical bills, $ 4.2 million for future life care, and lost future wages of $ 776,810.00 for a total of just over $ 6 Million Dollars in actual damages.  Some money was also most certainly factored in for past, present, and future pain and suffering as well.

The case, however, resulted in an ultimate settlement by the Plaintiff of $ 12 Million Dollars which is double his actual compensatory monetary damages. This is unusual even taking into consideration pain and suffering, and other damages not mentioned such as a possible permanent brain injury.


Settlement of $ 12 Million Dollars for an Augusta, Georgia Family Man Who was Severely Brain Damaged in a Trucking Accident ~ part one

tractor trailer blog october 3 2014Who says that the character of your client isn’t going to make a difference in a case, or the severity of the crash scene itself as recalled by eye witnesses (who aren’t always the most credible in remembering the details as the actual scene happened) isn’t going to change the mind of the insurance company about when and for how much to settle, or whether or not the particular severity of your client’s injuries may have an impact on the final judgement of the insurance company about whether or not to settle or prepare the case for trial?

For the most part, the insurance company is in the business of saving money and legal counsel hired for the insurance company is in the business of making money as well, but not necessarily for the insurance company.

For example, on the one hand, legal insurance counsel wants to save as much money as it can for the insurance company by settling for as little money as possible in any particular case. On the other hand, the insurance company’s legal counsel would like to lengthen the time of the representation of the case as long as possible so that the attorney makes more money, unless they are in-house counsel, which, in turn, costs the insurance company more money in legal fees instead of claimants’ payouts.

Unless, of course, you have an ethical insurance company attorney who will do the right thing whether or not it saves the insurance company money and/or makes the attorney more or less money in any particular case.  I will leave that up to you to decide on a case by case basis as that discussion can be all over the map.

Either way, one thing is for sure and that is that the insurance company attorney is not looking out for you; no matter what they tell you or what good cop, bad cop game they play with you. It’s a cat and mouse game, and you are the mouse, not the cat, in this game.

Unless, of course, you have competent legal counsel on your side and that is imperative if you expect the insurance company to take you seriously and show you any respect at all in your case no matter what the circumstances.


$ 4M in Damages Reduced to $ 3M in Tractor-Trailer Death for Comparative Negligence on the part of the Deceased in Georgia

collision for blog may 24On December 4, 2010, an elderly woman, Martha Edins, was attempting to merge from the Airport Loop onto 1-285 in Georgia when she ran into a tractor-trailer that had stopped in the roadway a few minutes earlier, and Ms. Edins was killed in the collision. Edins’ adult children subsequently brought an action against the trucking company and the driver of the truck for the wrongful death of their mother.

A Fulton County jury set the damages at just over $ 4,000,000.00, but 25% of the liability was attributed to Ms. Edins and thereby reducing the families’ recovery to just over $ 3,000,000.00.

In Georgia, when a Plaintiff, in this case Ms. Edins, is held to be at some degree of fault, the court is authorized to reduce the amount of the damages otherwise awarded to the Plaintiff in proportion to her or his own percentage of fault under the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (O.C.G.A.) Section 51-12-33(a). This is known as the tort doctrine of Comparative Negligence .

Comparative Negligence is a rule in tort of allocating damages to each party when both parties are somewhat at fault.  For example, in the Edins’ case, the Jury set the damages at over $4M, but it was determined that Ms. Edins was 25% at fault and, therefore, the damages were reduced by her percentage of fault. It is important to note that in accordance with O.C.G.A. Section 51-12-33(g) that if it is shown that the Plaintiff is 50% or more responsible for the injury or damages claimed, that the Plaintiff shall not be entitled to receive any amount of damages.

The doctrine of Comparative Negligence is in comparison with the common law tort theory of Contributory Negligence whereby a Plaintiff is completely, and totally, barred from any recovery if the Plaintiff is in any way negligent in causing the accident, and this is even if the Defendant’s negligence in causing the accident was more serious.  Were a contributory negligence theory applied in the Edin’s case, the Edins’ children would not have received any compensation.