Alabama Supreme Court Reviews Car Accident Case After $2.5 Million Verdict

In a recent case, Alabama’s supreme court considered an Alabama truck accident case in which the jury found in favor of the plaintiff after a woman was killed after colliding with a tree on the side of an Alabama road.

The Trial

According to the plaintiff’s complaint, the plaintiff alleged that two employees of the defendant’s company were driving separate dump trucks when one of the trucks caused the woman’s truck to leave the road, where she collided with a tree and died. The woman’s estate brought a lawsuit against the employer, based on the negligence of either of the employees.

At trial, a witness testified that on the day of the crash, a white dump truck passed him traveling in the opposite direction, that the white dump truck operated by the defendant’s company was not entirely within its lane, and that he had to move over to allow the truck to pass safely.

Another witness stated that he saw a white dump truck traveling toward the dump site. Both witnesses testified that there was no car crashed into the tree when they passed the spot where the woman’s car was later found. They testified that another driver who was traveling behind them called and said that he saw a car against a tree when he passed that spot. One of the witnesses said he only passed one white dump truck, but the other said that he passed the white dump truck and a black truck, also owned by the defendant. Another witness testified that he saw a white dump truck force the woman’s vehicle off the road because it was not in its lane. Each of the defendant’s two employees who had been driving dump trucks on the road at the time testified that they were driving toward the dump site and saw the woman’s car against a tree. Both employees stated that they did not cause her car to leave the road.

The woman’s estate claimed that the woman’s death was proximately caused by one of the defendant’s drivers. The defendant claimed that there was not sufficient evidence to prove that the woman’s death was proximately caused by one of its drivers because there was no evidence showing that one of its employees’ trucks forced the woman’s car off the road. After the end of the trial, the jury found in favor of the woman’s estate and awarded the estate $2.5 million.

The Appeal

The defendant argued the verdict should be reversed because the defendant was entitled to a judgment as a matter of law. Yet the court found that the testimony presented was sufficient to allow the jury to conclude that the woman was forced off the road by a white dump truck. In addition, the only dump truck in the area at the time that fit the description was one driven by a driver employed by the defendant. However, the court ultimately ordered a new trial because the defendant only learned of the eyewitness’ testimony at the last minute, and it found the court should have granted a continuance before proceeding with the trial.

Judgment as a Matter of Law

A party can move for a judgment as a matter of law under Alabama law to receive a judgment from the court without the jury’s verdict. A trial court has to determine whether the evidence is sufficient to submit a question of fact to the jury. To submit a question of fact to the jury, there must be “substantial evidence” before the jury to create a question of fact. Substantial evidence is defined as “evidence of such weight and quality that fair-minded persons in the exercise of impartial judgment can reasonably infer the existence of the fact sought to be proved.”

Contact an Alabama Injury Attorney

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, you may be entitled to file a complaint against the other driver or drivers involved and recover financial damages. Car accidents can cause serious injuries and can take a heavy toll on victims and their families. The Reeves Law Firm is here to help you seek justice for your loss of mobility or economic income. We handle all kinds of Alabama car accident cases and can help you pursue compensation for any accident-related injuries, including medical expenses, lost wages, or impaired lifestyle. Call the Reeves Law Firm at 256-355-3311 for a free and confidential consultation.

More Blog Posts:

Alabama’s Move-Over Law and How It Protects Roadside Workers, Alabama Injury Lawyer Blog, November 29, 2017

Semi-Truck Accidents on Alabama Roads, Alabama Injury Lawyer Blog, December 14, 2017