Birmingham’s Keith (Kit) Belt Jr. of Belt Law Firm Secures $13 Million Verdict in Montgomery, Alabama, in a Distracted Driving Case

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The defendant's cell phone bill, showing two text messages recorded at or just prior to the car accident, came into evidence during the four-day trial, says Keith T. Belt Jr. of the Belt Law Firm, P.C.

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Keith T. Belt Jr.

As a result of this terrible crash, our client suffered severe, permanent injuries that will require a lifetime of care and treatment. We are pleased that the jury found in his favor and awarded funds that will pay for our client’s medical expenses.

Birmingham personal injury lawyer Keith T. Belt Jr. has secured a $13 million verdict on behalf of a plaintiff who suffered two shattered vertebrae in a car accident involving an alleged texting driver.

During the course of the four-day trial, the plaintiff produced an exhibit showing the defendant’s cell phone bill, according to the exhibits log. The bill showed one incoming and one outgoing text message within the ambit of the time the crash occurred.

The jury awarded the plaintiff a $13 million verdict on March 15, 2012, in Montgomery County Circuit Court. The verdict consisted of exclusively compensatory damages. Judge Eugene W. Reese entered judgment in the case. (Gutierrez v. Franklin, 03-CV-2010-900732).

“As a result of this terrible crash, our client suffered severe, permanent injuries that will require a lifetime of care and treatment,” Belt said. “We are pleased that the jury found in his favor and awarded funds that will pay for our client’s medical expenses.

“This award is intended to compensate my client for the tremendous pain and suffering that he has endured.”

Belt is the founding member of Belt Law Firm, P.C., a Birmingham personal injury firm that represents auto accident victims across Alabama and the Southeast.

According to the trial transcript, the plaintiff, a legal migrant worker from Mexico, testified that he had been driving for about one mile on U.S. Highway 231 in Montgomery, Alabama, on February 15, 2010, when the defendant suddenly struck his car from behind.

However, according to the trial transcript, the defendant (a 21-year-old college student), testified that the plaintiff pulled right out in front of her into her lane of travel from a gas station. There were no other eyewitnesses.

According to the trial transcript, Pam Stirling, an accident reconstruction expert hired by the plaintiff, testified that the defendant had drifted off the roadway onto the shoulder before correcting left and striking the plaintiff in the right rear of his vehicle.

Larry Dewberry, an accident reconstruction expert hired by the defendant, testified that the plaintiff was traveling very slowly at impact and had likely just pulled out of the gas station, according to the trial transcript.

As a result of the impact, the plaintiff suffered traumatic spinal cord injuries rendering him an American Spinal Injury Association, Class B (ASIA B) paraplegic.

The plaintiff has little sensory function below the chest and no motor function below that level, according to the testimony of Dr. Keneshia Kirksey, MD, a Birmingham physiatrist who testified via deposition.

The exhibits log shows that the plaintiff introduced more than 100 exhibits, including the defendant’s cell phone bill.

In addition to Kirksey and Stirling, two other experts testified for the plaintiff: Kathy Smith, an Alabama-based life care planner, and J.C. Grant, an accident reconstruction expert.

Grant forensically mapped the entire accident scene and the plaintiff’s vehicle, according to the exhibits log, while Stirling provided the jury with analysis of how the accident occurred and how it was consistent with the plaintiff’s version of events.

About Belt Law Firm, P.C.

Belt Law Firm, P.C., is an Alabama personal injury law firm that represents the victims of insurance fraud (insurance policy disputes and bad faith insurance practices) and dangerous and defective products throughout the communities of Birmingham, Bessemer, Cullman, Tuscaloosa, Jasper, Homewood, Jefferson County, Shelby County, Walker County, Blount County and St. Clair County. Although the firm’s focus is on local litigation in Alabama, the firm’s attorneys practice throughout the country. Belt Law Firm has lawyers licensed in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, New Mexico, and Colorado. To learn more, call the firm toll-free at (888) 933-1514 or use its online form.

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