Refugio County awards man nearly $250,000 in personal injury case
A Refugio County jury awarded a man nearly $250,000 at the conclusion of a two-day personal injury trial Wednesday.
Albert "A.B." Green, 71, of Karnes County, sued Joe Wilson Waddle Jr.
Green claimed Wilson rear-ended his vehicle at 2:47 p.m. Dec. 22, 2009, on U.S. Highway 77, about 9.8 miles from Refugio.
At the time, Green, a Coastline Construction employee, was driving south in a yellow Caterpillar model 12H maintainer, or road grader, and towing a white Ford F-150 pickup in the outside lane.
His attorney, Virgil Yanta, of San Antonio, said Green's flashing lights were on.
"Apparently, he (Waddle) was not paying close attention. He admitted as much - that he happened to look up, and when he looked up, lo and behold, he didn't realize the maintainer was going slow," Yanta said.
It was unclear how Green was injured in the crash because a bullet from a prior incident 50 years ago was lodged in his back. That bullet prevented doctors from taking an MRI, Yanta said.
"He has shoulder and back problems," he said.
Waddle, of Walker County, meanwhile, was not hurt, said his attorney, Rebecca Kieschnick, of Corpus Christi.
Kieschnick pointed out that a jury found Green 20 percent negligent in the wreck because he did not have a triangle depicting a slow-moving vehicle properly displayed.
"It was on the maintainer, but the maintainer was blocked by the pickup truck," she said. "It has to be on all vehicles that are traveling 25 mph or less."
She said the parties tried to settle beforehand.
A Department of Public Safety trooper ticketed Waddle for failing to control his speed, Yanta said.
Yanta said this is the first time a Refugio County jury has awarded so much for what he called a "soft tissue" personal injury case.
"It's truly a remarkable result for justice," he said, adding he has known Green since boyhood and once worked with him in a uranium mine.
Waddle will not appeal the decision.
"It was not a bad result," Kieschnick said.
The amount a jury gave Green was for physical pain, mental anguish and loss of earning capacity he experienced in the past or might in the future, according to the jury charge.