As an Orlando auto accident attorney, I often consult verdict and settlement reporters to help myself and my team to advise clients regarding the possible value of their case. This list includes Florida motorcycle accident settlement & verdict amounts. I have also included my thoughts on the likely reasons for high or low awards. This is exactly how diligent & thorough Orlandomotorcycle accident attorneys evaluate cases when advising clients what to accept. We handle biker crash cases throughout the state of Florida.
Below is a summary of reported Florida motorcycle accident verdicts and settlements. This research included many of the most relevant reported case results for motorcycle accident verdicts in Florida, starting with the past 3 years (as of Jan 2016). The post is not complete, but gives you a snapshot view. This is *exactly* the information that lawyers research when determining case value, although some case valuation is based on experience, because many cases are not reported. However, it would be absolutely foolish to try to evaluate or handle a moderate to serious injury or wrongful death case yourself. I’m providing this to educate, not suggest that you can or should handle your own case. You need a motorcycle accident attorney, if you were injured, or someone was killed.
(This post will be periodically updated, at the end of the post, after 2016.)
Most verdicts and settlements are NOT reported. But reported verdicts, along with experience, still give lawyers an idea of the range of values, and the reasons cases fall within certain value points. Also, every jury can be different, and juries are unpredictable, which is why 98% of cases settle before trial.
Many Factors Impact Florida Motorcycle Accident Settlement Values
There are many factors that impact motorcycle case accident value, such as the amount of available insurance, and how clear it is that the defendant driver CAUSED the accident, any positive or negative witnesses, as well as whether any pre-existing injuries might be the cause of current plaintiff suffering. But, again, this list will give you a rough snapshot of some verdict and settlement amounts from Florida motorcycle accident cases. This research results below show the type of research that attorneys can do to determine case value (if the law firm is not a high volume settlement mill, and has a lawyer actually working on your case). Experience with similar cases also informs case settlement discussions.
Throughout the summaries below, I have written the verdict amounts in bold, for quick review. After the bullet points, I have shared my thoughts about what might have made these motorcycle accident verdict values high or low.
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The plaintiff’s treating orthopedic surgeon said that the plaintiff had a permanent back injury, and his pain management doctor said he would need continuing pain management.
The plaintiff was a young man in his early 20s who was riding a motorcycle. He claimed he was struck from behind by the defendant. The defendant argued that the plaintiff’s motorcycle suddenly cut in front of the car. (This is a typical defense argument to avoid liability in a motorcycle accident.) The good news is that the defendant apologized at the scene, and admitted that she had been looking at a map at the time of the accident. This is an admission — and great admissible evidence against the defendant driver.
The defense also argued that the accident did not cause the plaintiff’s low back injuries (another common defense argument — either based on pre-existing conditions that could have caused similar symptoms, or conflicting doctor / expert opinions that the pain simply wasn’t caused by the accident).
Location: Palm Beach County, Florida (note South Florida often has higher verdicts than Central or North Florida, very generally speaking, because of more liberal jury pools; however, that is not always the case).
Note on motorcycle case value: MANY factors can influence motorcycle accident case value up or down. So motorcycle accident injuries do NOT have a “set” value in the law. Not at ALL. Things that change case values up or down: pre-existing conditions, strength of doctor opinion, quality of doctor credentials and opinion, conflicting doctor opinions, arguments about fault or cause of the accident, witness differences in opinion, lack of witnesses, admissions of guilt or apologies by defendant drivers, drunk drivers, drivers texting while driving, value of insurance policy, and many other factors.
Notable fact: there was only 25K in liability coverage, and the case was settled after the verdict for an undisclosed amount. Generally attorneys can seek a higher amount of coverage than a policy allows if the insurance company should have settled earlier for the full amount, but didn’t.
Traumatic Brain Injury & Facial Fractures, But No Helmet: Zero Verdict
(2) Shannon v. Filsaime.
ZERO Verdict (defense verdict). DOV: April 2014, Broward County.
Most likely reason for zero verdict: plaintiff not wearing a full face helmet, and doctor said that helmet would have prevented her particular injury. Also, the defense questioned whether she really had the injury she was claiming.
