A jury in Jefferson County, Alabama, has awarded a family more than $3 million in a lawsuit arising out of a 2006 accident in which their car was rear-ended by a man found to be driving under the influence of alcohol. The jury ordered Rayburn H. Moore, Jr. and Moore Asphalt Paving Co. to pay Chris and Kristy Murray and their two children $1.05 million in compensatory damages and $2 million in punitive damages for the 2006 accident that occurred on Highway 31 in Warrior, Alabama. A Cadillac Escalade driven by Moore struck the Ford Mustang in which the Murrays were riding. Chris Murray, a crane operator at U.S. Steel, was stopped to wait for oncoming traffic to clear so he could make a left turn when his vehicle was struck from the rear by the drunk driver.
Cody Murray, who was six years old at the time of the accident, spent weeks in a coma and still can’t walk or talk normally. His sister Shay, 11 at the time, had a broken leg, a lacerated liver and cuts to her head requiring more than 200 stitches. Both of the children were in the back seat of the Mustang. Three hours after the accident, Moore was found to have a blood-alcohol level of .085%, according to court documents. A person with a blood alcohol level of .08% or higher is considered to be driving under the influence in Alabama.
There were 11,773 deaths in the U.S. last year caused by drunk drivers. It is already a national problem. The jury in this case was asked to send a message about driving under the influence and it responded. The jurors obviously made a statement about how dangerous drunk driving is. The jury awards, returned in Circuit Judge Tom King Jr.’s court, were broken down as follows: Moore Asphalt Paving Co., for whom Moore was running an errand at the time of the accident, was ordered to pay $250,000 in compensatory damages and $500,000 in punitive damages; and Moore was ordered to pay $800,000 in compensatory damages and $1.5 million in punitive damages.
Adam Gober, who is with the Gardendale firm of Townes, Woods & Roberts, and Jim Roberts, Jr. of Turner, Webb & Roberts in Tuscaloosa, represented the Murrays and did a tremendous job.
Source: Birmingham News
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