Motorcycle Accident Results in Amputation

Synopsis

On September 19, 2008, the plaintiff was traveling down a two-lane rural road on his motorcycle. At approximately 8:00 am, the plaintiff approached and attempted to pass a slow-moving backhoe when the backhoe made a sudden left turn. As a result, the backhoe collided with the motorcycle, severing the plaintiff's right leg and throwing both he and his motorcycle into a ditch on the other side of the road.

Plaintiff Allegations

The plaintiff sued the owner of the backhoe, a construction company for which the driver was employed, and the driver of the backhoe. He alleged that the driver was negligent in the operation of the backhoe and that the construction company was vicariously liable for the driver's actions.

Defendant Allegations

Defense raised issues of comparative fault and offered experts who opined that plaintiff's future medical expenses would not exceed $40,000.

Injuries/Damages

The plaintiff was diagnosed with an above-the-knee traumatic amputation and an open fracture of the right ulna. He underwent emergent surgery for the right leg wound and irrigation and debridement. During that surgery a complete right above the knee guillotine amputation was performed at the distal femur. On September 22, 2008 a revision surgery was performed on the right leg. The plaintiff was prescribed with a prosthetic leg, which he has worn since the summer of 2009 with varying levels of discomfort and irritation.

At the time of the incident, the plaintiff was a special education program director for a private special education school. He was also pursuing further education to achieve his goal to become a principal. Plaintiff claimed he is now forced to accept employment in a lower paying position and at reduced hours, due to necessary breaks from his prosthesis, phantom pain, and pain that affects his attentiveness and concentration.

Prior to the accident, the plaintiff was very active and athletic and enjoyed hiking, backpacking, bicycling, martial arts and playing sports. The accident has affected his employment, his hobbies, and his mental health as he battled depression and anger issues.

Result

Plaintiff claimed he has past medical expenses of $1,341,373. He also claimed that his future medical care would cost $5,665,227. In addition, he sought recovery of $48,263 for past lost earnings and $1,551,472 in damages for his future loss of earning capacity due to the pain and discomfort caused by the loss of his right leg.

The parties negotiated a pretrial settlement for $5.5 million.