Type of Accident: Motorcycle / Motorcycle collision
The plaintiff was a woman in her 50s who was riding her motorcycle with a group of motorcycle riders, including the defendant (also a motorcycle rider). When she sued the defendant, she claimed that the defendant cut in front of her motorcycle, which caused her to strike the back of the defendant’s motorcycle. The defendant argued that the driver of the lead motorcycle had hand-signaled for all of the motorcyclists to pull over, but the plaintiff had ignored that instruction. He claimed he was following the instruction, just like everyone else, and trying to pull off the road, when the plaintiff struck the back of his motorcycle.
The defendant’s expert neurologist testified that the plaintiff’s hemorrhage had resolved without any injury to the brain (so the plaintiff and defendant experts disagreed, and the jury heard testimony from both, and had to decide who they believed). The defense attorney also argued that a full face helmet would have prevented plaintiff’s facial fractures. As a bit of strange coincidence (and frankly bad luck), the plaintiff actually operated a motorcycle shop that sold full face helmets.
Quadriceps Rupture, But Plaintiff Speeding & Weaving: Zero Verdict
(3) Poe v. Peterson.
ZERO Verdict (defense verdict). DOV: May 2014 in Miami-Dade County.
Most likely reason for defense verdict: there were two witnesses who said that the plaintiff was speeding and weaving in and out of other vehicles before the motorcycle / auto collision.
The plaintiff motorcycle rider said that the defendant made a faulty left turn, coming from the opposite direction, which caused the collision with the plaintiff’s motorcycle. The defendant argued that the plaintiff was speeding, weaving in and out of other vehicles, and blocked from the defendant’s vision by a double-parked bus. The worst part of the case (for the plaintiff) was that the defendant had two eye-witnesses, who both told the jury that the plaintiff was speeding, and weaving in and out between vehicles.
Note: every case is different, witnesses may or may not be available, and other evidence can vary a great deal. But you have real reason to be concerned about financial recovery if you were driving like a maniac before any accident that caused your injuries. The real questions in every motorcycle accident case are what caused the accident, what caused your injuries, what are your injuries, how serious are your injuries, and what has been your treatment. Those factors determine motorcycle case verdict or settlement value.
But these zero verdict cases can give you an idea of the types of factors that might cause your attorney to recommend settling a case, rather than going to trial. The admissible evidence against you influences that decision.
Aggravation of Previous Neck & Back Injuries, Facet Joint & Radiculopathy, Plaintiff Had Supporting Witnesses: $348,472.00
(4) Nelson v. Lonnie Jones Trucking.
Plaintiff verdict of $348,472. DOV: Jan 2015 in Duval County.
Type of Accident: Auto / Motorcycle Collision. Motorcycle swerved to avoid hitting a stopped dump truck.
Injuries: Aggravation of preexisting neck and back conditions, Facet Joint & Radiculopathy
The plaintiff was a 54 year old motorcycle rider driving south on I-95 at dusk. The plaintiff claimed that the defendant’s dump truck was stopped in the travel lane, which forced him to swerve to the right, and hit another vehicle. The defendant denied that the dump truck was stopped. He said that the dump truck had just slowed down to turn into a construction site. The good news for the plaintiff in this particular case was that he had supporting witnesses. He called another motorcycle rider who had been riding in his same lane, as well as the driver of the vehicle behind him. Both of those witnesses testified that the dump truck was stuck in the travel lane of the highway. So they supported the plaintiff’s version of the facts. Also, the accident happened 200 yards south of the access to the construction site.
What were the plaintiff’s claimed injuries? The plaintiff said that the injury aggravated his pre-existing neck and back injuries, and injured the facet joint at L4-L5 of his spine, which caused radiculopathy (often numbness / tingling and/or weakness) into his leg.
The defense argued that the truck was slowing, not stopped. The defense also argued that the plaintiff injuries dated back to 1984, including a lumbar fusion in 1999. So the defendant’s medical expert testified that the plaintiff’s condition was not CAUSED by this particular accident. Instead, any accident related injuries resolved within 6-12 weeks. Note: we do have to prove that an accident actually caused injuries, but pre-existing conditions *usually* cut both ways in terms of helping and hurting the case. They help because they show that the plaintiff was more vulnerable to a new injury; they hurt because some of the injury was, by definition, not caused by the accident. Overall, they should not concern you, but they might cause a reduction in the amount of recommended settlement.
