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ARTICLE ID 30428

$________ GROSS - MOTOR VEHICLE NEGLIGENCE - AUTO/MOTORCYCLE HEAD-ON COLLISION ON TWO LANE, TWO WAY RURAL ROADWAY - DEFENDANT AUTOMOBILE OPERATOR ALLEGEDLY TRAVELING IN LANE OF TRAVEL WHILE DELIVERING NEWSPAPERS - MULTIPLE INJURIES INCLUDING PERMANENT BRAIN DAMAGE.

Norfolk County, Massachusetts

This action arose out of a two vehicle accident which occurred on a two-lane rural road in Easton, Mass. The male plaintiff motorcycle operator, age 36 at the time of the accident, claimed that the defendant motorist negligently caused the accident by failing to maintain his proper lane of travel and by driving his vehicle into the plaintiff’s lane.

The subject accident occurred on July 6, ________, at approximately 6:00 p.m. on a curved portion of a rural, two lane roadway in Easton, Massachusetts. The plaintiff’s motorcycle rounded a curve and was confronted with the oncoming defendant motorist, who was allegedly traveling in the plaintiff’s lane of travel. The plaintiff suffered multiple injuries in the accident, including fractures to his leg, arm and back, as well as a severe head trauma that left him permanently brain damaged.

The defendant motorist denied negligence and maintained that he was properly executing a left turn when the plaintiff, traveling at an excessive rate of speed and under the influence of drugs and alcohol, struck his vehicle. The defendant offered evidence of the plaintiff’s blood serum levels taken after the accident, indicating alcohol level of .25% and methadone level of .21% (the plaintiff was undergoing methadone therapy at the time of the accident).

The plaintiff’s accident reconstruction expert testified that the physical evidence indicated that the plaintiff motorcyclist’s response to the emergency situation was consistent with his version of the events preceding the collision. The plaintiff’s expert was able to opine, based upon the evidence, that the plaintiff acted reasonably given the emergency situation with which he was confronted and that the plaintiff was traveling at an estimated speed of 30 miles per hour at the time of the collision.

The plaintiff additionally disputed the validity of the .25 blood alcohol reading. Under cross-examination, the defendant’s expert toxicologist conceded to several factors that would reduce the laboratory blood alcohol result to .21.

An issue of agency arose when the defendant newspaper company denied that the defendant newspaper carrier was an agent of the company. The defendant newspaper claimed that the carrier was an independent contractor over whom it exercised little or no control. The plaintiff countered that the newspaper exerted a significant amount of control over the defendant driver including assigning routes, duties and hours the carrier would work.

On the issue of damages, the jury heard testimony regarding the multiple, severe and permanent injuries suffered by the plaintiff as a result of the accident, including multiple fractures involving the back, arms and legs and severe head trauma resulting in permanent brain damage. p 7 3 The jury specifically found that the defendant motorist/newspaper carrier was an agent of the defendant newspaper and found that the carrier was primarily responsible for the accident. The jury returned a gross verdict of $________ for the plaintiff motorcycle operator, reduced by 22% for his comparative fault.

The jury additionally awarded the plaintiff wife $________ for her loss of consortium and the plaintiff’s minor child $________ for loss of society and companionship.

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