Our client was seriously injured in a Lynchburg motorcycle accident in the summer of 2018.
Lynchburg Motorcycle Accident
Our client was driving a motorcycle on Wards Road with a heavy traffic presence. He approached a 4-way intersection with a green light when the Defendant coming from the opposite direction attempted to make a left turn in front of him.
This was a motorcycle v. motor vehicle crash where both liability and damages were contested.
Our client maintained from day one that he had a green ball. The Defendant, over time, said she had the green arrow. This was only after telling the police officer, “I just followed the car in front of me.”
Our client received a traffic ticket for this crash – failure to obey a traffic signal.
He was found not guilty due to the overwhelming evidence that he had a green ball. The officer never talked to our client after the wreck. He actually met our client outside the hospital doors on the day he was discharged and handed him the ticket.
We tried resolving this case before filing suit, but Allstate was not interested.
The Jury Trial
Because there were no real settlement considerations, Lawyer Hannah Bowie led the charge in presenting this case to a jury. Lynchburg motorcycle accidents are tough to navigate since the insurance companies almost always blame the motorcyclist. Because of this, it takes hard work and preparation to win these cases.
Our witnesses included an eye witness, the investigating officer, the city traffic signal engineer, our client, our client’s wife, treating physician, and an accident reconstructionist.
We only hired the accident reconstructionist after the defense designated an engineer/ accident reconstructionist to testify to our client’s speed at the time of the crash. The only evidence of speed in the case was our client’s testimony that he had looked at his speedometer about ¼ of a mile from where the impact happened, and it read 37 miles per hour. The speed limit on the road is 35 mph.
The Insurance Company’s “Expert”
The insurance company’s “expert” testified that our client was going 43 mph. Hannah Bowie knew she could get him to admit that the crash still happens at the speed limit despite his testimony lacking foundation, so she went along with it. She objected to his testimony; the judge overruled her objection.
Then, Hannah asked if the crash still happens at 42 mph. He agreed.
Then, Hannah asked if the crash still happens at 41 mph. He agreed.
Then, Hannah asked if the crash still happens at 40 mph. He agreed.
Then, Hannah asked if the crash still happens at 39 mph. He agreed.
Then, Hannah asked if the crash still happens at 38 mph. He agreed.
Then, Hannah asked if the crash still happens at 37 mph. He agreed.
Then, Hannah asked if the crash still happens at 36 mph. He agreed.
Then, Hannah asked if the crash still happens at 35 mph. He agreed.
Our expert testified that no expert could determine an accurate speed the way the defense expert was trying to calculate it. He also testified about the traffic patterns of the intersection. From this testimony, the jury could infer that the defendant could not have a green arrow like she claimed.
Our Client’s Injuries
Our client suffered injuries to his hand and shoulder, and he sustained a punctured lung that healed quickly. The EMS professionals took our client to the emergency room in Lynchburg General Hospital where he stayed for four days and had surgery performed on his hand.
After he was released, he followed up with the orthopedist a few times and returned to the ER once for chest pain. Since he didn’t have health insurance and could not afford physical therapy, his medical treatment was limited. Additionally, he could not afford treatment to his shoulder, so he’s been living with the pain. Last year, he was sued by one of the providers for not paying the balance even though they knew he had a PI case pending. We have helped him prolong that case so we could resolve his motorcycle accident case first. His total medical expenses were approximately $91,000.
The defense only had two witnesses – the Defendant and the accident reconstructionist. Both ended up being helpful to our case. The Defendant could have come across as extremely sympathetic as she has Parkinson’s disease. Hannah objected to any mention of it. The Defendant admitted that she believed following the vehicle in front of her and having a green arrow were the same thing.
Hannah knew our client’s direct was going to be difficult. He’s a quiet individual. In opening, she labeled him as “a man of few words,” and he lived up to that. Although he didn’t say anything with great detail, he was confident and unwavering.
His wife testified and won the jury over. She was able to explain what our client couldn’t.
In closing, Hannah went over the important jury instructions and went over damages. Hannah asked for about $426,000. The jury awarded $475,000 with interest from the date of the crash.
We had a high-low in this case due to the risk involved – liability/damages contested, conservative jurisdiction, witnesses showing up to trial, etc. A high-low is essentially a settlement agreement that if the jury finds in favor of the defendant, the insurance company will pay the low. If the jury awards the everything you ask for and then some, the insurance company will only have to pay the high.
In this case, the verdict exceeded the high ceiling that we agreed to prior to the jury trial. Even with the high-low, our client will see a large portion of the amount awarded. We believe we made the best decision with agreeing to the high-low as it was optimal for the client.
“A lot happened to be able to get a verdict like this,” Hannah said. “It was an all-around team effort from everyone in our office. I’m just thankful I got to be part of it.”