Madison County, Illinois, is not the lawsuit-lottery capital of the world like it used to be, but juries seem to still be pretty generous. Last week, a jury awarded William Clawson over $111,000 for injuries he suffered after he drove a golf cart in front of a car.
If that seems odd, consider that it was also his own car he was hit by.
Apparently, there was someone else in it, although the facts were disputed and/or so poorly set out in the article that it’s hard to figure out just what happened. But Clawson admitted that he drove his golf cart into the path of his own car, when he saw it driving away. Clawson claimed he thought it was being stolen, and so he may have been attempting a daring, Road-Warrior-style assault on the vehicle when he was injured. (As seen here, except replace souped-up-feral-Wasteland-gang car with electric golf cart.)
In fact, it was being repossessed. After Clawson was injured, his golf cart having surprisingly failed to bring the much heavier car to a halt, he sued the tow shop who employed the repo man who was driving the car. He also sued GMAC, claiming that it never told him it was going to have the car repossessed, and also that it later failed to tell the tow shop it had changed its mind. Among the things this article doesn’t explain is why GMAC would have changed its mind about the repossession without any involvement or payment from Mr. Clawson. Maybe the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come appeared to GMAC and showed it the error of its heartless ways, and it decided to return the Clawson Cavalier with a big fat Christmas goose in the trunk.
Anyway, Clawson claimed he didn’t know about any repossession, which explained his maneuver, and that the repo man had used an unreasonable amount of repo force in taking possession of the car. GMAC claimed Clawson was the bad guy, saying he had threatened Jack Turner, the repo man, and his wife with bodily injury — Turner evidently having taken his wife along on a repossession date — and then hit Turner with the golf cart, although Turner doesn’t seem to have been injured. GMAC also said Clawson wasn’t really injured, and that if he was injured it was only because Turner was defending himself against an assault. By hitting the assaulting golfer with a car.
I guess the facts in this article make about as much sense as the verdict.
Whatever really happened, the jury awarded Clawson $111,118.64. The jury did find Clawson 48.35% responsible for his injuries, apportioning the remainder between the tow shop and GMAC (25.35% each), apparently having consulted Steven Hawking in order to determine causation down to two decimal places of precision (although he left before doing the addition because it doesn’t add up to 100%). Clawson thus received almost $57,000 for being hit by his own car after driving in front of it in a golf cart.
Link: Madison County Record