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Philadelphia County, PA

This action involved a collision between a motorcycle driven by the 28-year-old male plaintiff and a car driven by the defendant, Joan Borrelli. The plaintiff claimed that the defendant, Borrelli made a negligent left turn from the opposite direction in front of the plaintiff’s motorcycle to cause the accident. It was also alleged that the road conditions at the intersection where the accident occurred were dangerous and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Transportation ("PennDOT") was also a defendant in the case. The defendant, Borrelli, argued that she was unable to see the plaintiff’s motorcycle because he entered the intersection at high speed from behind vehicles in the right turn only lane. The defendant, PennDOT, denied that the road conditions were dangerous or contributed to the accident.

The plaintiff was unable to remember the facts of the accident or to testify coherently due to his accident-related brain injury. The plaintiff’s accident reconstruction expert admitted that the plaintiff was driving his motorcycle in the right turn lane at a speed of approximately 35 mph, which was in excess of the posted 25 mph. speed limit. However, he contended that right turn lane was not properly marked as a right turn only lane.

The plaintiff’s accident reconstruction expert opined that the accident was caused when the defendant, Borrelli, started her left turn too soon before she had proper sight distance. The premature left turn resulted from the co-defendant PennDOT’s removal of a divisional island some 20 years before the accident, according to the plaintiff’s expert. This expert opined that Borrelli would not have been able to make the premature left turn had the island still been in place.

The plaintiff was not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident and was not legally required to wear one. He suffered multiple fractures including facial fractures and a fractured femur which required open reduction and internal fixation. The plaintiff also sustained a massive head injury and broke the defendant’s windshield with his head. The plaintiff was in a coma for 14 days post-accident. He was hospitalized for 30 days at University of Pennsylvania Hospital, spent 30 days at the Bryn Mawr Rehabilitation Hospital and months in a rehabilitation hospital in Texas. The plaintiff remained an out-patient at another rehabilitation facility at the time of trial.

The plaintiff is capable of communicating and dressing himself, but his physicians testified that he has been left with permanent brain damage, causing impulse control problems and a lack of concern for his own safety. The plaintiff is single and was employed as a cell phone technician at the time of the accident. His physicians opined that he is total disability from employment as a result of injuries sustained in the accident.

The plaintiff currently resides with his mother. He is employed in a sheltered work environment. His physicians testified that he requires daily supervision and will never be capable of living independently. The plaintiff claimed $________ in past medical expenses (a medical lien) and future loss of wages in excess of $1 million.

The defendant driver, Borrelli, testified that she pulled her vehicle up to a location where she could see several hundred feet in the opposing lanes and the oncoming lanes appeared clear of traffic. Borrelli claimed that, as she started her left turn, the plaintiff drove his motorcycle from behind other vehicles in the right-turn lane only. The plaintiff proceeded straight through the intersection and the defendant contended that she was unable to avoid the impact.

The defendant Borrelli’s accident reconstruction expert testified that Borrelli made an appropriate left turn with proper sight distance. This expert opined that the collision stemmed from the plaintiff’s negligence in entering the intersection from the right turn lane at a speed of 35 to 50 mph. He also testified that the defendant Borrelli’s view of the oncoming motorcycle was obscured by taller vehicles positioned in the right-turn lane and that the plaintiff took no evasive action until some 75 feet from the impact site when he jammed on the brakes of his motorcycle.

Defense witnesses testified that the defendant initiated a left turn more than ________ feet from traffic. Witnesses also placed plaintiff’s motorcycle originally in the left through lane and testified that he move into the right turn lane to pass slower- moving traffic. The defendant, PennDOT, maintained that the signs and lines at the intersection were appropriate and that there was nothing dangerous about the intersection.

After a week-long trial, the jury found no negligence on the defendant, PennDOT. It found the defendant, Borrelli, negligent, but found that her negligence was not a factual cause of injury to the plaintiff.

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