Georgia Verdicts

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Plaintiffs: Driver’s failure to use emergency lane caused crash

Amount:

$4,092,632

Type:

Verdict-Plaintiff

State:

Georgia

Venue:

Chatham County

Court:

Chatham County, State Court

Injury Type(s):

chest-fracture, rib;
chest-hemopneumothorax; other-hematoma; other-laceration; other-spleen, laceration;
urological-kidney; arterial/vascular-deep vein thrombosis; pulmonary/respiratory; pulmonary/respiratory-collapsed lung; gastrointestinal/digestive-liver (liver, laceration)

Case Type:

Motor Vehicle – Parked Car, Rear-ender, Visibility, Multiple Vehicle

Case Name:

Kareem Evans and Wakeelah Evans v. Kelsey Davis and Progressive Premier Insurance Company of Illinois,
No. STCV100946

Date:

November 15, 2018

Parties

Plaintiff(s):

Kareem Evans (Male, 43 Years), 

Wakeelah Evans

Plaintiff Attorney(s):

Justin T. Jones;
Justin T. Jones, PC;
Savannah,
GA,
for
Kareem Evans, Wakeelah Evans ■ Bobby T. Jones;
Justin T. Jones, PC;
Metter,
GA,
for
Kareem Evans, Wakeelah Evans

Defendant(s):

Kelsey Davis, 

Progressive Premier Insurance Company of Illinois

Defense Attorney(s):

None reported;
for
Kelsey Davis ■ Hugh M. Worsham;
Worsham Corsi Scott & Dobur;
Savannah,
GA,
for
Progressive Premier Insurance Company of Illinois

Defendant Expert(s):

James Sloan;
Accident Investigation & Reconstruction/ Failure Analysis/Product Liability;
Brunswick,
GA called by:
Hugh M. Worsham

Facts:

On April 9, 2016, at approximately 5:53 a.m., plaintiff Kareem Evans, 43, a longshoreman, was driving his vehicle eastbound on Interstate Highway 16, in Savannah. Evans was traveling on I-16 in the right lane, intending to exit onto 37th Street, when he collided with the rear of a vehicle that was stopped at the right side of the roadway. Evans claimed multiple bodily injuries. Evans sued the owner of the stopped vehicle, Kelsey Davis, alleging she was negligent in the operation of her vehicle. Davis was uninsured, so Evans also pursued an uninsured motorist claim against his own insurance carrier, Progressive Premier Insurance Company of Illinois. Evans alleged that Davis’ vehicle was stopped in the right travel lane of I-16. Evans claimed she was negligent in not parking her vehicle in one of several emergency lanes instead of obstructing the interstate road. Evans also argued that Davis’ vehicle did not have any flashing lights on to alert him or any other drivers of her presence on the highway prior to the impact. Evans also claimed Davis had fallen asleep in the driver’s seat of her vehicle, with the seat reclined. Davis contended that her right front steering tire sustained a catastrophic blowout as she came onto the overpass for Stiles Avenue and the exit ramp to 37th Street at approximately 2:00 a.m. She claimed this forced her to stop her vehicle at the right side of the roadway on the overpass, which she said she believed was a safe location. Davis asserted that she called for emergency assistance and was told it would take several hours for someone to arrive. Davis claimed she activated her emergency flashers and settled in to wait. Further, Davis argued that Evans was comparatively negligent in failing to exercise ordinary care in avoiding an impact with her stopped vehicle. The defense’s accident reconstruction expert opined that Evans was comparatively negligent. He opined that Evans was speeding, traveling approximately 64 mph in the 55-mph zone. He opined that if Evans was not speeding, his reaction time would have been sufficient to see Davis’ vehicle and avoid the impact.

Injury:

Evans was taken by ambulance to a local emergency room after the collision. Evans suffered eight fractured ribs, a collapsed right lung, thoracic aorta injury, grade III liver laceration, grade III kidney laceration, deep vein thrombosis in his left femoral artery, mesenteric hematoma, lacerated spleen and adrenal gland contusion. Evans was intubated and hospitalized for a week. Evans claimed a 25-percent reduction in lung capacity and a loss in stamina due to his diminished lung function. He was off work for six months. Although he returned to his job, he claimed it is very strenuous on him due to the reduced lung capacity. He argued that he goes home in a severely exhausted state after working a full day’s work, which prevents him from playing with his children. He likened his lung capacity to that of a 75-year-old. Evans claimed residual pain and limitations performing activities of daily living. He asserted that he can no longer work in his yard like he did before the accident. Further, he maintained that his lung condition is expected to get worse, with a significant reduction in his quality of life as he ages, due to the fact that a person normally loses some lung capacity as part of the aging process. Evans claimed $192,632 in past medicals. He also sought damages for future medicals and damages for past and future pain and suffering. His wife, Wakeelah Evans, joined the action on a consortium claim in response to a motion filed by Progressive Insurance Company of Illinois requiring her joinder. The defense argued that Evans made a good recovery and was able to return back to working his strenuous longshoreman job. The defense argued that his lung complaints pre-existed the subject accident.

Result:

The jury attributed 82 percent liability to Davis and 18 percent liability to Evans. The jury determined that Kareem Evans was entilted to damages of $3,692,632 and Wakeelah Evans was entitled to damages of $400,000, for a total of $4,092,632. The awards were reduced to $3,027,958 and $328,000, respectively, for a total net award of $3,355,958 to reflect the compartive negligence finding. Evanses’ UIM policy limit is $500,000.

Kareem Evans: $192,632 Personal Injury: medical expenses; $3,500,000 Personal Injury: pain and suffering; Wakeelah Evans: $400,000 Personal Injury: loss of consortium

Actual Award:

$3,355,958

Trial Information:

Judge:

Gregory V. Sapp

Demand:

$400,000

Offer:

$300,000

Editor’s Comment:

This report is based on infomation that was provided by plaintiffs’ counsel. Defense counsel declined to contribute.