A Nueces County jury awarded $67 million to a victim paralyzed in a Texas auto accident.
Details Of The Accident
Nueces County jury members issued a high-low verdict in a case against Weatherford U.S. and its employee. The plaintiff, Christopher J. Arnold was paralyzed from the waist down after sustaining injuries in a highway accident involving one of Weatherford’s drivers.
In the agreement, Weatherford agreed to pay Arnold a minimum of $500,000 and a maximum of $9 million. On September 2, the jury issued a $67 million verdict including $33 million in punitive damages and assigned 62 percent responsibility to the Weatherford defendants, 30 percent to the driver of the vehicle in which Arnold was a passenger (who was not a named party in the litigation), and 8 percent to Arnold, who was not wearing a seat belt.
Arnold’s attorney’s Tom Rhodes of San Antonio and Thomas J. Henry of Corpus Christi persuaded the jury that even though the defendants alleged that the driver in Arnold’s vehicle made a U-turn that led to the multi-car pileup, the incident could ahve been prevented had Weatherford’s driver followed safe following distance procedures.
Regarding his strategy during trial Rhodes said, “Acknowledge the strength of their arguments and find a way to deflect it, without totally denying,” If the plaintiff team had argued that the driver of Arnold’s vehicle had no responsibility, “We would have looked stupid,” said Rhodes.
Henry believes they were able to put a large dent in the defense’s argument by questioning the first witness, the driver of the Weatherford vehicle.
“I got him to admit that if he had followed rules about following distances [between vehicles], he would have been able to prevent the collision,” Henry says.
Texas Auto Accident Statistics
Information below provided by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT):
- 3,534 people were killed in traffic accidents in Texas in 2014, roughly one death every 2 hours and 29 minutes.
- 581 of those fatalities were linked to wrong-way collisions, and 823 deaths were associated with crashes that occurred at or in relation to an intersection.
- An additional 237,941 people were injured in auto accidents in Texas in 2014 with 17,152 people sustaining incapacitating injuries.
- A reportable crash occurred roughly every 66 seconds.