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Is Half the Truth a Whole Lie? Plaintiff Won’t be “squashed like a bug”

Published January 23, 2018 by Bruce Millar
Is Half the Truth a Whole Lie? Plaintiff Won’t be “squashed like a bug”

In life, there are some things you might be happier not knowing about. In the courtroom there are often tidbits of information the parties would prefer to exclude. In the practice of personal injury law, there are often times when attorneys plead with the court to leave out those pieces of evidence that might paint their clients is a very bad light. Fortunately for the people who make Georgia their home, the law has a way of sorting this all out and upholding the law as it is meant to be.

A Truck on Truck Collision

The driver of an 18-wheeler bends down to adjust his radio. When he raises his eyes again to the road ahead of him, he sees another truck ahead in his lane of traffic moving very slowly. He is unable to stop and hits the other truck. His truck jack-knifes, with his trailer across both lanes of traffic.

F. D. Wilson Trucking Co. v. Ferneyhough, 269 Ga. App. 736 (2004)

A passenger vehicle traveling in the same direction swerves to the right in an attempt to avoid a direct collision. The passenger vehicle goes into the shoulder of the road and flips over causing permanent injury to one of the passengers in the car. The injured person eventually sued the trucking company, its driver, and its insurance carrier. This is what happened in the case, F. D. Wilson Trucking Co. v. Ferneyhough, 269 Ga. App. 736 (2004).

An Officers Testimony in an Injury Case

Attorneys for the defense thought several things ought to be left out of the courtroom entirely. Among those proposed omissions were the amount of sleep the driver had enjoyed before driving on his journey, (merely 4 hours,) the testimony of the police officer who ticketed the truck driver for following too closely, and the citation itself which contained a signed admission that the driver was, indeed, travelling too closely.

Perhaps what defense counsel objected most strenuously was the lively language the Plaintiff’s attorney used in his closing arguments.  In those comments, counsel for plaintiffs observed that the plaintiffs had been “beaten up” by the defendants and that they made attempts to “squash” the plaintiffs “like a bug.” Plaintiff’s attorney urged the jury during final arguments to “deal” with the defendants “in the only language they understood: money.” (While the defense didn’t use the word “punish,” it was clear that he probably wanted to.)

A Plaintiff Victory in a Georgia Injury Case

The trial jury found in favor of the plaintiffs in what was a modest amount of money. Nevertheless, the defendants appealed on the fact that they were not granted a directed verdict, (One that the judge renders without giving the jury the opportunity to deliberate,) and accusations that the trial court erred in allowing all of evidence and language to remain in the record.

The appeals court came down on the side of the Plaintiffs and the Trial Court, allowing the verdict to stand and the language Defense counsel used in his “flight of oratory,” to remain.

We have the right to some security in our lives. We ought to be able to expect that trucks that share our highways will be driven by conscientious people who follow the rules. We also feel that each of us should have the right to expect that when another person is injured by the acts of others, there should be an opportunity to recoup what has been lost.

At The Millar Law Firm, we work hard to be sure that our clients’ rights are protected. Because personal injury cases are the only ones we take, we get plenty of practice finding ways to ensure that the facts are given to the jury. That’s why we win for our clients.

If you think you’ve been injured by the negligent acts of others, call our offices today. We’ll evaluate your case and help you to know what chances you have to recover what has been taken from you. Call us today.

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