The family of James Lafayette Taylor Jr. has won a $1.5 million wrongful death jury verdict against a taxi cab driver and the cab company that employed the man. The award comes after a civil trial in Gaston County, North (NC), stemming from a June 15, 2007 pedestrian accident in which the cabbie struck and killed Taylor as he walked down South Marietta Street in Gastonia at 5 am.

View a larger map of the location where a taxi driver struck and killed a blind pedestrian in Gastonia, NC

The Charlotte Observer is reporting that the defendants tried to avoid liability for causing Taylor’s death by claiming that the blind man was walking in the center of the street and wearing dark clothes at a time of the morning when the sun had not yet risen. The plaintiff’s attorneys succeeded in convincing jurors that the crash victim was not negligent, in part because he was carrying and using his white cane when the collision occurred.

It also came out at trial that the cab driver has no vision in one eye, limited sight in his other eye and a club foot that can make operating gas and brake pedals difficult. In short, the lawyers representing Taylor’s estate made a strong case that the cabbie’s own physical limitations would have made it difficult to see any pedestrian and to respond quickly to avoid a tragic accident.

As a North Carolina wrongful death attorney myself, I offer my congratulations and gratitude to the lawyer who helped the Taylor family receive compensation for their loss.