A former lineman for the UCLA Bruins football team received a type of victory recently when a Southern California jury ruled in his favor in the injury lawsuit he brought against the California Department of Transportation and the taxi driver who hit him. The jury concluded that CalTrans bore the brunt of liability for, as the injured man argued, allowing a dangerous intersection to remain in place without any changes to improve safety. Sometimes, a successful personal injury case can be about more than just recovering damages for the harm you incurred. As the plaintiff told KCAL9 about his litigation, “It stands as a big symbolic victory, but mostly, I’m just excited to know that my losses weren’t made in vain.”
The plaintiff played offensive tackle in his four years on the UCLA football team. Three years after leaving the school, he had a vibrant life. He was the picture of health. He had a girlfriend who would eventually become his fiancée. He had a job for ESPN scouting high school football players.
But, unfortunately, auto accidents can change all that. According to tbrnews.com, he was driving his motorcycle northbound on the PCH in 2012 when a taxi driver, who had been traveling southbound, crashed into him as the taxi driver apparently attempted a left-hand turn to go east.
The wreck nearly killed the plaintiff, and it did cost him one of his legs. It also cost him his relationship with his fiancée, who, according to mynewsla.com, testified in the man’s lawsuit that she could not deal with the demands of the relationship after he lost his leg. This information seems potentially to indicate that he suffered substantial losses, in terms of both physical harm and non-physical harm.
Sometimes, in your injury case, it is about more than just showing that you suffered harm. It may be about deciding whom you should sue. In his case, the plaintiff targeted more than just the taxi driver. He also sued CalTrans. As a centerpiece of his case, he tried to show that CalTrans had known for years that the intersection where he nearly died was dangerous, but the department failed to take appropriate action.
The specific problem, according to the plaintiff’s lawyers, was that a pavement slope on the southbound side of the PCH immediately before the intersection made it difficult for drivers like the taxi driver to see northbound traffic like the plaintiff’s motorcycle. The injured man’s legal team argued that the department had received previous complaints and was aware of prior accidents, but it did nothing to make the intersection safer when, he claimed, it should have taken steps like adding a left-turn signal light.
The state attempted to convince the jury that the case was one of ordinary negligence in which one driver (the taxi driver) improperly failed to yield the right-of-way and struck an oncoming driver (the plaintiff). Ultimately, the plaintiff’s presentation apparently was more persuasive than the state’s. The jury looked at the evidence and the testimony and issued a verdict in favor of the injured man in the amount of $35 million. Of that amount, $27.5 million was owed by the state. The difference was because the jury found the taxi driver partly at fault for the crash.
A personal injury case can be about many things. It can be about recovering necessary money to pay for past and future medical care. It can also sometimes be about punishing wrongdoers and, in the process, hopefully bringing about needed change. Whatever you seek to get from your injury case, you need skilled California counsel on your side fighting for you. The determined San Mateo motorcycle accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos have been advocating for the interests of injured people for many years and are here to help with your case. To set up a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys, contact us at 650-345-8484 or through our website.
More Blog Posts:
Injured Motorcyclist Recovers in Excess of $3 Million from “Inattentive” Driver in California Verdict, San Mateo Injury Lawyers Blog, published Oct. 20, 2016
California Family Recovers $23M from City for Dangerous Intersection that Led to Fatal Crash, San Mateo Injury Lawyers Blog, published Oct. 5, 2016