Girl Hurt in Wreck Awarded $1.25 Million

From the Charleston Gazette:

Girl hurt in wreck gets $1.25 million

By Andrew Clevenger
Staff writer

After a four-day trial in Kanawha Circuit Court, a jury awarded more than $1.25 million to a Scarbro girl who was injured when a truck ricocheted off another truck and pinned her leg against a power pole in 2004.

Stefanie McKinney, now 14, needed 720 square centimeters of skin grafts on her leg, said her lawyer, Chad Love.

“The scarring was just unbelievable,” he said.

The jury’s verdict included $250,000 for pain and suffering, $200,000 for mental and emotional distress and $550,000 for disfigurement. In addition, the jury awarded $257,858.52 to cover McKinney’s medical bills.

McKinney was standing on a corner in Oak Hill when a 1997 Ford Ranger truck driven by John Anderson collided with a 1994 GMC truck driven by Jimmie Souder, according to the lawsuit she filed in 2006. After the impact, Anderson’s truck pinned her leg against the pole.

The jury found that Souder was 100 percent liable for the accident, and Anderson was not negligent.

Beckley lawyer Tim Hayes, who represented Souder, could not be reached on Friday.

Charleston attorney Andy Brison, who represented Anderson, said he was glad that the jury had concluded that his client was not at fault.

“It’s a tragic case. This little girl was standing there advertising her mother’s yard sale, and she gets hit like that,” Brison said.

McKinney impressed Brison as the kind of person who refused to become a lifelong victim.

“She had a really good recovery,” he said, noting that by the spring of 2005, she was playing softball, even making the all-star team. “As her dad said, she worked her butt off to get into that shape, and I agree. She’s just not going to let this get her down. She doesn’t seem like the kind of kid who would do that.”

Judge Paul Zakaib Jr. presided over the case.

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