When you get aboard a motorcycle -- even if you do everything you can to protect yourself -- you face certain distinct risks. One of those is suffering a traumatic brain injury (TBI). A severe TBI can mean a lifetime requiring the care of doctors, nurses, rehabilitation therapists, and/or personal care attendants. In other words, the cost of such an injury can be astronomical. If you have suffered a TBI in your motorcycle crash, it is imperative that you get the right judgment out of your legal case, which makes retaining the right Santa Barbara motorcycle accident lawyer essential.
As noted above, even taking precautions like wearing a helmet does not make you immune from serious accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, roughly 15% of motorcyclists wearing helmets who were involved in crashes requiring hospital treatment still ended up enduring a TBI.
F.L. was one of those motorcyclists. The 30-year-old man was driving his Suzuki motorcycle along a street in Stockton headed westbound. At the same time, the driver of a Ford Explorer SUV was headed eastbound along the same road. The latter turned left, bringing his SUV directly into the path of the motorcycle. The motorcyclist could not avoid the SUV and the motorcycle hit the SUV's front left wheel, sending the motorcyclist slamming head-first into the SUV.
Even though the motorcyclist was wearing a helmet, he endured a severe TBI. He also suffered a fractured right hip, facial fractures, and frontal lobe syndrome.
The evidence of the severity of the motorcyclist's injuries -- and the extent of the care he would need going forward -- was strongly in F.L.'s favor. Even the expert neurologist retained by the defense acknowledged that, if the motorcyclist lived alone, he would need care from an attendant for 10 hours each day, increasing gradually until he would eventually need 24/7 care for the last years of his life.
Both sides agreed that F.L.'s injuries were substantial enough that he could never work again.
On that basis, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the motorcyclist for almost $24 million. That included $6.4 million for the cost of future care from an attendant, $1.6 million in future lost earnings, and $1.6 million in future medical expenses. Additionally, the jury awarded $13.5 million in non-economic damages, which compensates for things like pain and suffering.
Pursuing an At-Fault Driver's Employer... and More
In cases where you as a motorcyclist have endured a large amount of damages, it is especially important that you are able to include as many entities as possible among the group of defendants to maximize your chance of actually recovering everything the jury awarded. An eight-figure judgment against an individual driver is often less valuable than, say, that same verdict in a case where the defendants were the driver and the company that employed him.
In F.L.'s case, the SUV that hit the motorcyclist was leased by the driver's employer, a small railroad company. The motorcyclist was able, by using a legal argument known as "piercing the corporate veil," to include not only the driver's employer but also that company's parent entity (a much larger nationwide railroad company) among the defendants in the case, making the likelihood of recovering the award that much greater.
At the law firm of Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos, LLP, we have a skilled team of experienced personal injury attorneys in Santa Barbara who are ready to discuss your case with you and work to get you the justice to which you are entitled. Contact one of our helpful attorneys at 805-617-1365 or through our website to get a free case consultation and find out more.
Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos, LLP - SAN Mateo OFFICE
Thank you so much for all of your legal help on my case. I’ve really enjoyed working with you and your professional team including Lisa and Mavis. I also appreciate your efforts in reaching a settlement on my behalf. I will definitely refer my clients and friends to your firm they are in need of legal representation in the future. Regards.- ADRIAN C.