$27,000,000 Jury Verdict – Tractor Trailer Turned Left in Front of Motorcycle
Cindy Tran Huynh was headed home from the gym on Macon Road outside Columbus, in Muscogee County, Georgia. She was riding her Yamaha sport-bike motorcycle, approaching a traffic light and intersection with Technology Parkway. A Spartan Nash tractor-trailer was approaching from the opposite direction. The tractor-trailer was turning left and got into the left turn lane. The light was solid green for both parties. As the motorcycle approached the light, the tractor-trailer turned left in front of the bike. The motorcycle struck the very back end of the trailer, near the ICC bumper. This was a wrongful death case. Initially, the defense denied liability, claiming another motorist blocked the truck driver’s view of the approaching motorcycle. The defense also alleged our client was at fault partially, because this was a near miss accident where the motorcycle only hit the very back end of the trailer. Through detailed discovery and accident reconstruction, we were able to show the timing of the truck’s turn was relatively fast, and that our client was not speeding and did react appropriately. As trial approached, the insurance company decided to admit liability and make the trial all about damages. There were no aggravating facts at all that would anger a jury. The defense insurance companies seemed to believe any verdict would be modest seven-figures given the county the case was in and the lack of any aggravating facts. The case went to trial in Muscogee County State Court. We put up our case in one day. The jury was out less than an hour before returning a verdict of $22 million for the value of the life and $5 million for pain and suffering, for a total award of $27 million.