Obviously the jury believed the plaintiff and his witnesses. They found the defendant 100% responsible for the accident (under Florida law, they could have assigned some percentage blame to the plaintiff, but they did not).
Multiple Fractures, Pneumothorax & Multiple Surgeries, But Witnesses Said Plaintiff Speeding: Zero Verdict
(5) Aspillaga v. Villamonte.
ZERO verdict (defense verdict). DOV: Sept 2015 in Miami-Dade County.
Type of Accident: Auto / Motorcycle Collision — Alleged Negligent Left Turn
The plaintiff said that he was driving his motorcycle at the legal speed limit when the defendant made a negligent left turn on a green light and hit him. The defendant argued that he started his left turn before he could see the plaintiff’s motorcycle. The defendant also argued that the plaintiff was traveling at least twice the legal speed limit, and so caused the accident.
The accident happened on 74th Street Connector in Hialeah, Florida. The plaintiff actually said he couldn’t remember the accident. But he hired an expert, called an accident reconstruction expert, who had the opinion that the plaintiff had been traveling between 39 and 32 mpw at the time of the impact. The speed limit was 45 mph. The plaintiff said he had the right-of-way on a solid green light when the defendant turned directly into his path.
This accident involved very serious injuries. The plaintiff was airlifted from the accident scene to the hospital. His injuries included: a left humeral fracture, left scapular fracture, multiple rib fractures, pneumothorax, and multiple carpal and metacarpal fractures in the left hand. He went through multiple surgeries, and his surgeon said that he would need more in the future.
The defendant said that he never saw the plaintiff’s motorcycle. He was just about finished with his turn, when he heard a noise, and felt the collision. The defendant also had a witness who testified that the plaintiff’s motorcycle passed him going at least 80 mph. And the defendant had his own accident reconstruction expert, who estimated the plaintiff was traveling between 79 and 89 mph at the time of the accident.
The defendant also tried to devalue the plaintiff’s injuries by arguing that the plaintiff did not get recommended follow-up medical treatment or physical therapy. Also, the plaintiff himself admitted during the trial that he did not intend to get any more surgeries.
The jury never reached the question of the value of the plaintiff’s injuries because they decided that the defendant didn’t do anything wrong. In other words, the jurors believed that the defendant was not negligent, and did not cause the accident. My opinion is that the witness who testified about the plaintiff’s speed was the most critical negative evidence.
This case demonstrates that even very serious motorcycle accident cases might have ZERO value if the evidence is not in your favor. Also, it is extremely important to hire an attorney who will do everything possible to anticipate and counter negative evidence with more helpful evidence or testimony. Otherwise, a high value case can lead to zilch.
Neck & Back Injuries, Sacroiliac Joint Injury, 2 Plaintiffs, Very Low Impact Collision, Negative Facebook Posts, Combined Verdict: $43,855.00
(6) Gengler v. Potts
Combined (2 plaintiff) verdict: $43,855 DOV: July 2015
Type of Accident: Motorcycle / Car Accident Collision
A man was driving his motorcycle with a female passenger. Both were injured and both were plaintiffs in this case. They were in their late 20’s. A vehicle hit them from behind. The defendant admitted that he was at fault (note that this would lower the attorney’s percentage of the recovery under most Florida attorney fee agreements).
So the jury in this case only had to decide the amount of damages.
After the accident, the male plaintiff received medical treatment the day after the accident, and the female started treatment several days later. Both of the plaintiff said they had disc herniations of the cervical and lumbar spine. Both had surgical recommendations. The female also claimed a sacroiliac joint injury, and her doctor said that would require surgery.
The defendant said that he barely touched their motorcycle, which didn’t move or fall. The defendant’s engineer said the defendant’s car was only moving 3.2 to 3.7 mph at the time of the accident, generating forces equivalent to those of plopping on your living room couch.
