It sometimes happens that we forget the importance of having ‘a jury of our peers.’ The Founding Fathers of this country saw that using the collective wisdom of a group of ordinary people can keep justice from disintegrating in the face of conflicting perspectives. The fact that a jury of one’s peers lends humanity to the law is evidenced in countless cases we see from day to day. The facts may or may not speak clearly for themselves, but the heart of a jury can usually sort it all out. And, when lawyers representing big insurance companies stoop to add insult to injury, the jury usually responds appropriately.
Take the case of Stubbs v. Harmon, 226 Ga. App. 631. In this case, an automobile accident seriously injured a Fulton County man. Following the trial, the jury awarded the plaintiff damages for the injuries he sustained. Additionally, the jury found in favor of the injured man’s wife, who claimed loss of consortium due to her husband’s injuries.
A Defendant’s Legal Team With the Ole’ Lack of Evidence Claim
During the trial there was inconclusive, even conflicting evidence regarding precisely where on the Old Dixie Highway – in the turning lane, or not – and even the actual cause of the collision. In spite of this, the jury found in favor of the plaintiffs awarding him $237,000 for damages, and awarding his wife $50,000 for loss of consortium.
The defendant appealed the jury’s verdict saying that the trial judge erred in denying the Defendant’s motion for a new trial saying the verdict was not supported by evidence. In addition there were other questions from the defendant casting doubt on whether or not the wife, who suffers from Multiple Sclerosis, could claim damages for activities from which she might not even benefit because to her condition.
Fortunately for this couple, the law in Georgia states that in matters regarding the awarding of damages, the judgment of an enlightened jury is the best measure. With regard to the loss of consortium and the damages related, the same principle applies with regard to all of the larger benefits including companionship, society, and other services a spouse might provide.
Minor Errors Can’t Change a Motor Vehicle Accident Verdict
Ultimately, this case was decided by the jury. Georgia law requires that the jury’s verdict should be upheld unless there are very serious errors made by the court. In this case, the appellate court found no such serious errors. The jury’s decision was upheld.
This case highlights one of the best reasons not to settle an accident claim without discussing the facts with a lawyer first.
It would have been easy for this injured couple to doubt that they could see a good outcome in court. Not only were the facts and the evidence a bit muddy, there was also the issue of the wife’s condition and how the husband’s injuries impacted their conjugal relationship. They might not have weighed the other, equally important, facets of their interpersonal association. Fortunately for them, they did seek legal advice before they settled with insurance adjustors.
Consult With Motor Vehicle Accident Lawyers
Before you agree to settle a claim with insurance adjustors or other parties, consult with the legal team of The Millar Law Firm. Because we deal with personal injuries and their impacts every day, we can help you decide if settlement is appropriate or if your case should be trusted to a jury of your peers.
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 of our firm or of other lawyers and law firms are not guarantees of future performance.