$1,624,554.50: Traumatic Brain Injury in Motorcycle v. Auto Collision Leads to One of Largest Results in Colorado History for a PI Lawsuit

CASE DESCRIPTION: Gloria G was a passenger on her husbands motorcycle.  They were riding with approximately 20 other motorcyclists who belonged to the same motorcycle club.  Plaintiffs’ contended that defendant Ryan S’s car crossed from the northbound lane of traffic into the southbound lane in which Mr. and Mrs. G were riding their motorcycle.  The defendant’s car struck a trailer on the motorcycle directly in front of the plaintiffs’ vehicle and then continued across the embankment.  The plaintiffs’ motorcycle overturned, throwing Gloria off the back of the motorcycle and onto her head on the pavement.

RESULT: $1,624,554.50

Although she was wearing a helmet, Gloria was unresponsive at the scene.  Gloria’s husband, Leonard, crawled across the road to reach her.  She was not breathing.  One of the members of their group who had worked in an emergency room quickly went over and began giving her CPR.  Gloria began to breathe again but remained unconscious.  She was taken by ambulance to Mercy Medical Center and endotracheally intubated.  Because she was continuing to have breathing problems Gloria was transported by helicopter to St. Mary’s hospital in Grand Junction for acute care.  Due to the trauma, Gloria received brain injury symptoms which affected her mood and social behaviors.

Plaintiffs’ contended that defendant Ryan S, caused the incident by driving recklessly on the date of the incident.  Ryan S was prosecuted in the criminal system for various counts of criminal conduct including possession of an illegal substance on the date of the incident.  Plaintiffs’ contended that if Ryan was not driving the vehicle at the time of the incident, he would be found liable under the principles of negligent entrustment for allowing his friend, Virginia S, to drive the vehicle while only having a learner’s permit.

Defendant Ryan S contended that he was not driving the vehicle at the time of the incident.  Ryan S, including his two passengers contended that his friend, Virginia S, was driving the subject vehicle.  Virginia S admitted to driving the vehicle on the date of the incident.  Defense counsel contended that Ryan S could not be found liable for negligent entrustment as Virginia S had no history of vehicular incidents in the past.

TYPE OF CASE: Personal Injury, Motorcycle v. Automobile

INJURIES: Plaintiff’s counsel contended that Gloria G sustained closed-head injury with skull fracture and brain contusion causing a disorder of mood and affect.  Plaintiffs counsel also contended that Leonard G sustained various soft tissue injuries.  Gloria G brought a claim for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  Leonard G brought a claim for loss of consortium.

Defendant claimed that Gloria G was very successful in her recovery from the injuries presented.  Defense counsel claimed that there was no noticeable affects from any brain contusion suffered.

SETTLEMENT NEGOTIATIONS: This matter was resolved on the first day of mediation in Denver, Colorado, for $1,600,000.00 (plus $24,554.50 paid previously by way of restitution).  Per Judicial Arbitration Group, the settlement represents one of the largest results in the State of Colorado for a personal injury lawsuit.

POST SCRIPT: Defense counsel stated that defendant, Ryan S, successfully completed a polygraph test in stating that he was not the driver of the vehicle on the date of the incident.  Ryan S had much greater insurance coverage than Virginia S (who had a $100,000 insurance policy) which made this a significant coverage issue.

DATE & LOCATION OF INCIDENT: September 5, 2004, at approximately 12:35 p.m., near Durango, Colorado

PLAINTIFF’S AGE:  Gloria G – 56, Leonard G – 49

OCCUPATION: Service Representative for Arrowhead

Christopher R. Aitken, Esq.
For Plaintiffs – Gloria & Leonard G

Bradley D. Tucker, Esq.
For Defendants – Ryan S and Virginia S
DEFENDANT INSURANCE CO.: Allstate Insurance Company