To make matters worse:
the female plaintiff’s sacroiliac joint injury wasn’t diagnosed until a week before trial;
both plaintiffs were involved in other accidents, before AND after this particular accident (but before trial); obviously those other accidents could have contributed to their injuries;
the male plaintiff was able to continue wake boarding
the female plaintiff was able to continue working as a personal trainer
the defendant introduce “Facebook” posts showing the female plaintiff working as a fitness instructor, which photos were inconsistent with the plaintiff’s pain complaints.
Because of these negative aspects of the case, the jury decided only to pay for each plaintiff’s past medical expenses (they received nothing for pain and suffering, or future medical expenses). Those amounts were $20,533 to the male plaintiff, and $23,322 to the female plaintiff for a combined total of $43,855.
Note: BEWARE of social media posts. ANY social media posts while you have a case pending are bad news, whether they are “private” or not. Defense attorneys can get this evidence. And they can twist the meaning of photos in ways you would not imagine. How much you were hurting when smiling and having fun often just does not matter much. On the other hand, you can’t just delete posts that are already there. Attorneys can access that information, too. And that makes your case even worse. So talk with your attorney about existing posts, and DO NOT POST anything else, at all, until your case has concluded. Also remove the ability to allow friends to “tag” you.
This case also illustrates that juries are skeptical of very low impact collisions. The thinking is that low impact collisions don’t usually lead to serious injuries. The flip side is also true: juries are more likely to believe injuries are significant in high impact motorcycle or other vehicle accidents.
Lastly, surgical recommendations do not increase case value nearly as much as actual surgeries. Some people call who would rather not get surgery. That’s fine. But that will reduce your motorcycle accident case value. The reason is that many people never get recommended surgery because they aren’t hurting enough to justify surgery.
Unspecified But Permanent Injuries & Scarring, Plaintiff Not Wearing A Helmet & “He Said, She Said” Regarding Fault: Zero Verdict
(7) Shannon v. Filsaime
ZERO verdict (defense verdict). DOV: April 2014 in Broward County
Type of Accident: Motorcycle / Motorcycle Collision
Injuries: Unspecified although the plaintiff claimed a permanent injury, scarring and disfigurement
Plaintiff and defendant were riding their motorcycles as part of a group on US 27 in Weston, Florida. They were nearing mile marker 49 when their motorcycles crashed into each other. The plaintiff sued the Defendant, saying that his bad driving caused the motorcycle accident.
The defendant said that the plaintiff rear-ended his motorcycle, and caused the collision. The defense also argued that the plaintiff’s injuries were caused by the plaintiff not wearing a helmet.
Crushed Heel, Broken Hand & Fingers, Other Head, Neck & Back Injuries: Zero Verdict For Unknown Reasons
(8) Babij v. Hertz
ZERO verdict (defense verdict). DOV: Feb. 2013 in Miami-Dade
Type of Accident: Motorcycle / Auto Collision
Injuries: The plaintiff said that he suffered a crushed heel, broken hand and fingers, and other injuries to his head, neck and back, and was rendered disabled.
The plaintiff was driving his motorcycle south on SR A1A. He was approaching an intersection (13th street) when he said the defendant failed to stop at a stop sign. He said that’s what caused the accident. The defendant denied negligence, and the jury returned a zero verdict.
(This was one of those frustrating cases where the verdict summary didn’t give enough information for us attorneys to determine WHY the jury awarded the plaintiff nothing.)
Unspecified Permanent Bodily Injuries, No Negative Evidence Reported: $350,000.00
(9) Maldonado v. Flint
Plaintiff verdict: $350,000.00 DOV: May 2013 in Fort Myers (Lee County) Florida
Type of Accident: Motorcycle / Car Collision
Injuries: Not clearly specified in reported verdict, but the plaintiff did allege permanent bodily injuries
The plaintiff had been driving her motorcycle on Buckingham Road and Cemetery Road when she was hit by the defendant’s car.
(Now we don’t know why the jury awarded this high of a verdict. However, from experience I would guess that the plaintiff would have had significant injuries, and almost certainly one or multiple surgeries that did not fully resolve her pain. The reason is that cases with more serious injuries, more medical treatment, higher medical bills, and certain types of surgeries generally lead to the higher value cases.)
