Federal Jury Awards $375,000 in tractor trailer accident
A Kansas City Federal jury awarded a Missouri farmer $375,000 for damages in a personal injury lawsuit. Elmer Connelly, from Nevada, Missouri, was injured when a tractor trailer collided with his milk truck on U.S. Highway 71 around 7:00 a.m. near Lamar, Missouri. The evidence indicated that the tractor-trailer driver had stopped somewhere the night before near mid-Missouri, Columbia or Boonville, however the logs were not complete. Connelly sued the Wisconsin based freightliner company, H.O. Wolding, for negligence in circuit court, but the action was removed to federal court by the defense based on diversity of citizenship. After a two-day trial, a seven-person jury deliberated for less than an hour before awarding Connelly the $375,000 in compensatory damages. The trucking company offered $80,000 to settle the case immediately before trial. In earlier settlement discussions, the company offered $125,000. Connelly was 78 when the accident occurred, and taking prescription blood thinning medication. While his immediate injury wasn’t life threatening, Smith said the drugs caused a large bruise to develop into a nerve injury, causing substantial pain to Connelly when he is seated for an extended period of time. The A.W. Smith Law Firm, P.C. attorney, Aaron W. Smith, presented the testimony law enforcement officers, Connelly, his wife, a treating physician and a neurologist. The jury award was more than 18 times the amount of economic loss presented at trial. A high-low agreement between the plaintiff and defense at the end of evidence prevented the defense from appealing this substantial verdict.