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Jury Awards Texas Nurse $4 Million after Colliding with U-Turning Semi

A Texas jury awarded a registered nurse nearly $4 million in damages after she was injured when her car collided with an 18-wheeler doing a U-turn.

Brandi Williams, age 32, was driving her Lincoln Navigator in the southbound lane of U.S. Highway 259 in Morris County, Texas on April 4, 2011.  Ahead of her on the right shoulder was a tractor-trailer being driven by Tillerd Ardean Smith.  According to testimony, Smith attempted a U-turn across the southbound lane, and Williams’ SUV crashed into the front of the tractor.

Williams was treated for headache, neck pain and left knee pain at a nearby emergency room, then released.  Two days later, she sought chiropractic treatment.  Williams underwent MRIs of her brain and spine, which were unremarkable or normal.  Williams’ chiropractor referred her for pain management, which failed to find the source of her constant pain. She then sought a second pain management opinion and underwent injections of anesthetics in her neck and radiofrequency nerve stimulation, which provided significant relief.   Williams then underwent more radical lumbar discography injections and use of biological disc sealant at L4-5, which failed to relieve her lower back pain.

Williams sued the truck driver, Medallion Transport & Logistics, LLC and Rushing Transport Services, Inc.  for her injuries. Defense attorneys argued Williams was speeding at the time of the accident and took faulty evasive action.  They also claimed that Williams’ alleged injuries were subjective and could not be supported by objective findings, and that she was motivated by secondary gain.

After a four-day trial in Harrison County District Court before Judge Brad Morin, the jury deliberated for four hours before returning a verdict of $3,990,254.58 for Williams on December 19, 2013.  Her attorneys, National Trial Lawyers Top 100 attorney Brent Goudarzi, Marty Young and Geoffrey Hoover of Goudarzi & Young in Gilmer, Texas, had sought $2 million in damages.  The defense offered $350,000 to settle.  Attorneys for the defense were Wade Reese of Tucker, Taunton, Snyder & Slade of Houston and G.R. Randy Akin of Longview, Texas.

The case is Brandi Williams v. Tillerd Ardean Smith, Medallion Transport & Logistics, LLC, and Tomy Rushing d/b/a Rushing Transport Services, Inc.  Cause No. 12-0889 in the 71st Judicial District Court of Harrison County, Texas.

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