Man struck by Columbus Fire and Safety van wins $1 million verdict

A jury awarded an elderly Columbus man and his wife more than $1 million last week for damages he suffered in a 2012 accident at a local fast-food restaurant.

The jury returned the $1.025 million verdict late last Thursday in State Court for Robert and Debra Skinner of Midland. The Skinners sued Columbus Fire and Safety Equipment Co. Inc. for an incident that occurred in the north Veterans Parkway McDonald’s parking lot on Oct. 17, 2012.

A Columbus Fire and Safety van struck Robert Skinner, 76, as he was attempting to cross the parking lot and enter the restaurant. Skinner, who was 72 at the time of the incident, suffered significant injuries to his left leg and has been forced to use a cane, said his attorney Gwyn Newsom of Columbus.

The original personal injury civil suit was filed against Pezold Management, which owns the McDonald’s, and Columbus Fire and Safety. Pezold Management was dismissed from the suit earlier this year, Newsom said.

The jury deliberated for almost a day and a half before returning the verdict. The Columbus Fire and Safety driver, who was working at the time, was found 99 percent responsible for Robert Skinner’s injuries. Skinner was found to be 1 percent responsible, which will reduce the award by $10,250.

“We were pleased with the outcome,” Newsom said. “But we should not have had to go to this length to get this compensation.”

Columbus Fire and Safety was represented by attorney Joe Perrotta of Alpharetta, Ga. He could not be reached for comment.

Chuck Williams: 706-571-8510, @chuckwilliams