By Heath Hamacher
A Wake County jury has awarded $87,000 to a woman who, along with her 3-year-old son, was struck by a vehicle while walking near the parking lot of a Zebulon Walmart.
Ellis Boyle of Knott & Boyle in Raleigh said that his client, 34-year-old Amber Brooke Kornegay, had just finished shopping at around 4 p.m. on Dec. 20, 2019, and was pushing a shopping cart in the crosswalk in front of the store when defendant Renee Parry abruptly turned left out of the parking lot area, accelerating into Kornegay and her son, Brannon, who was riding in the cart’s designated child seat. Kornegay was knocked back and the cart was knocked over, causing Brannon to hit his head on the pavement.
Boyle said that two doctors testified that Kornegay suffered permanent nerve injury to the intercostal nerve on her left side. Brannon suffered a “goose egg” on his head but has fully recovered, Boyle said.
The defendants were represented by Robert Ruegger of Raleigh, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Boyle said that the defense argued that Kornegay was partly to blame.
“According to the defense, a person must constantly scan left and right the whole time a person walks through a crosswalk just outside a store in a parking lot,” Boyle said. “Defendant struck the cart and Ms. Kornegay as she was about seven or eight steps into the crosswalk, and beyond the left traveling lane of traffic where a car coming from Defendant’s direction should have been.”
Defense also argued, Boyle said, that Kornegay was not injured because the subjective reports of pain could not be proven through testing or a radiographic image.
“The jury believed the two doctors,” he said.
After a one-day trial, the jury deliberated a little less than two and a half hours before finding negligence against the driver and the vehicle’s owner and no contributory negligence against Kornegay. Boyle said that he spoke to one juror, who told him that surveillance video of the crash was helpful.
The jury awarded $86,000 to Kornegay and $1,000 to her son.
VERDICT REPORT — MOTOR VEHICLE/PEDESTRIAN
Injuries alleged: Minor head injuries to child, soft tissue injuries and permanent intercostal nerve injuries to mother
Case name: Kornegay v. Parry and Pfahler
Court: Wake County Superior Court
Case No.: 20-CVS-13326
Judge: Graham Shirley
Date of verdict: May 25
Highest offer: $30,000
Insurance carrier: National General Insurance
Attorney(s) for plaintiff: Joe Knott and Ellis Boyle of Knott & Boyle in Raleigh
Attorney(s) for defendant: Robert Ruegger of Raleigh
Follow Heath Hamacher on Twitter @NCLWHamacher