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Man Loses Leg in Wrong-Way Crash, Gets $5.2M

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By Brett Snider, Esq. on August 22, 2013 9:09 AM

A Texas man has won a $5.2 million jury verdict against an elderly wrong-way driver who caused him to lose his leg.

Jerry Wall was riding a motorcycle in Parker County, Texas, west of Fort Worth, in 2010 when he was struck by an 83-year-old woman driving the wrong way on Interstate 20. Wall lost his leg in the crash, reports the Weatherford Democrat.

Why such a large verdict against an elderly driver?

Establishing Fault

At trial, Wall's Dallas-based lawyers called the jury's attention to the ineptitude of the elderly driver who crashed into him.

Driving the wrong way on any one-way road, much less on a freeway, is illegal in Texas. Without an intervening emergency, it's automatically reckless driving.

Such a violation of the law can allow a victim to argue the defendant was negligent per se -- in other words, that the defendant was negligent by breaking a traffic law which caused the crash.

In Wall's case, driver Vernell Ingram was in violation of the law when she struck Wall and his motorcycle, so her traffic violation was at the very least evidence of her negligent conduct.

To drive home this point, jurors heard testimony that Ingram was asked to retake a driving test after the crash... and failed four times, reports the Weatherford Democrat.

Damages From Crash

The $5.2 million jury award for damages related to the crash did not include any punitive damages, which may have been applied if jurors had found Ingram to be malicious or wantonly reckless in her actions.

The large award for actual damages likely covers past and future medical expenses for Wall, as well as pain and suffering from the permanent loss of a limb.

Wall's attorney told Dallas' WFAA-TV he hopes that this verdict will send a message that incompetent drivers like Ingram who've had "multiple accidents" in the past should "not be driving right now."

Ingram currently denies the accident ever occurred -- "Read my lips, I don't remember," she said in a video deposition -- and told WFAA she has no plans to pay her portion of the verdict.

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