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In February 2011, James Lightfoot was abruptly read-ended atop the Mathews Bridge. As a result of the collision, Lightfoot suffered permanent injuries to his neck and back, and would forever be plagued by excruciating pain due to the negligence of the driver who hit him. The injuries Lightfoot sustained required him to undergo a cervical fusion surgery in addition to recommendations that he would eventually need another cervical fusion surgery, a spinal cord stimulator, and pain management treatment for the remainder of his life, consisting of injections and radiofrequency ablations. Doctors also prescribed Lightfoot an electric wheelchair to assist him, especially for long distances.
Despite the other driver rear-ending Lightfoot, she still denied all liability for the collision. So, with mounting medical costs and nowhere to turn, Lightfoot knew he needed help. The team at Coker Law was able to provide that help, by representing him in trial. Coker Law Founding Partner Howard Coker, Attorney Chelsea Harris, and Co-Counsel Joe Camerlengo knew that Lightfoot did not deserve to have to pay for his medical treatments that were clearly a result of another driver’s negligence.
After numerous continuances from the defense in an attempt to postpone trial, Coker Law kept pushing for Lightfoot to have his day in court. They knew Lightfoot deserved justice and closure, as he would be plagued by injuries for the rest of his life due to the negligence of the other driver. Through cross-examinations in court, Harris was able to obtain admissions from the defendant driver that she was driving distracted because she was looking at her son in the back seat. The defendant admitted that she knew that she had a duty to operate her vehicle safely, no matter what was happening inside her vehicle.
In 2014, the defense conducted surveillance on Lightfoot in an attempt to prove his injuries would not change his life. However, Coker cross-examined the investigator and obtained admissions that despite surveilling Lightfoot for three full days, the only surveillance he was able to obtain was 16 minutes of footage of Lightfoot buying food. Coker was able to justify that Lightfoot was simply doing the basic tasks necessary to feed himself, and that the footage did not prove his injuries were not lifechanging or debilitating.
Thanks to the diligent efforts of Coker, Harris, Co-Counsel Camerlengo and their supporting Coker Law team, they were able to prove to the jury that the defendant driver was 100% liable for the rear-end collision that happened eight years ago atop the Mathews Bridge. The jury awarded Lightfoot compensation for all requested past medical expenses and future medical expenses, as well as damages for pain and suffering, in the total amount of $11,622,673.
“It was extremely rewarding to be able to represent James and obtain a verdict on his behalf that will allow him to receive the care he will need for the remainder of his life,” said Harris. “It was clear to us, and then to the jury, that the severe pain James lives with every day was caused only as a result of the distracted driving of the at-fault driver.”
Case Title: James Lightfoot v. Marilyn Hunt
Date of Jury Verdict: August 19, 2019
Amount of Jury Verdict: $11,622,673.73