Action: Motor vehicle negligence
Injuries alleged: Permanent disability
Case name: Withheld
Court/case no.: Wilkes County Superior Court
Jury and/or judge: Withheld
Attorney: Jeremy Stephenson and Kelsey Dorton of Wilson Elser in Charlotte (for the defense)
An employee was called in early to work. While driving before dawn on a rural road, he encountered a stopped tow truck in the opposing lane of traffic.
Passing the truck, he struck the plaintiff and the plaintiff’s car attached to the tow truck in his lane of travel. The plaintiff suffered numerous serious bodily injuries causing permanent disabilities and claimed significant economic losses.
The defense used an accident reconstruction expert and defeated the plaintiff’s request for a special jury instruction on the “pull over law” under which the jury would have been instructed that the employee had a duty to slow to a stop when approaching the truck.
After a four-day trial, the jury deliberated for 30 minutes and returned a verdict for the defense, answering yes as to liability, yes as to contribution and no regarding the doctrine of “last clear chance,” which considers which party had the last opportunity to avoid the accident that caused the harm.