Most motorcycle accident lawyers will tell you that a motorcycle accident can cause serious personal injuries. Barry Bowman, a 62-year-old retired police officer, was riding his motorcycle and working as a security guard in Northridge when he was struck by a dump truck. The truck, operated by Tommie Wyatt Trucking, had been hired by the city to haul asphalt. Bowman, a 24-year veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department, suffered short-term memory loss and requires 24-hour care as a result of the motorcycle crash.
According to California Highway Patrol’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Reporting System (SWITRS), in 2006, there were 78 motorcycle fatalities in Los Angeles County and 2,168 injuries. That same year, as many as 51 motorcyclists aged 55 to 64 were killed and 923 were injured.
Bowman subsequently sued the city of Los Angeles. His personal injury attorneys claimed that his brain injuries were the result of the motorcycle collision and said that the two-year-old lawsuit went to trial after Bowman was unable to reach a settlement with the city’s lawyers. Bowman’s attorneys insisted that the city never seemed to understand the potential liability and refused to offer Bowman more than $50,000.
Lawyers for the City of Los Angeles alleged that the truck driver had concluded his work for the day and was “off site” when the accident occurred. Bowman’s lawyers said the dump truck was traveling at 14 mph. The city claimed it was going 2 mph.
“The failure of motorists to detect and recognize motorcycles in traffic is the major cause of motorcycle accidents,” noted John Bisnar, California motorcycle accident attorney. “Motorists involved in a collision with a motorcycle simply did not see the motorcycle before the collision, or did not see the motorcycle until too late to avoid the collision.”
A jury awarded $15.7 million to Bowman, assigning roughly $4.7 million to cover his medical costs and lost wages and $11 million for pain, suffering and emotional distress. A city spokesman said the case went to trial because Bowman had demanded $18 million until jury deliberations were underway. Bowman was initially offered $1 million from the trucking company’s insurance carrier, which Bowman had declined. The city spokesman claimed the city was liable for 75% of the award. Bowman’s attorneys disagreed, saying the city must pay all but $1 million. The city has not decided whether to appeal.
“We admire Mr. Bowman’s decision to do the right thing and pursue the City of Los Angeles and hold it accountable for the negligence of its contracted dump truck driver,” noted California motorcycle accident lawyer and motorcycle enthusiast, Brian Chase. “Our hope is that this lawsuit, and the similar lawsuits we have filed against governmental agencies will pressure them to ensure that its contracted drivers are properly screened and trained, thus reducing the number of motorcycle accidents and fatalities.”
If you or a loved one has suffered serious injuries as the result of a defective auto part or vehicle, contact the experienced California auto products liability attorneys at Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys for a free consultation. We will use our extensive knowledge and resources to achieve the best possible results for you and your family.