On Thursday, March 11, 2010, a conscientious and hard working Walker County jury returned a verdict totaling $792,500 for a 39 year-old self-employed roofer/sheet metal fabricator injured in a bad wreck two years ago. On a Sunday afternoon two years ago, the plaintiff took his Harley motorcycle out for a ride over to his mother’s house. As he cruised along Highway 341 near Chickamauga, Georgia at a safe speed, a Buick Skylark, driven by an 88 year-old man, suddenly turned left directly in front of him. The impact shattered the plaintiff’s left ankle. The orthopedic trauma surgeon was able to use steel plates and screws to put the bimalleolar ankle fracture dislocation back together, but the plaintiff was left with a painful arthritic ankle with limited mobility.
We sought compensation in Walker State Court for the all harms and losses he sustained as a result of wreck. The jury provided $50,000 for medical expenses, $37,500 for lost earnings to date, $379,000 for future lost earnings, $20,000 for pain and suffering to date, plus $306,000 for future pain and suffering.
The biggest challenge we faced was overcoming sympathy for the defendant, who appeared in court in a wheelchair, after defense counsel made a big show of the fact that the defendant was ill. Judge Peppers prohibited further appeals to sympathy and the jury took seriously our admonitions not to let “outside reasons” influence their determination of the proper amounts of money required to balance out the harms and losses the plaintiff suffered.
Currie v. Farmer, Case 08 CV 7097, Walker State Court, LaFayette, Georgia