Off-Duty Cop Awarded Damages for Auto Injuries

Case Caption: Jerry B. King v. Derryck A. Black
Verdict: $50,000
Court: Fulton County Superior court
Judge: Melvin K. Westmoreland
Date of Verdict: 7/23/2008
Attorneys:
Plaintiff: Kevin C. Ford, Atlanta
Gary M. Cooper, Duluth
Defendant: Gregory J. Parent, Atlanta

Facts:

Liability was disputed to the date of trial over causation of this automobile accident. The parties also argued over the nature and extent of plaintiff’s injury claim. The jury awarded plaintiff $50,000 after deliberating 2.5 hours.

Plaintiff Jerry B. King was an off-duty police officer driving his own vehicle on the date in question. Defendant Derryck Black attempted a left turn from a private parking lot into the path of plaintiff’s oncoming vehicle, resulting in a collision. Both vehicles were totaled. Defendant, who refused a breathalyzer test at the scene, was ticketed for driving under the influence of alcohol.

Plaintiff alleged defendant failed to yield the right-of-way to oncoming traffic and was driving under the influence of alcohol. Plaintiff denied he was speeding at the time of this accident. He argued that he sustained serious neck and back injuries, including a herniated lumbar disc, as a direct result of this collision.

Defendant initially contended plaintiff lost the right-of-way because he was speeding. At the time of trial, he admitted turning in front of plaintiff’s vehicle. Defendant argued that plaintiff had the last clear chance to avoid the accident. Defendant also disputed the nature and extent of plaintiff’s injuries, noting that plaintiff was able to return as a SWAT team officer shortly after the accident and there was a substantial gap in chiropractic treatment.

Plaintiff Profile: Plaintiff was a 34 year old single black male employed as a police officer.

Alleged Injury: Soft tissue cervical and lumbar injuries with a small disc herniation at L5-S1. Plaintiff sought emergency room treatment and required chiropractic care. He claimed $11,455 in past medicals, $600 to $1,000 in past lost wages and damages for pain and suffering. He was able to return to work without restriction.

Jury Deliberations: 2.5 hours

Settlement Efforts:

Last Demand: $72,00

Last Offer: $25,000

Insurance Carrier: Liberty Mutual

Expert(s):

Plaintiff: Ronald C. Tucker, D.C.

Chiropractor – Atlanta, GA

R. Darr McKeown, M.D.

Diagnostic Radiologist – Atlanta, GA

Defendant: None

Case Number: 2007CV128256

Editor’s Notes: There was no appeal. The judgment was paid and this case is closed. Per plaintiff’s counsel, the judge kept out of evidence a narrative report that showed a herniated disc, which led to the $50,000 verdict. Defendant paid the excess judgment as policy limits were $25,000.
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