L-R Mike Moran & Pete Law (John Disney/Daily Report)
The mother and guardian of a 52-year-old Augusta man who suffered catastrophic brain injury in a South Carolina truck wreck settled a suit for $12 million, according to plaintiffs’ attorneys E. Michael Moran and Peter Law of Law & Moran.
The complaint alleged negligence against the driver and the owner of another truck said to have run a red light, causing the accident.
Glen Bellamy, then a truck driver, was injured two years ago as he drove through the small town of Sumter. His tractor-trailer crashed into the side of the other rig at the intersection of Broad Street and Wesmark Boulevard.
“Our contention was the other driver ran a red light,” Moran said. “Our client ran into the side of the tractor of the other truck.”
The other driver, Thomas Godbold Jr., denied he ran the red light and his employer, Red Classic Transit, initially disputed liability, according to Moran. One eyewitness supported Godbold’s position.
But the plaintiff’s side produced two eyewitnesses that said the Red Classic Transit truck did run the red light.
“Even though it was disputed liability, after the scene witnesses were deposed, the defense really stepped up and settled it early,” Moran said. He said the settlement is being paid by Red Classic’s insurer, ACE, under a policy larger than the agreed-upon $12 million.
The defense attorney for ACE, Sterling Davies of McAngus Goudelock & Courie in Columbia, couldn’t be reached.
Moran said Godbold wasn’t hurt, but Bellamy sustained a serious head injury. He was initially taken by ambulance to a local hospital, where a CT scan showed brain hemorrhages and a skull fracture. He was transferred to a regional hospital and then to Shepherd Spinal Center in Atlanta, where he underwent inpatient and later outpatient treatment.
Bellamy now lives in a treatment home in Augusta. “It’s just for folks with brain injuries,” said Moran, adding the facility treats eight to 10 residents at a time. “They don’t need intensive medical care, but they’re not ready to go home.”
Bellamy’s mother, Ethel Bellamy, was appointed his legal guardian after his injury and brought the lawsuit on his behalf, according to Moran. His medical expenses totaled $1.38 million. His future life care plan created by the plaintiff’s economist totaled $4.2 million. He claimed future lost wages of $776,810.
Along with the severity of the injury, Moran said he believed the character of the client helped lead to an early settlement.. “By all accounts Glen was a good guy with a great family,” Moran said. “This was a good solid plaintiff.”