Jury Sides with Defendant Driver, Would Have Been Required to Apportion Fault if Verdict in Favor of Plaintiff

Case Caption:  Hwasung Lee vs. Zachariah Cohen, Civil Action File Number 09-SC-1240
Court:  Cherokee County State Court
Judge: Hon. C.J. Gober
Plaintiff’s Attorney: Richard M. Thane, Marietta
Plaintiff’s Uninsured Motorist Carrier’s Attorney: Sean Hynes, Downey & Cleveland
Defendant’s Attorneys:  Jeffrey A. Van Duyne, Savell & Williams
Alleged Damages:  $162,588 in medical damages; loss of consortium
Verdict: Defense verdict
Date of Verdict: March 9, 2012

Summary:  Plaintiff Lee and Defendant Cohen were involved in a one-car accident on February 20, 2008.  Cohen was the driver of the car involved in the accident, and Lee was a passenger.  Plaintiff alleged that Defendant was speeding and driving recklessly.  Defendant lost control of his vehicle and the car ended up in a ditch leaning on its passenger’s side.  As a result of the accident, Plaintiff claimed serious injuries that required back and shoulder surgeries.  Plaintiff’s wife also brought a loss of consortium claim.  

Defendant denied that he was driving recklessly and asserted that an unidentified car caused the accident.  Defendant stated that there was a car attempting to turn left that was blocking his lane of travel.  Defendant swerved to avoid the unidentified car and lost control of his vehicle, resulting in the accident.

Plaintiff claimed $162,588 in medical damages; however, Defendant argued that Plaintiff had a pre-existing back injury.  The jury returned a defense verdict.  The verdict form revealed that if the jury had come to a verdict in favor of Plaintiff, it would have also been required to apportion fault between Plaintiff, Defendant, and the unidentified car. 

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