After a six-week trial, a California jury handed down a record $35 million verdict to a former UCLA football star who lost his left leg in a traffic accident caused in part by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans). The victim nearly lost his life after he was struck on his motorcycle by a taxi driver making a left turn at an intersection Caltrans knew was dangerous since 2005.
During the trial, the plaintiff’s personal injury attorneys presented evidence Caltrans planned to install double yellow lines across the intersection due to line of sight problems causing accidents. However, the department failed to act on the initiative and left the negligently designed intersection as it was.
The plaintiff sued both the cab driver and Caltrans, settling with the driver and taking his case all the way to trial to secure the compensation he needed to pay for his medical bills and ongoing lifetime care needs. The jury found Caltrans 70 percent responsible for the accident, meaning the victim will receive $24.5 million.
As a four year starter for the UCLA Bruins, the plaintiff’s story touched the hearts and minds of many the Souther California area. The victim underwent 13-surgeries and doctors gave him a 2 percent chance of survival. The young man credits his physical and emotional strength with helping him survive and cope with the accident.
The case is a prime example the lengths defendants often go to avoid responsibility for their careless actions and indifference towards the health and safety of ordinary people. Fortunately, our justice system allows personal injury victims the right to trial by jury in catastrophic injury cases, putting the claim in the hands of ordinary people able to empathize with victims.
Furthermore, verdicts like these send a message to others the law will hold them accountable for negligence, recklessness, or disregard for public safety. Although no amount of money can undo the harm of a life-altering accident, personal injury lawsuits help cover the victim’s medical bills, lost wages, and provide the treatments necessary to live a dignified life.
Although The Cochran Firm, D.C. was not party to this particular claim, our office frequently helps motorcycle crash victims file claims and hold wrongdoers accountable. If you or a family member were serious injury in a motorcycle crash or auto accident, contact a Washington, DC motorcycle injury lawyer at The Cochran Firm, D.C. for a free consultation about your case.