In this case, a 45-year-old commercial truck driver was off-duty and operating his motorcycle near the Little River Bridge at Clark’s Hill Lake, Lincoln County. On that June day he was suddenly hit from behind by a pickup truck. The impact was so great that the motorcycle became lodged under the front of the pickup. The rider of the motorcycle was thrown from the bike, but not sufficiently far to avoid having his right leg and ankle run over by the panicky and obviously drunk driver of the pickup.
The intoxicated driver stopped long enough to remove the motorcycle from under his truck, and then fled the scene of the accident. He returned to the scene about 30 minutes later where he was arrested and detained by the Georgia State Patrol.
The motorcyclist was transported to the emergency room, where he was diagnosed with a complex ankle fracture involving breaks to three separate bones and damage to the surrounding cartilage.
The Harder Life After an Accident
Following the accident the victim was unable to bear weight on the ankle. As a result he lost his job as a commercial truck driver and became reclusive.
He ultimately sued the drunk driver and his employer, a cabinet company that owned the truck he was driving, in McDuffie County Superior Court. The plaintiff alleged motor vehicle negligence against the truck driver and additional liability against the owner of the truck. The injured motorcyclist claimed that the pickup’s driver was negligently driving the truck while under the influence of alcohol making him unable to operate the vehicle safely.
Recovering Wages After a Motor Vehicle Accident
He asked to be compensated for past and future lost wages, as well as physical and emotional pain and suffering.
The defendants claimed that the plaintiff was riding his motorcycle with reckless disregard for safety and caused the accident by speeding, passing Hensley in a no-passing zone, pulling back into the path of the pickup truck and then braking suddenly, resulting in an unavoidable collision.
This necessitated that an expert accident reconstruction expert be called by the plaintiff to testify. The expert witness testified under oath that his investigation revealed there were no skid marks from the motorcycle to indicate a sudden stop as the defendants claimed. Additionally, there were more than 200 feet of skid marks made by the truck after the impact. This testimony supported the plaintiff’s case.
The trial, with the Honorable Harold Hinesley presiding, took four days before the jury retired for deliberations. Those deliberations took just two hours.
This McDuffie County jury found in favor of the plaintiff. They did assess that 10 percent of the fault lay with the plaintiff, but determined that 90 percent of the liability belonged with the defendants. The jury’s initial award of $786,734 was reduced to $708,060.60 to reflect their finding of comparative negligence. The jury then awarded an additional $250,000 for punitive damages, resulting in a total award of $958,060.60.
The Risk We Take on the Roads
Using the highway system in the United States should not be a crapshoot. Sadly, every time we take to the roads, we risk life and limb. Nevertheless, if you are injured our system of justice stands ready to do what it can to compensate you for what negligent drivers may have taken from you .
Your peace of mind and your ability to earn a living have value. As officers of the court, it is our job to do what we can to help this process play out.
If you have been injured in an accident by the lawlessness and reckless behavior of others, you still have hope. Call or email the legal team at The Millar Law Firm. We’ll review your case at no cost to you to see if we can help to reclaim some of what has been taken from you.
LEGAL DISCLAIMER: The above article is a factually-accurate case history of an actual previously litigated or settled Georgia case. The case was reported on in local media and/or legal reporting services and it was not handled by The Millar Law Firm. However, we think our current and prospective clients may find this information interesting and informative as the case is factually similar to cases our office routinely handles. Please be advised that The Millar Law Firm makes no guarantees your case will have a similar outcome, as past results and results of our firm or of other lawyers and law firms are not indicative of future performance.
Drunk Driver Gambles on Justice; Loses Nearly 1 Million Dollars to Motorcycle Rider
It’s a sad fact. There are drunk drivers out there on the highway with you every day. Every night. Here is the story of a man whose life was utterly transformed by just such a driver.
Bruce R. Millar, Esq.
The Millar Law Firm.