Columbia-based Goings Law Firm, LLC, through the work of attorneys Robert Goings and Jessica Gooding, recently obtained a large verdict against a drunk driver. Our client, a South Carolina highway worker, was seriously injured in an accident caused by a habitual drunk driver in 2018. After deliberating for just three hours, the jury returned with a verdict, awarding our client a staggering $12.5 million in damages.
The $12.5 million in damages consists of $3.5 million in actual damages and $9 million in punitive damages, which are designed to punish a defendant for excessively reckless behavior.
Back in 2018, our client was traveling northbound on Interstate 77 as part of a caravan of construction vehicles, clearing construction debris from the highway, when a Columbia-based attorney rear-ended our client’s truck. At the time of the accident, our client’s truck actually had flashing, lighted signage on the rear of his vehicle, instructing other drivers to keep left.
Our client sustained injuries to his neck, shoulders, and lower back due to the collision, ultimately costing around $380,000 in medical expenses.
We presented evidence that demonstrated the culprit’s liability. He had a staggering BAC (blood alcohol content) of .148 around four hours after the crash. The legal limit is a BAC of .08. This same man had been charged with driving under the influence a total of three times in the past, incurring two DUI’s in South Carolina and another in Virginia. While the defendant’s attorney argued that his past convictions were irrelevant to the case at hand, Goings Law Firm, LLC established that the driver had a dangerous pattern of driving while intoxicated that ultimately led him to severely injure our client.
As part of his closing argument before the jury, Robert Goings stated, “You need to return a verdict that is big enough to make it in the newspaper, to send a message to any drunk driver that is out there that drunk driving is not tolerated in Richland County — that our lives, our families’ lives are worth more than to be endangered by a reckless, careless drunk driver.”
The size of the verdict that Goings Law Firm, LLC was able to obtain for our client was called “unprecedented” by Steven Burrit, the executive director for the South Carolina branch of MADD (Mothers Against Drinking in Driving). Of the verdict, Burrit added, “I can’t recall hearing anything that large in a DUI case. That jury took the opportunity to express just how serious this crime is, and how frustrating it is to see this kind of behavior, which puts all of us at risk.”
Robert Goings indicated that the firm would do everything in its power to ensure that their client was able to collect on the verdict.
Contact Goings Law Firm, LLC Today
If you have been injured in an accident that was caused by a drunk driver in South Carolina, contact Goings Law Firm, LLC today. We have the experience and skills to independently investigate your claim, gather evidence to support it, and aggressively seek the compensation you deserve. With our proven track record of success, you know your case is in good hands when you hire us. Contact us today at (803) 350-9230 for a free case evaluation.
Jess Gooding is one of the newest members of the Richland County Bar Association’s Newsletter Editorial Board, and she has been charged with the Newsletter’s pop culture column.
“Bar Bites” is a column featuring tidbits on what local attorneys are interested in; it includes reviews on restaurants, bars, television shows, podcasts, and more! This fall, the new Netflix series, Stranger Things, received particularly high praise. The newsletter and column alike will be published quarterly. To read the column, see pages 18 and 19 of the RCBA Newsletter.
The Goings Law Firm is excited to announce that Jessica L. O’Neill Gooding has joined the firm located at 914 Richland Street, Suite A-101, Columbia, S.C. 29201. Jess is from Conway, South Carolina, but she has lived in Columbia since her freshman year at USC. Jess stayed on at the University of South Carolina to earn her law degree, and she graduated magna cum laude in 2013. While in Law School, Jess received many honors including being selected as member of the South Carolina Law Review, and the Order of the Coif and the Order of the Wig and Robe.
Jess comes to Goings Law Firm from Turner Padget in Columbia, where her practice focused on personal injury, premises liability, and employment litigation. She has experience litigating in state and federal courts, as well as representing clients before numerous state agencies.
Jess is active in the South Carolina Bar’s Young Lawyer Division, and she serves on the Cinderella Project Committee. Jess is also on the Membership Committee for the South Carolina Women Lawyers Association and on the Editorial Board for the Richland County Bar Newsletter.
Jess brings a unique skill set and a bright personality to the team, and Goings Law Firm, LLC is thrilled to welcome her!