The motorcyclist plaintiff stopped for a red light at an intersection beside a police officer. While the police officer was admiring the motorcycle, it was hit from behind. The impact tossed the plaintiff into the intersection, where the motorcycle landed on his lower legs. The plaintiff sustained a fracture at T12 and damage to neck ligaments.
The officer on the scene noticed immediately that the defendant was intoxicated. He then administered field sobriety tests and arrested her for driving under the influence. A breath test was administered at the police station. Her blood alcohol level was measured at 0.17, more than twice the legal limit (0.08). The defendant admitted to consuming 2.5 cans of a malt liquor while sitting at a nearby waterside site.
During the court trial, the plaintiff’s attorneys called an expert toxicologist from the Department of Forensic Science. After explaining the process of blood alcohol measurement, the expert stated that the defendant’s report of the amount of alcohol consumed was not sufficient to account for the measured level.
During the trial, the defense challenged both the plaintiff’s injuries and the defendant’s liability for the injuries. The defendant claimed that the plaintiff cut in front of her when she was approaching the intersection. This contradicted the testimony of the police officer that the motorcyclist had been stopped for approximately 10 seconds prior to the accident.
The defendant’s attorney drew attention to imaging that showed degenerative disc disease in the plaintiff’s spine – not at all uncommon for someone aged 69 at the time of the crash. Also emphasized was plaintiff’s testimony that he still had soreness due to injuries sustained, but that he had healed otherwise. Defense pointed to the fact that the plaintiff had only minimal pain at 6-8 weeks after the accident.
The plaintiff’s attorney carefully explained the plaintiff’s road to healing from the moment of the accident to help the jury understand the pain and suffering endured during healing. This included time in the hospital, and wearing a hard brace for thoracic fracture). Plaintiff’s attorney also outlined in detail the compensatory damages sought by the plaintiff.
Defense counsel contended that in light of the defendant’s financial situation, punitive damages should not be assessed.
After deliberation and consideration of the defendant’s finances, the jury returned a verdict of $317,000 in compensatory damages plus interest from the date of the crash, and $125,000 in punitive damages.
If you or a loved one is injured in an auto accident through no fault of your own, you may be entitled to recover damages for your injuries and for related pain and suffering, as well as lost wages. When you are injured and you need an experienced and trusted attorney to help and represent you, call Altizer Law, P.C. We have been helping people injured in auto accidents for 30 years. Bettina Altizer and her team of experienced professionals will help you and fight for your interests.