QUADRAPLEGIC V. MAJOR UNIVERSITY
PLS recently represented a well-known university, the employer of Defendant One, who, while on his way to work one morning, stopped at the end of his residential street, looked left and right, saw no traffic, and pulled out. Just as he did so, the plaintiff, who was racing down a hill on his bicycle, grazed the front of Defendant One’s car, lost control of his bicycle and crashed to the street. Plaintiff suffered a broken neck which resulted in quadriplegic injuries. At the time of the incident, the plaintiff was earning just under $100,000 annually and at the time of settlement had over $1.5 million in medical bills, with an estimated $38 million in future life care expenses.
PLS developed evidence that Defendant One may not have been in the course and scope of his employment, even though he drove all over Southern California, sometimes leaving from his home as he had filled out his daily mileage report, which suggested that he was on personal time. With the assistance of computer-aided reconstruction hardware that created a computer mapping of the accident scene, PLS was able to recreate the accident, demonstrating that the Plaintiff was speeding, and could have avoided the accident if he would have reacted defensively at the time Defendant One’s car started to move out into traffic. To support the apparent inability of Defendant One to see the approaching bicyclist, it was demonstrated in the re-creation of the accident that the plaintiff was not visible to Defendant One due to the presence of a utility pole that was blocking his view at the precise moment he would have last looked to his left before pulling out.
Other contributing factors were present, including the fact that the plaintiff did not have his bicycle headlight on and he was wearing conservative, monochromatic clothing that blended in with the roadway making himself difficult to see. The Plaintiff used no other devices to make himself more conspicuous while riding his bicycle.
Armed with this information, the matter was settled for less than half the plaintiff’s future care costs at just under $14 million.