When we take to the road, we share that space with lots of other people. Unfortunately, we cannot know or control what problems those folks are facing while our lives are in their hands. It could be a trucker with a sleep disorder who dozes off, or a woman who has just quarreled with her fiancé. Human beings ought to realize that they have a duty to pay attention to their driving when they set out on the road, but they sometimes don’t. Sadly, whatever circumstances afflict our fellow drivers could very well afflict us in the long run.
Falling Asleep At the Wheel – Car Accident Case
Take the case of Hart v. Shergold, 2009 Ga. 230 (2009). For whatever reason, the young driver of an automobile fell asleep at the wheel and crashed into a motorcycle ridden by the plaintiff. The plaintiff – a 51-year-old married man – lost his left leg and underwent six separate surgeries to repair damage done by the negligence of the defendant.
The injured man and his wife sued the defendant driver and his father for damages.
According to the plaintiff‘s surgeon, the injured man suffers continuing pain as a result of his ongoing but necessary use of a prosthetic leg. The surgeon also testified that there would be costs associated with replacement of parts for the prosthetic limb ongoing throughout the rest of his life. There would also be the need for future medical treatments and associated costs. At the time of trial, the medical bills accumulated were in excess of $655,000 already.
At trial, the jury awarded the plaintiff $2.1 million dollars.
Another Appeal With the Claim of ‘Errors by the Jury’
Defendants appealed the trial court jury’s award on account of a litany of alleged errors by the trial judge.
The defendants claimed that the trial judge mistakenly denied the defense a directed verdict – one that is rendered by the judge and not given to the jury for consideration – which would have eliminated the damage award completely. They claimed that there was no proof offered that the plaintiff’s injuries were permanent. (Perhaps expecting that the plaintiff would sprout a new leg?) They alleged that the judge did not instruct the jury properly. They further claimed that the judge was incorrect in allowing testimony from the plaintiff’s surgeon as to the cost of future medical treatment as it was speculation. Finally, the defendants claimed that the jury’s award was excessive.
There was never a question in this case about whether or not the defendants were at fault; and in spite of the fact that the plaintiffs didn’t even seek punitive damages for the misery clearly caused by the defendants, lawyers for the defense rigorously worked to minimize the pain and suffering of the plaintiff. They did everything within their power to withhold the means for the plaintiffs to pay for future medical care.
The appellate court affirmed the trial court’s actions and held that not one of the defendant’s arguments for appeal was valid. As is usual in cases where injury has been inflicted as a result of others’ negligence, the appellate court confirmed that the amount of damages is best determined by a jury of good folks who have heard the evidence and seen the carnage.
It’s Always Worth it to talk to a Car Accident Lawyer
Sadly, many people who suffer such injuries fail to take steps to lean upon Georgia law in order to be made whole again. Such people may feel as if it is somehow greedy or wrong to seek help with the expenses that may haunt them for the remainder of their lives. Often, these people end up filing bankruptcy after they realize that they cannot afford to pay for their ongoing medical treatment.
If you have been injured by the careless actions of others, don’t put your family and yourself through more misery as the expenses mount up over time. Instead, call The Millar Law Firm. We will review the facts of your case and determine whether or not you can recover some of the money necessary to provide you with the medical care you may need in the future.
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.