Verdict Against Trucker After Defense Denies Liability and Targets Plaintiff
Jane Doe and her adult son were moving to Florida hoping for a new start on life when a tractor-trailer struck them from behind on I-95 in Georgia. Mrs. Doe had arthroscopic surgery on her shoulder and faced potential future surgery for herniated discs and increased treatment for her psychiatric problems.
The trucker's insurance company only offered $25,000 at mediation and $50,000 prior to trial. The defense claimed the crash was caused by Mrs. Doe's son who was driving their rented truck and trailer too slowly and erratically. They claimed Mrs. Doe's injuries pre-existed the accident and emphasized that her psychiatric treatment stretched back 20 years. They presented a surveillance video showing Mrs. Doe walking home to her modest apartment carrying her groceries.
While the jury was out the defense gradually increased its offer, finally to plaintiff's pre-trial demand of $250,000 just as the jury rang the buzzer. Mrs. Doe decided she had gone too far to settle for that. The verdict was for $641,000. It was reversed on appeal based on improper expert testimony from the investigating trooper. The case then settled for an amount which the defense requested remain confidential.