In mid-September of 2017, Harrison & Hull attorneys Richard Harrison and Nimroz Ali defended their client Mark A. Pratt in the 86th District Court, Kauffman Country, Judge Casey Blair presiding. They prevailed with a $0 judgment against their Client.
FACTS and ALLEGATIONS
As reported by Verdict Search, on November 17, 2013, Plaintiff Carlos Morales, a truck driver, was struck head-on while subsequent to a one car collision that left him on the side of the road in Terrell, TX. Morales had swerved off the road and hit a concrete pillar while attempting to avoid hitting an animal running across the street. Morales’ vehicle sat disabled with its headlights off and unable to move from the left side of the street went Pratt drove into view. As Pratt quickly approached the vehicle, he slammed on his brakes, was unable to avoid the broken-down vehicle, and the front ends of Pratt and Morales’ vehicles collided.
A defense expert was brought in to reconstruct the accident and found that given Pratt’s speed, the lighting at the time, and Pratt’s reaction time, there was no feasible way Pratt could have avoided Morales’ disabled vehicle.
The defense noted that given the circumstances, the accident could have been avoided had Morales turned on the vehicle’s interior, brake, or hazard lights. Had there been a sign of the car in distress, the front-end collision would have been completely avoidable. In addition to the lack of lights being used, with Morales multiple years of commercial trucking experience and a defensive driving course he had taken five times, Morales would have known to not let his vehicle sit disabled in traffic with no markers.
INJURIES / DAMAGES
Morales was taken by air ambulance to the emergency room on the day of the accident. He sustained a left wrist fracture and dislocation, a sprained ankle, blunt trauma to the abdomen, a closed head injury, and soft-tissue spinal injury. The Plaintiff underwent CT scans, x-rays, a closed reduction procedure, and was discharged with prescriptions for multiple pain medications.
On March 7, Morales was referred by an attorney to an injury clinic where he was treated until May 25. During this time, he underwent x-rays again and was referred to a family practitioner for additional pain medication.
Morales sought $51,466.19 for past medical bills, as well as damages for past and future pain and suffering and physical impairment.
After the accident, Morales stopped working for his then-employer, however by the end of April he had applied and received a job with a new trucking company. The defense questioned Morales’ credibility as to when he truly recovered from his injuries. After accepting his new position, Morales was required to undergo a physical exam where he stated he had no preexisting hand, neck, head, or back injuries. The prospective employer hired Morales April 27, which is where Morales is currently employed.
Due to Morale’s lack of effort in warning approaching drivers of the disabled vehicle, and his questionable credibility as to when his injuries truly healed, the jury found negligence by Morales and not Pratt rendering, a take-nothing verdict for Plaintiff and a win for Harrison and Hull client Mark Pratt.