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Amanda Graham obtained a defense verdict in a motor vehicle accident case in Jefferson County.

In December of 2019, plaintiff was rear-ended by defendant on the interstate at around 5:00 pm. The parties testified that the traffic was bumper to bumper, and they could see a cop up ahead in the left hand median with his lights on. Defendant testified that plaintiff changed lanes to the far left lane in front of her in a space that was too small for him to go, which “closed the gap” of space that had been between her and the vehicle in front of her, which she described as 1-2 car lengths. Shortly thereafter, all traffic slammed on their brakes, and defendant could not stop in time before bumping the rear of plaintiff’s vehicle. Photos depicted minor damage to either vehicle. plaintiff, on the other hand, testified that he had been traveling in the far-left hand lane, behind his daughter, for quite some time. Traffic stopped, and he came to a complete stop, before he was rear-ended by defendant, which pushed him into his daughter’s vehicle.

Defendant testified that traffic had been bumper to bumper, although sometimes traffic would speed up before slowing down again, and at some points she could have been going up to 70 MPH (which is the speed limit on this roadway) although other times she might have been traveling between 20-30 MPH. Plaintiff’s counsel focused on Alabama Code § 32-5A-89(a) which states “…the driver of a vehicle shall leave a distance of at least 20 feet for each 10 miles per hour of speed between the vehicle that he or she is driving and the vehicle that he or she is following.” defendant admitted on the stand that she was not following this statute, as no vehicles were, in bumper to bumper 5 o’clock traffic on the interstate. However, given this testimony, plaintiff’s counsel moved for judgment as a matter of law on the issue of negligence, which the Court granted above defense counsel’s objections. Therefore, at the close of the case, the only issues before the jury were those of injuries and damages. The wantonness count was voluntarily dismissed.

Plaintiff claimed injuries to his hand and back. The only special damages presented during trial was the insurance subrogation amount of approximately $7,000. Retail medical bills were not presented. Plaintiff’s counsel presented a range of a suggested verdict of between $600,000 to $1.1 million. After deliberating for roughly 3 hours, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the defendant.

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