Appeals Court Upholds $9 Million Dollar Judgment for Man Injured by Drunk Driver
William Goodwin crashed his motorcycle into Michael Krohn’s truck when Krohn pulled out of a parking lot and suddenly stopped in Goodwin’s lane that he was traveling in. Goodwin, severely injured and bleeding internally, was airlifted from the accident scene. Goodwin was hospitalized and went through 13 surgeries, including the removal of half of his colon and reconstruction of his abdominal wall. It was later determined that Krohn was intoxicated during the accident.
Goodwin filed a complaint for damages against Krohn, alleging he had acted negligently, recklessly, willfully and wantonly while driving. Prior to the civil matter, Krohn plead guilty to driving while intoxicated. In his Answer to Goodwin’s Complaint, Krohn alleged that both he and Goodwin were at least partially at fault for the accident. However, the jury found Krohn to be 100 percent at fault and awarded Goodwin $9.13 million in damages. Krohn then appealed to the Indiana Court of Appeals.
On appeal, Krohn argued that one of the jury instructions referenced multiple standards of proof, improperly explained damages, misstated the law and was confusing and inconsistent. The Court of Appeals disagreed with Krohn and upheld the jury award because they believe the jury instruction in question was correctly worded and utilized. Krohn argued against the instructions during the trial and the trial court ruled correctly.
The Court’s opinion is available at http://www.in.gov/judiciary/opinions/pdf/01231801lmb.pdf