A jury of 12 deliberated for 12 hours before returning to the courtroom with a favorable verdict for the plaintiffs, a husband and wife from Flowery Branch, Georgia who were the unfortunate victims of a horrendous truck accident. After almost three years and countless hours of preparation, the Parks received an award in the amount of $3.2 million – but only after allegedly faulty brakes on the Defendant driver’s truck forever changed their lives. During the summer of 2011, the Parks were traversing I-85 when they noticed a HERO truck partially blocking the roadway. Ever-cautious, they stopped for the truck, as did another driver in front of them. However, a third vehicle, a truck owned by Atlanta Dealer Trades, failed to stop when the driver, Jessie Arnold, unsuccessfully applied the brakes. He proceeded to plow into the Parks’ car from behind, “pushing their car 60 feet ahead and into another vehicle,” according to the Daily Report.
The truck then proceeded to strike the car that had been in front of the Parks’ car as well as the HERO vehicle, before finally coming to a rest on the highway. The truck had been recently purchased from another company, JCF Autotransport, Inc., and Atlanta Dealer Trades accordingly sought to have some degree of fault apportioned to that second company due to their alleged failure to maintain the truck’s brakes. The Plaintiffs, however, dropped the second company as a defendant after their investigative efforts turned up no evidence of faulty brakes and the DeKalb County Court subsequently declined to allow the company to be included on the verdict form. Defendants plan to file an appeal and challenge both the Parks’ claims for damages and the apportionment issue.
In total, the Parks accrued $200,000 and $154,173 in medical bills, respectively, with the need for additional medical services anticipated in the future. Damages requested included those amounts as well as attorney’s fees, and estimated lost wages for six months (in the amount of $5,000 per month). All claims for punitive damages were dropped once it became clear that the jury was struggling to justify such a move. Once they were taken off of the table, the jury rendered the remainder of its verdict with relative ease.
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