A Southern California Motorcyclist Recovers an $11M Judgment Following a Collision with a City Utility Van

A Southern California Motorcyclist Recovers an $11M Judgment Following a Collision with a City Utility Van

If you’re injured in a motorcycle crash, it is imperative that you retain a skilled Santa Barbara motorcycle accident lawyer. Most motorcycle accident cases involve motorcyclists who have endured multiple types of injuries – many of them serious – that will affect their personal and professional lives now and in the future. These injured motorcyclists often also face an opposition that seeks to play upon jurors’ preconceptions, stereotypes, and biases regarding motorcyclists and how they operate their motorcycles. With strong proof and an experienced advocate, you can overcome these hurdles and get justice.

As an example, we can look at a motorcycle accident case from Los Angeles that hit the news in March. The motorcyclist, G.D., was traveling southbound on Main Street in Los Angeles’ Chinatown neighborhood when a city water and power van tried to turn left onto northbound Main Street. The two vehicles collided and the motorcyclist suffered major injuries. 

A Southern California Motorcyclist Recovers an $11M Judgment Following a Collision with a City Utility Van

He broke his pelvis, his ribs, his left wrist, and his right foot, and lacerated his spleen. He underwent multiple major surgeries (one on his pelvis and one on his wrist,) staying 12 days in the hospital, followed by an additional four months in an inpatient rehab facility. In the five years after the crash, the motorcyclist underwent three more surgeries, including another wrist procedure and a lumbar fusion.

The Department of Water and Power (LADWP) argued that, regardless of the severity of the motorcyclist’s accident, it was not liable for the crash and owed the motorcyclist nothing. LADWP had undisputed proof that the speed limit on Main Street was 35 mph and that the motorcyclist was traveling 59 mph just moments before the crash. According to the utility, the motorcyclist’s speed was the sole cause of the crash, making him 100% at fault. 

The LADWP’s approach to defending this case is common in cases involving an injured motorcyclist. Responsible parties often will seek to cast the motorcyclist as a thrill-seeking and/or reckless driver and shift some or all of the blame for the crash onto the motorcyclist’s allegedly unsafe driving, which frequently centers around the motorcyclist’s speed at the time of the crash.

Overcoming the Defense’s Speeding Argument

This motorcyclist, however, was prepared with proof to counter that defense. The motorcyclist presented evidence that the van driver -- who was at a stop sign -- looked left and then looked right before starting his left-hand turn, negligently failing to execute the proper left-right-left-again technique. The motorcyclist also contended that had the van driver made the proper second look to his left before turning, he would have seen the motorcyclist coming.

Motorcycle Crash

The motorcyclist had video proof that, according to his attorneys, demonstrated that speed was not a factor. The video evidence allegedly showed that the motorcyclist was visible to the van driver for five seconds before the collision and that the outcome would have been the same even if the motorcyclist had been moving at 35 mph.   

That proof ultimately persuaded the jury, who returned a verdict in favor of the motorcyclist and awarded him $11,045,000 in damages.

Retaining legal counsel as quickly as possible is a good way to strengthen your position. This allows your legal team to start investigating ASAP and ensure that all filing deadlines under the statute of limitations are met. To get our knowledgeable Santa Barbara motorcycle accident attorneys to work for you, contact the law firm of Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos, LLP today at 805-617-1365 or through our website to get a free case consultation. 


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