Unspecified Injuries Requiring Multiple Surgeries, No Evidence Of Negligence: Case Dismissed Before Trial (Zero For Plaintiff)
(10) Cotterill v. Graham
Case Dismissed By Judge Before Trial (Nothing For Plaintiff) In Sept of 2014
Type Of Accident: Motorcycle / Car Collision
Injuries: Nonspecified but multiple injuries requiring multiple surgeries
Short version: Plaintiff was riding his motorcycle on SR 54 in Florida. Defendant #1 was also driving a motorcycle in front of the plaintiff, when he ran out of gas and stopped in the middle of the road. Defendant #2 was driving a car, also in front of the plaintiff, and had just changed lanes when he slammed on his brakes to avoid hitting Defendant #1. Plaintiff struck Defendant #2 (a car) from behind. Plaintiff argued that D #1 was negligent because he was driving without enough gas and D #2 was negligent by changing lanes without looking properly. The judge dismissed the cases against both Defendants without a trial. There is no reason for why D #1 was dismissed. But the case against D #2 was dismissed because there was no evidence that D #2 was driving negligently. He testified that he slowed his vehicle when he noticed D # 1 slowing down. Then he said that he didn’t slam on his brakes and his car was still moving when the plaintiff hit him from behind. The court concluded that there was no evidence that the lane change had been performed in a negligent manner.
Notable: cases absolutely can be dismissed by judges before trial based on motions arguing that no jury could find negligence, with any version of the facts. So make sure you hire an Orlando car accident lawyer who is on the ball when it comes to motion drafting and replies–although that may not be easy to do!
Spinal Fractures, Multiple Disc Herniations, Traumatic Brain Injury, But Conflicting Evidence Regarding Whether Plaintiff Had Been Speeding: Zero Verdict
(11) Mendez v. Tracton
Result: Zero (Defense) Verdict, Feb. 2014, Miami-Dade
Type of Accident: Motorcycle / Auto Collision, Negligent Left Turn
Injuries: (Serious): Compression Fractures Of Thoracic & Lumbar Spine, Spinous Cervical Fracture, Multiple Disc Herniations (No Surgery), Traumatic Brain Injury
The plaintiff was riding his motorcycle with the right-of-way when he claimed the defendant made a negligent left turn in front of him to turn into a driveway. The plaintiff testified that he had to lay down his motorcycle and his head struck the defendant’s vehicle. The defendant argued that the plaintiff was speeding and not watching where he was going. The plaintiff was wearing a helmet. The plaintiff had “accident reconstruction experts” who testified that the plaintiff was driving 30 mph or less at the time of the accident, the defendant’s experts said that the plaintiff was driving at least 43 mph. The speed limit was 30 mph.
There was also a battle of medical experts. The plaintiff’s experts claimed the accident caused all injuries. The defendant’s experts said that the disc herniations existed before the accident, the fractures had healed, and the MRI films did not show a traumatic brain injury.
The jury decided that the defendant was not negligent, and awarded the plaintiff nothing.
Near Loss Of Left Leg, Five Surgeries To Keep Leg, Motorcycle / Cable Van Accident, Some Negative Evidence: $2,600,000.00
(12) Graham v. Meyer
Result: $2,600,000 Verdict, Nov. 2014, Sarasota
Type of Accident: Motorcycle / Cable Van Collision
Injuries / Treatment: Near Loss Of Left Leg, Five Surgeries To Save Plaintiff’s Leg
The plaintiff was riding his motorcycle eastbound on a dark, two lane road in Venice, Florida. The defendant, driving a Comcast Van westbound, made a left turn into the side of plaintiff’s motorcycle. Surprisingly, the plaintiff admitted that he had drank a few alcoholic drinks at dinner, celebrating his engagement. Not surprisingly, the defendant argued that the plaintiff was intoxicated at the time of the accident, and that the defendant had not seen the plaintiff because the plaintiff’s headlights were not turned on. The plaintiff counter-argued that his headlights were turned on, and that he had not been over the legal blood-alcohol (BAC) limit of .08 at the time of the accident.
The jury found that the Defendant was driving negligently, and awarded the plaintiff $2,600,000 for pain and suffering, and the five surgeries he experienced to save his left leg.
