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Victim in tractor trailer accident gets $3.35 million

A 59-year-old construction worker who was seriously injured when his car was hit by a tractor trailer received a $3.35 million dollar verdict from a Cumberland County jury, his attorneys report. The verdict was $350,000 more than the plaintiff had asked for.

Everett Jerome Gardner was driving down a two lane road in Hamlet when a tractor trailer driven by Marty Waymond Murchison, a driver for Mid-East Railroad Service, crossed over the center line and hit Gardner’s car head-on. Gardner suffered multiple broken bones and required surgeries to his knee and elbow as a result of the accident. He spent over a month in the hospital and the injuries prevented him from returning to work. As a result, Gardner was evicted from his home while in the hospital and now lives with family, his attorneys say.

The defendants had denied liability until shortly before the trial started, and the trial was conducted solely on the issue of damages. Gardner had demanded $3 million, but the jury returned a $3.35 million verdict on Feb. 14, including special damages for $242,297 in medical expenses and $532,125 in projected lost wages. The defendant’s highest offer before trial had been $1.25 million.

Hoyt Tessener and Hunt Willis of Martin & Jones in Raleigh represented Gardner. William Pollock and Angela Allen of Ragsdale Liggett in Raleigh represented the defendants.

Tessener said that, based on his conversations with jurors after the verdict, his client’s track record of consistent employment seemed to carry a significant weight with the jury. The jury awarded Gardner his full request in lost wages, which was based on his average salary multiplied by 14 years. Tessener said it was obvious from Gardner’s injuries that he would not be able to work again.

Follow David Donovan on Twitter @NCLWDonovan


Injuries Alleged: Personal injury

Name of case:
Everett Jerome Gardner v. Marty Waymond Murchison and Mid-East Railroad Service, Inc.

Court: Cumberland County Superior Court

Case number: 13 CVS 3984

Judge: Mary Ann Tally

Amount: $3,350,000

Date of verdict: Feb. 14, 2014

Demand: $3,000,000

Highest Offer: $1,250,000

Special Damages: $242,297 in medical expenses and $532,125 in projected lost wages

Most helpful experts: David Fajenbaum, M.D., Raleigh, and Kathy Thaman, rehabilitation counselor, Fayetteville

Insurance Carrier: Cincinnati Insurance Company

Attorneys for plaintiff: Hoyt G. Tessener and Hunt Willis of Martin & Jones, Raleigh

Attorneys for defendant: William Pollock and Angela Allen of Ragsdale Liggett in Raleigh

Has the plaintiff been successful in actually collecting the judgment? Yes

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