Ben Crump Wins Historic $411 Million Verdict in Zoom Trial

From left: Talley Kaleko, Duane Washington, Ben Crump, Robert Cox

A Florida jury returned a record $411,726,608 million verdict in favor of veteran partially paralyzed in a 2018 45-vehicle interstate pileup, who was represented by nationally renowned civil rights and personal injury attorney Ben Crump and co-counsel Robert Cox. The case was the first virtual jury trial held in Florida’s Second Circuit Court in Northern Florida. 
 Crump and Cox represented Duane Washington, a former career Army sergeant and resident of Gadsden County, who was traveling home on his motorcycle via I-10 near Tallahassee on July 24, 2018, when he encountered a 45+ vehicle pileup. The massive crash was caused by weather conditions coupled with speeding by a Top Auto commercial vehicle driver. Washington attempted to drive his motorcycle onto a median to avoid the pileup and the risk of other vehicles crashing into him – but before he could do so, Washington collided with a stopped truck that had no lights on in the emergency lane. The collision launched Washington into the median and left him with severe, life-threatening injuries.
“This proud veteran sacrificed so much to serve our country, and was a competent, safe driver who never even had a ticket while riding his motorcycle. The consequential negligence displayed by the Top Auto driver wrecked not only vehicles but lives,” Crump said. “This is a significant, historic ruling for justice. COVID demanded an unprecedented Zoom trial, but it didn’t stop the jury from hearing and understanding the evidence and returning a record verdict.”
Washington sustained life-altering trauma, including breaking both sides of his pelvis away from his spine, severe colon and urethra damage, permanent incontinence, and loss of sexual function. Washington had a colostomy bag installed during his more than six-month hospital stay and is in constant pain. Despite intensive physical therapy, Washington can walk only with a specialized arm crutch, and his right leg is withering.
Top Auto of Miami rejected the legal team’s $1 million settlement offer. Washington’s medical expenses alone amounted to nearly $750,000.
“Mr. Washington may never feel physically comfortable again, but this verdict ensures that he will be well taken care of and his family will be financially secure,” Cox said.