Alabama man reacts after $151M verdict against Ford
“I’d rather be walking, but I don’t have a choice. So I have to go with the money," Travaris Smith stated.
SELMA, AL (WSFA) - It’s happened on Aug. 24, 2015 on Dallas County Road 229. Twenty-year-old Travaris Smith was a passenger in a Ford Explorer when the driver swerved to avoid hitting an animal.
The vehicle rolled twice, severing the young man’s upper spinal cord in the process.
“One day at a time,” Smith said Monday, days after winning a large jury award against the Ford Motor Company.
Today, the now-24-year-old uses a wheelchair because he’s unable to walk.
“I can feed myself, but I got to have somebody to help me cook and put my clothes on," he said. “Just got to have somebody with me 24/7.”
Smith’s attorneys sued Ford claiming the motor company could have prevented the rollover with the proper vehicle testing and adjustments.
“Their own engineers stated we need to widen this vehicle and make it lower," said attorney LaBarron Boone.
The Dallas County trial lasted 10 days with the jury siding with Smith and awarding him more than $151 million, the largest civil verdict ever in that county, according to Boone.
“I’d rather be walking, but I don’t have a choice. So I have to go with the money," Smith stated.
Boone fully expects the Ford Motor Company to appeal. Although court records show they haven’t done it yet, they have 30 days to file it.
“Travaris Smith is not interested in a settlement," his attorney explained.
It’s unclear at this point what will happen in the appeals process. That could remain tied up in the courts for months.
Smith, meantime, says he’s already come to terms with his new normal in life.
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