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AUTO INJURY
Verdicts & Settlements

Car

$40 Million

Jenkins v. Lambert
(2016)

On May 10, 2016, a Decatur County Superior Court jury awarded $35 million to Climax, Georgia, Police Chief Joel Jenkins and $5 million to his wife Aimee after he was hit by a pickup truck in 2010. Harris Lowry Manton partner Stephen G. Lowry served as lead counsel for the Jenkins family.

The jury found Derrick Steven Lambert liable for Jenkins’ injuries. Lambert was under the influence of Oxycontin and Xanax when he hit Jenkins’ patrol car head-on with his 2005 GMC Sierra pickup truck. Chief Jenkins had pulled to the side of the road to help a stranded motorist. The lights on his car were flashing.

Chief Jenkins is confined to a wheelchair at present because of hip problems caused by the wreck. Jenkins, 42, is permanently disabled and can never work in law enforcement again.

Evidence presented to the jury included Lambert’s claim the patrol car lights weren’t flashing and his explanation that he didn’t see the car; he did not attempt to brake; and 11 days before trial he was charged with DUI. Lambert’s legal defense was to blame Jenkins and the stranded motorist for the wreck.

“Chief Jenkins was hurt for doing his job the way he was supposed to,” Steve said. “It was an honor to help Joel and Aimee after his tragedy.”

Though Lambert was under the influence, his lawyers pointed to the victim for causing his own injuries. They claimed circumstances did not warrant Jenkins parking partially to the side of the road facing south in a northbound traffic lane. Lambert also blamed the stranded motorist, claiming the man had a suspended license and knew he had a faulty gas gauge when he ran out of gas.

Lambert’s attorneys also fought against damages, saying Jenkins’ hip injuries were caused by a degenerative illness he had prior to the crash.

HLM associate Kristy Sweat Davies and Robert B. Langstaff of Langstaff Law Firm were co-counsel. Korinne Morris, a certified paralegal at HLM, was invaluable at the trial in Bainbridge, Georgia.

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