Trucking Company Hit With $21.6M Verdict After Driver’s Mistake Costs Man His Leg
Dalton, Georgia – A Whitfield County Superior Court jury hit a Georgia trucking company with a $21.6 million verdict after it found that one of the company’s drivers caused an accident that left a man seriously injured.
The accident occurred in 2016 along South Dixie Highway in Dalton.
Donald Monroe, 49 at the time, was struck by a pickup truck driven by Greefus Patterson, as Patterson swerved to avoid a Lane’s Equipment Rental tractor-trailer driven by Daniel McGuffee, who had pulled out onto the roadway.
During the four day trial, jurors heard evidence that Monroe had just finished helping load material onto McGuffee’s tractor-trailer at a scrap metal yard when he began to act as a “spotter.”
Without looking, Monroe’s attorney argued, McGuffee pulled out of the scrap metal yard and onto the highway blocking both lanes of traffic.
Patterson then swerved to avoid the big rig and struck Monroe, grievously injuring him.
Patterson’s truck also collided with a dumpster and several metal bins.
Testimony in the case revealed Monroe was not standing in the roadway, but was standing nearby, in an effort to help guide McGuffee safely out of the yard.
According to witnesses, Patterson never blew his horn to alert Monroe of the impending danger.
The collision caused Monroe to suffer severe and permanent injuries, requiring amputation of his left leg below the knee.
Defense attorneys for Lane’s Equipment Rental contended that McGuffee was not at fault for the accident.
They argued that Patterson had up to 700 feet of visibility, but needlessly panicked and veered left, due to poor vision from a cataract in his left eye.
The jury deliberated for two hours before finding that Lane’s Equipment Rental Inc. was 99.99% liable for Donald Monroe’s injuries, and that pickup truck driver, Greefus Patterson, was 0.01% at fault.
It awarded $20 million in damages to Monroe and $1.6 million to his wife Rhonda Monroe for loss of consortium (companionship).
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