A Los Angeles jury has awarded $15.7 million to a security guard and retired cop who suffered severe brain injuries after he was hit by a city-operated dump truck when he was riding his motorcycle in Northridge, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The lawsuit was filed by Barry Bowman, a 62-year-old man who worked almost 30 years with the LAPD, who was employed as a security guard on film shoots at the time of the incident, the newspaper reports. Bowman’s attorney told the Times that the city, from the beginning, refused to settle with Bowman, never offering more than $50,000. Bowman suffered severe brain injury, short-term memory loss after the incident and still requires 24-hour care.
The important issue for the jury in this case was whether the dump truck operator, who was contracted by the city, was acting as a city employee when the accident occurred. The city’s attorneys argued that the truck driver was done with his work for the day and was “off site” when the crash happened. The city also said that the truck was going at 2 mph, but Bowman’s attorney said the truck was going at 14 mph, according to an article in the Los Angeles Daily News.
Obviously, jurors decided to believe Bowman’s account of the incident and more importantly, believed that the truck driver was still acting as an employee at the time of the incident. They gave Bowman about $4.7 million to cover medical costs and lost wages and $11 million for pain, suffering and emotions.
Every time an auto accident victim receives such a verdict, it is viewed by the general public as if someone hit the jackpot in Vegas. As personal injury attorneys who have represented people who have suffered severe brain injuries, we can tell you that this is no jackpot or pleasure trip. In fact, we’ve heard almost all clients who’ve suffered severe injuries tell us that they’d rather not have gone through the horror of an auto accident at all. Money never takes their pain away.
An accident changes people’s lives in ways someone who hasn’t been through one can never even imagine. It’s especially true in cases such as Bowman’s where the damage is life-long. This is a man who needs constant care, hired help to help him do everyday stuff.
The money he has been awarded would probably barely cover those expenses for the remainder of his life. The money will never bring his old life back. He’s never going to get on a motorcycle ever again. But the money will help him live the rest of his life with dignity and get the medical help and attention he badly needs.