Hamilton County Jury Awards $3.5 Million In Damages In Wreck Caused By Texting Driver

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A Hamilton County jury has returned a verdict totaling $3.5 million in damages for a motorcycle driver who sustained a severe head injury in a rear end collision that attorneys said was caused by a driver who was texting.

The incident happend on April 14, 2010, on Highway 27 South near the Olgiati Bridge.

Witnesses testified that on the morning of the wreck traffic in the left hand lane where Marcus Black was traveling came to an abrupt stop when a person who was texting while driving suddenly cut from the right lane to the left lane of traffic. As cars came screeching to a stop, Mr. Black tried to stop his motorcycle, but ended up hitting the rear of the small sports car in front of him, launching him through the air and onto the pavement in the right hand lane. The texting driver drove off, apparently oblivious to the tragedy behind her, attorneys said.

A lawsuit was filed by Mr. Black against Jane Doe and Mr. Black’s uninsured motorist insurer. Patrick A. Cruise represented Mr. Black at trial, which began on Thursday and was concluded late Friday afternoon in Division III, Circuit Court, before Judge Marie Williams.

Mr. Black’s insurance company defended the texting driver at trial, contending she was not at fault.

The jury found the texting driver 75% at fault for the wreck, allocating 25% of the fault to Mr. Black. Under Tennessee comparative fault laws, the damages will be reduced to $2,625,000.

Attorney Cruise said the case was a horrific example of the dangers of texting and driving: “This verdict is important to Mr. Black and his family, and it’s a verdict that I hope will remind folks that this a public safety issue that we need to remedy.”

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