A jury in Clayton County, Georgia awarded an injured motorcyclist $8 million after he was seriously injured in a motorcycle accident involving a dump truck. On October 12, 2015, Ronnie Stevens was riding his Harley-Davidson Street Glide along southbound Interstate 75 when an orange construction barrel was thrown in his path, causing him to crash.
According to trial documents, a dump truck owned by JRK Trucking Inc. from Jonesboro, Georgia — and driven by Donald Parks — was attempting “to move into a closed lane of travel in order to go into a construction site in the median of the highway and negligently struck an orange construction barrel.’”
As a result, the orange construction barrel ricocheted into Stevens’ path, causing him to crash his motorcycle. Stevens suffered a fractured wrist and a shattered ankle.
During the trial, the jury took around 2 hours to deliberate. They ultimately found that the trucking company and Parks were both responsible for the crash.
According to Stevens’ attorney, the trucking company and Parks settled on a “high-low agreement” that had no appealable issues for Stevens, which guaranteed him a settlement.
Stevens was employed by the U.S. Navy as a Chief Petty Officer when the accident occurred. However, due to the nature of his injuries, he had to retire 7 years earlier than planned. His shattered ankle made it impossible for Stevens to run 1.5 miles in order to complete the Navy’s physical readiness test, which made him unfit to continue serving in the Navy.
According to his attorney, Stevens “wasn’t able to go out on ships, he wasn’t eligible for promotions, so his career that he built for 23 years just sort of stagnated in the last 3 years after the accident.”
Even though Stevens wasn’t severely injured in the accident, his injuries did have a major impact on his life.
The process to award Stevens took time because Park, the dump truck driver, left the scene of the accident. This resulted in the police filing the original case as a “John Doe” crash and Rogers having to locate the alleged dump truck driver and trucking company by going through the discovery process with all the construction project’s general contractors.
Since the incident, JRK Trucking’s website indicates the company has gone out of business.
The complexity of this case stands shows why it’s important to hire the best attorney possible if you’re involved in any kind of motor vehicle accident.