Attorney Commentary: I am not personally familiar with the more detailed facts of this case. But my hunch is that the plaintiff presented as a nice, credible (believable) person when he testified before the jury, which is the likely reason they would have believed his testimony, despite evidence that he had been drinking. The “likeability” factor of the plaintiff is something defense and plaintiff attorneys carefully evaluate in a serious injury case.
The plaintiff said that he was riding his motorcycle on Military Trial in Jupiter, Florida. He claimed to have the right-of-way, when the defendant, who had been driving in the opposite direction, suddenly turned in front of him. The defendant argued that the plaintiff could have avoided the collision, so was partially responsible. The plaintiff said that he was riding through an intersection with a green light, when suddenly the defendant turned left in front of him. He said there was nothing he could do to avoid hitting the defendant’s car.
The defendant argued that the plaintiff was riding at least 10 mph over the posted 45 mph speed limit. The defense attorney also argued that the plaintiff could have avoided the accident by braking his motorcycle, rather than attempting to ride around the defendant’s left turning car.
The jury found the defendant 72% negligent, and the plaintiff 28% comparatively negligent. The plaintiff was awarded $766,456 in gross damages, reduced to a net recovery of $551,848.
Motorcycle Accident, Vertebra fracture, Closed Head Injury, Defense Expert Said Plaintiff Speeding, Zero Verdict
(14) Mendez v. Tracton
Results: Zero (Defense) Verdict
Feb. 2014, Miami
Type of Accident: Motorcycle / Car Collision, Alleged Negligent Left Turn
Injuries & Treatment: Vertebra fracture at three levels, closed head injury
The plaintiff was a 38 year old motorcycle rider, who claimed he was driving within the posted speed limit, when the defendant made a left turn in front of him from the opposite direction. The defendant argued that the plaintiff had been speeding, and not watching the road.
The plaintiff was diagnosed with vertebra fractures at T1, T3, and C7, and disc herniations, which his doctor testified would require future surgery. The plaintiff also claimed he suffered a closed head injury, with negative effects on his brain functioning, which prevented him from going back to his job as a cook. The plaintiff’s attorney requested $3,400,000.00 in total damages at the trial.
The defendant had an accident reconstruction expert who testified that, just prior to the accident, the plaintiff was driving 48 mph. The defense also argue that the plaintiff did not have disc herniations or brain function limits, and that his fractures had healed. The plaintiff had been wearing a helmet.
The jury decided that the defendant was not negligent, and awarded the plaintiff nothing. My guess is the jury believed that the plaintiff had been speeding, so caused the accident.
(15) Thompson v. Merriweather
Results: $2,635,741.58 Verdict
Reduced by 39% because the jury thought the plaintiff was partially responsible
March 2014 Jacksonville / Duval County
Verdict Breakdown: $850,649, past medical expenses, $651,767 future medical expenses, $138,087 past lost wages, $710,846 future lost wages, $15,419.72 past pain & suffering, $79,377.80 future pain & suffering, $15,419.72 past loss of consortium to wife, $79,377.80 future loss of consortium to wife, $5,139.91 past loss of parental consortium to each of three minor children, $26,459.27 future loss of parental consortium to each of three children.
Type of Accident: Motorcycle / Bus Collision, Bus Failure To Yield
Injuries & Treatment: Facial Fractures & Orthopedic Injuries Requiring Multiple Surgeries, Traumatic Brain Injury, Traumatic Disruption of Plaintiff’s Thoracic Aorta, Lost Wages, Additional Losses Of Companionship To Wife & Children
The plaintiff was riding his motorcycle when a bus failed to yield the right-of-way to oncoming traffic at the intersection of Golfair Blvd. & I-95 in Jacksonville, Florida. The plaintiff said the bus turned left directly into his riding path.
