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Step One: Look at phone. Step Two: Walk. Step Three: Get in an accident. Step Four: Get $161,000 from a jury.
A jury in DeKalb County, Georgia awarded a woman six figures for injuries she sustained after striking her head on a lowered bucket truck ladder.
DeToya Moody allegedly never saw the bright orange ladder of a bucket truck coming, mostly because it was not moving. The ladder, surrounded by bright orange cones, was raised across a Publix sidewalk the first three times Moody walked by. Moody had parked behind the truck with the ladder attached and passed it towards the Publix, back to her car, and back to an ATM, but each of those times, the ladder was raised. The fourth pass was less charming.
This time the worker operating the truck had lowered the ladder, and Moody was staring at her cell phone, sending a text, when surveillance cameras caught her walking directly into it. According to her physician, Moody suffered a mild concussion, post-traumatic headaches, and still has a slight indention in her head from the blow.
Jury Award Ahead
The company using the truck offered to settle for $5,000. Moody's attorney told them he'd accept $75,000. They went to trial. There, Moody's lawyer asked the jury for $155,000. But the jury was having no part of it. Instead, they awarded Moody $161,000, even after determining that she was eight percent at fault for the accident. That eight percent reduced her possible award from what could have been $175,000.
Juries can do some funny things. Which is why most cases never go to trial. The defendants in this case say they will appeal the award, but a higher court would have to find the judge abused his or her discretion in allowing the jury award to stand. Looking back, that $75k settlement seems pretty reasonable.