Motorcycle Accident $275,000 Settlement
Published On: March 29, 2009
This case is one wherein my client, Bobby, suffered serious injuries as a result of a car making a u-turn in front of him while he drove his motorcycle at a safe speed. In particular, he suffered a degloving injury to his right leg which necessitated a painful skin graft and had left him with a large permanent scar (see picture to the right).Graphic photos of Bobby’s injuries, before and after the surgery, can be seen by clicking here – due to the graphic nature of these motorcycle injury degloving photos, it is inappropriate to just post them here because they are too shocking and one must be forewarned. You need to affirmatively click here in order to view them.
Ultimately, the case settled for $275,000 – an amount far and beyond his medical bills and designed to compensate him for the pain and suffering that he experienced as a result of this negligent driver.
Please read excerpts from the mediation brief below. The names have been changed to protect the anonymity of the parties.
The instant lawsuit arises out of an incident which occurred on June 24, 2008 on Acme Place just south of Genteel Boulevard in the City of Los Angeles. Defendant Theresa was driving a 2005 silver Volkswagen Passat in lane 2 of 2. Plaintiff Bobby, then 24 years of age, was driving his 1994 Honda VFR-750 motorcycle in lane 1 of 2.Bobby, who was suited up with a leather jacket, jeans, safety helmet and motorcycle riding boots, had been traveling in the same lane, without making any lane changes, for quite some time. He was not using his cell phone nor was he listening to any type of music. He testified in his deposition that he traveled within the 35 mph speed limit for the duration of his drive on Acme. Further, he was on his way to a cold-reading class at a local community center. The class, which was only a few miles from his home, was to begin at 7:45 pm. Bobby would have arrived early having left his apartment at 7:13 pm had it not been for this life-altering accident.
Plaintiff became aware of Theresa’s vehicle just after passing Genteel Boulevard. There was nothing in particular that brought it to his attention other than “the fact that there was a vehicle there.” (Bobby Deposition 46:24). They were both traveling at the same speed and they remained in their respective lanes with Bobby traveling approximately 70 to 80 feet behind. He noticed her beginning to slow down but because she remained in her own lane he thought nothing of it until it looked as though she was going to merge into his lane. He honked his horn, eased on his brakes and tried to move to the left in order to avoid her all the while being mindful of not crossing over the double yellow line into oncoming traffic.
In actuality, Theresa was not attempting to merge into Bobby’s lane of travel. Instead, she made a u-turn directly in front of him causing the injuries and damages hereinafter described.
The Los Angeles Police arrived at the scene, investigated the incident and produced the report. Theresa stated, in pertinent part, that she made a u-turn in order to change her direction of travel from southbound Acme to northbound Acme and, in so doing, collided with Bobby’s motorcycle. She says that she never saw him coming which led her to believe that he was speeding. However, there is no evidence to substantiate that point and, in fact, such a statement is purely speculative. Finally, she admitted to the investigating officer that the accident was her fault.
An independent witness, Darius, stated that he was driving northbound on Acme and saw Theresa, who was traveling southbound on Acme, make a u-turn. He witnessed Theresa collide with Bobby’s motorcycle.
Although Theresa was not cited, the police listed the primary collision factor as a violation of California Vehicle Code §22102 by Theresa. The code states that
“No person in a business district shall make a U-turn, except at an intersection, or on a divided highway where an opening has been provided in accordance with Section 21651. This turning movement shall be made as close as practicable to the extreme left-hand edge of the lanes moving in the driver’s direction of travel immediately prior to the initiation of the turning movement, when more than one lane in the direction of travel is present.”
“I felt around my body and thought I was okay at first. I didn’t notice any problems. Then I reached to touch my leg, and I felt that it was very small. So I looked down, and I saw it, and I was actually holding the bone in my leg. It was completely torn open. I think the term that the EMT’s used was ‘degloving.’ It was completely torn open, and my hand was inside my leg, at which point I pretty much lost my cool.” (Bobby Deposition, page 58:23 to 59:6)
In this case, it was necessary to file a lawsuit against the driver of the u-turning vehicle in order to move the case along. Her insurance company, although polite, was not cooperating to the extent that they needed to in order to come to a fair resolution in this matter. Meanwhile, my client’s medical bills were piling up and he still needed skin graft surgery because his wound was not healing. It remained open! Aggressive action was required and that action was in the form of a lawsuit.
The case then moved along quickly. I found a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon who was willing to perform the skin graft on a lien basis. This means that he was willing to wait until the matter resolved, either through settlement or judgment rendered at trial, before getting paid. The surgery center worked on a lien basis as well.
It is important in injury accidents such as these that the legal aspects are properly handled by an experienced attorney. My client had no health insurance at the time and faced serious medical issues had I not been able to arrange for treatment in the manner described above.