Couple Awarded $1M In Verdict

SALISBURY — Two weeks after a similar accident in southern Worcester County had a comparitively happy ending, a Wicomico County jury last week awarded a couple injured in a motor vehicle collision with a large piece of farm equipment a $1 million-plus verdict.
The Washington, D.C.-based Cochran Firm announced last week it had secured a $1,026,000 million verdict for Michael and Amanda Spence, who collided with a large piece of farm equipment that was being towed behind another vehicle and extended into the roadway near Sharptown in Wicomico County. The jury found the two defendants, John Thomas and Thomas Shockley, were negligent when they towed a farm implement that extended far into their lane of travel.
Because of glare from the light of the vehicle towing the equipment and low visibility during the sunset hours, the plaintiff alleged he was unable to see the equipment infringing into his lane of travel. The defense argued it had the right to be in the other lane due to width exemptions for farm equipment.
However, despite towing wide equipment that infringed on the lane adjacent to their own travel lane, the defendants neglected to use a “wide load” sign or a lead car to prevent the accident, the jury found. During the collision, the victims suffered serious injuries. For example, Michael Spence suffered the permanent loss of one eye, while Amanda Spence suffered a fractured hip.
The Cochran Firm conducted depositions and an extensive discovery process for evidence gathering, analyzed medical records, appeared at multiple court hearings and drafted legal motions vigorously opposing the defendants and their insurance provider who refused to offer the injured victims adequate compensation. Prior to trial, a $200,000 settlement offer was rejected.
The verdict is designed to cover past and future medical expenses, pain and suffering, loss of companionship, physical impairment, inconvenience and disfigurement.
“We are pleased that the jury in this matter recognized the serious harms directly caused by the unacceptable negligence of the defendants,” said David Haynes, managing partner for the Cochran Firm. “Justice has been served in Wicomico County for our clients.”
According to the database WestLaw, this is the first jury verdict of more than $1 million in a non-medical malpractice personal injury case in Wicomico County.