What Price an Empty Bed? Georgia Car Accident Leads to Premature Birth, Wrongful Death and $3.1 Million Verdict
An infant’s nursery in Bryan County, Georgia is empty today because an irresponsible somebody made a thoughtless left-hand turn.
An expectant mother, seven months into her pregnancy, was operating her Chevrolet Tahoe on Route 144 in Richmond Hill when a 2006 Nissan 350Z made an illegal left turn in front of her causing a terrible crash in which both vehicles were totaled. The drivers were both transported to the hospital. The pregnant woman’s abdominal area, and the infant within it, had suffered the jarring impact of the airbag.
She was admitted to the hospital for bed rest and observation. Her amniotic sac broke the following day and she suffered a placental abruption. With the placenta peeled away from the uterine wall, a Caesarian section was performed approximately 12 days after the accident. A tiny baby boy was born.
The baby was not breathing and was unresponsive at birth. He still had lacerations on his tiny face. In the delivery room, it took 18 minutes to establish breath sounds and a stable heart rate. Unfortunately, during that time his brain was deprived of oxygen. The premature infant suffered severe brain damage. He remained in the ICU for a month until his death.
The infant’s parents, the plaintiffs, filed two separate actions. The first claim was for negligence and wrongful death, and was made against the driver of the Nissan. The lawsuit also contained claim for negligent entrustment against the driver’s brother, who was the owner of the vehicle involved in the crash.
The second suit was filed against the business owned by the driver and his brother. The defendant business, a bar and grill owned the vehicle the defendant driver was operating when the crash happened. The plaintiffs claimed that the defendant driver was making a trip to obtain a license for the tavern, and was, therefore, using the vehicle for business purposes at the time of the collision. The two lawsuits were combined for trial.
The defendants sought dismissal of the negligent entrustment claim, as well as the claims against the restaurant in a motion for Summary Judgment. The Judge for the lower court originally granted the motion to drop the negligent entrustment claim, but did not grant the motion to dismiss the claim against the business.
At trial, defendants maintained that since the restaurant was not open for business at the time of the accident, it should not be held liable for damages. The issue of damages was also disputed by the defendants.
Ultimately the company and insurance carrier for the business’s vehicle were held responsible. A Bryan County State Court jury awarded $3,083,000 to the mother and father of the lost infant.
There is no way to assess the value of an achingly empty crib. No amount of money in the world could make these parents whole again. Nevertheless, the insurance company tried repeatedly to get the parents of the lost child sign a release, settling for nearly nothing and giving up their right to bring action against the business and its owners. They opted to trust their attorneys over the adjustor.
It is the job of any insurance adjustor to look after the best interest of his company’s clients. He or she will do his level best to convince you that your claim is worth little or nothing. Before you agree to settle your claim with anyone, call the legal team at The Millar Law Firm.
It’s OUR job to help you achieve a fair settlement for what you have lost. Whether you’ve been robbed of being able to live without pain, the ability to work, or the excruciating loss of a loved one, you do have rights in Georgia Courtrooms. Allow us to review your case before you agree to any settlement large or small.
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 promises of similar future results.