GAINESVILLE, Fla., May 31, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- An Alachua County jury has handed down a $2,100,000 verdict in favor of Gainesville-native Katherine Gentry for catastrophic injuries caused by a drunk driver in 2012.
On the night of the crash, the defendant was driving in the rain while intoxicated when he lost control of his vehicle on SW 62nd Blvd. behind the Oaks Mall, colliding head-on with Ms. Gentry's vehicle. Ms. Gentry suffered an "explosion fracture" in her ankle, requiring surgery and the implanting of screws and plates to repair her ankle. She also sustained a severely fractured knee-cap, a broken foot, broken wrist, and head trauma. Her injuries left her unable to walk without assistance for more than nine months. In addition, the jury heard from Ms. Gentry's psychologist about her Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) which, to this day, restricts her ability to drive and return to life as she knew it.
"When Kat and her parents told me about the crash and how their first lawyer refused to take the case to trial, I just had to help," said Ben Steinberg, Litigation Attorney at Avera & Smith. "Nobody could ask for a better client, so on behalf of the firm I wanted to show her that helping people who are injured isn't always about dollars and cents."
Mr. Steinberg suggested the jury award $587,000 to compensate Ms. Gentry for the injuries, pain, and suffering she endured. He also suggested an award of $1,000,000 in punitive damages to punish the defendant and deter others from engaging in similar conduct. The jury almost doubled the compensatory amount, awarding $1,100,000 for Ms. Gentry's injuries, pain and suffering, and accepted his suggestion of $1,000,000 in punitive damages.
"Drinking and driving is a terrible reality and, together with Kat, we hope that this jury and their verdict will send a clear message to our entire community that choosing to drink and drive has consequences, not just for the victims, but also for those who make that choice," said Steinberg.
Avera & Smith has represented Floridians for more than 60 years with a legacy of personal service and genuine care for clients and the local community. Visit www.avera.com for more information.
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SOURCE Avera & Smith, LLP