The plaintiff sued the bus driver, individually, and the bus company. The defendant argued that the plaintiff, and other non-parties, were responsible for the accident. The parties agreed before trial that the plaintiff was riding 40 mph in a 35 mph speed zone. The plaintiff’s attorney filed several pre-trial motions to excluded harmful evidence, including: (1) evidence of a 2008 DUI conviction, (2) evidence about a 2009 motorcycle accident, his related injuries, and whether he was charged with any alcohol related offenses in relation to the 2009 accident, and (3) evidence that the City of Jacksonville hadn’t complied with FDOT design standards (which would make the City of Jacksonville partially responsible, and reduce the responsibility of the defendant–NOT a good thing for the plaintiff given extreme caps and limits on lawsuits against government agencies. (Note: the importance of these motions to exclude evidence is one of many reasons you absolutely must ensure that your Orlando personal injury attorney is a great legal writer!)
The jury found the defendant 61% responsible and the plaintiff 39% responsible, so the judge reduced the jury verdict amount by 39%.
Brain Injury, Pelvic Fracture, Cervical & Lumbar Injuries, No Helmet, Disputed Liability, Zero Verdict
(16) Richards v. Axelband
Result: Zero (defense) verdict. May 2013, Ft. Lauderdale (Miami-Dade)
The plaintiff was a man in his early 50s. He said that he was riding his motorcycle and the defendant’s car had been driving to his left, then entered his lane, and hit him. The defendant said that the plaintiff was improperly using the center turn lane as a travel lane, which was the real cause of the accident.
The plaintiff claimed that the accident gave him a head injury that caused permanent brain injury. He was also diagnosed with a pelvic fracture, and herniations of his cervical and lumbar spine. His doctors said those injuries were caused by the accident. The plaintiff alleged that he couldn’t go back to his job in construction because of the accident. So his ability to earn money in the future was harmed.
Unfortunately, the plaintiff had not been wearing a helmet. And the defendant’s medical expert testified that the plaintiff’s injuries would have been reduced by 80% to 95% if he had been wearing a helmet.
The defendant’s orthopedic surgeon also said that his back and neck injury were minor, and had healed. And the defense disputed that the plaintiff sustained a permanent brain injury. Finally, the defense argued that any loss of income was related to licensing problems, not the accident.
The jury found that the defendant was not negligent, so awarded the plaintiff nothing.
(17) Brown v. Peraza
Results: $191,639.00 Gross Verdict, reduced by 57.5% due to partial plaintiff fault. May 2015, in Broward County
Type of Accident: Motorcycle / Auto Collision
Injuries & Treatment: Fractured pelvis with surgery inserting plates and screws
The plaintiff was a man in his mid-50s, who happened to work at a motorcycle shop. On his way to work, while riding his motorcycle, he started to pass the defendant’s car on the left side, when the defendant (a 16 year old driving his mother’s car) made a left turn. The plaintiff was thrown from the motorcycle.
The plaintiff was diagnosed with a pelvic fracture, which required surgery to install an orthopedic plate and screws. After the surgery, the plaintiff still complained of pain and limited motion.
The defendant argued that he was making a legal left turn, and the plaintiff had been negligent when trying to pass him in the turn lane. The defense also argued that the plaintiff had recovered well from the pelvic fracture, and that he needed pain medication for chronic back pain that he had 20 years before the accident.
The jury found the defendant 42.5% negligent and the plaintiff 57.5% negligent. Their gross verdict was $191,639, but was reduced by 57.5% by the judge.
(18) Rolon v. Herrera
Results: Judge Verdict for $34,905 and Jury Verdict For $50,000, for a combined $84,905. April 2014 in Miami.
Type of Accident: Motorcycle / Car Crash, Negligent Left Turn From Opposite Direction
The plaintiff was an 18 year old motorcycle rider, who had the right of way, when the defendant’s van negligently made an illegal left turn in front of him from the opposite direction. The case went to trial on damages only (something called a “default judgment” was entered as to liability because the defendant did not answer the plaintiff’s complaint in court).
The plaintiff was in a coma for several days after the accident. But there was a dispute regarding whether the coma was medically induced due to the plaintiff’s other injuries. The plaintiff needed write surgery, and complained afterward of ongoing wrist pain, and restriction of motion. The defendant argued that the plaintiff had recovered well, and had no permanent loss of function. The judge decided the past medical expenses before trial based on the available records, and the jury awarded another $50,000 for future medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other losses.
This list is incomplete, but gives you an idea of the types of issues and case values. Post will be updated periodically.