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Philadelphia County, PA

The plaintiff was a 37-year-old off-duty police officer who was operating a motorcycle when he was involved in an accident with the defendant’s vehicle. The plaintiff claimed the defendant signaled a left turn, drove through the intersection and made a quick right turn into a parking space, causing the collision. The defendant maintained that he signaled a right turn and was turning right, when the plaintiff negligently drove his motorcycle up the right shoulder of the road.

The plaintiff testified that he was driving his motorcycle west on Passyunk Avenue in Philadelphia in December of ________. When the plaintiff reached 15th Street, he testified that he was the third vehicle stopped at the red light. The plaintiff testified that the two vehicles in front of him, both Hondas, had left turn signals activated. The defendant’s vehicle was the first car in the line.

When the traffic light turned green, the plaintiff testified that neither of the two cars in front of him moved. He testified that he stood on his motorcycle to see that the defendant’s Honda was still stopped with its left turn signal on. The plaintiff testified that he reversed his motorcycle, and went around the stopped cars by riding on the right shoulder. As he entered the intersection and was ready to move back into the through lane, the plaintiff testified that he saw the defendant’s vehicle had not turned left and had entered the intersection next to him. The plaintiff claimed that he started to brake the motorcycle, but the defendant then made a sharp right turn into a parking space and collided with his motorcycle.

The plaintiff’s accident reconstruction expert testified that the motorcycle was traveling at a speed of 15 to 20 mph at the time of the collision and left no debris or skid marks. The plaintiff claimed that the defendant was negligent in using the wrong turn signal and in failing to check his rear view mirror prior to making a right turn.

Evidence showed that the plaintiff landed some seven to eight feet away from his motorcycle following the impact. The plaintiff sustained multiple fractures and severe degloving injury to his non-dominant left arm, apparently caused by the glass of the motorcycle windshield or the handlebars. He underwent five surgeries to his left arm. The plaintiff’s orthopedic surgeon testified that the plaintiff has been left with permanent muscle and nerve damage of the left arm and hand accompanied by loss of strength, reduced hand and arm function and loss of grip strength.

The plaintiff’s vocational expert opined that the plaintiff, who had been with the police force for 11 years, is no longer able to function as a police officer. He was terminated from the police department as a result of his injuries and remained unemployed as of the date of trial. The plaintiff claimed a loss of earning capacity of approximately $1.2 million over his remaining work life.

The defendant testified that he was the first vehicle stopped at the light and intended to park in a parking spot which he had observed on the right side of the road just past the intersection. The defendant testified that he never had his left turn signal on, but had activated his right turn signal to turn into the parking space. As he was turning into the parking space, the defendant claimed that the defendant’s motorcycle drove up the shoulder of the road and struck the side of his car.

The defendant’s accident reconstruction expert testified that he also calculated the plaintiff’s speed as 15 to 20 mph at the time of the accident. The defense argued that the defendant’s business was located on the right side of Passyunk Avenue and there was no reason for him to make a left turn. The defense argued that it is a violation of the rules of the road to pass other moving vehicles on the right side. The plaintiff countered that the defendant’s vehicle was not moving when the plaintiff attempted to pass.

The defendant’s medical expert agreed that the plaintiff has physical limitations involving his left arm and hand. However, the defendant’s expert opined that the plaintiff could find employment in another field, such as security guard, with a loss of future earnings in the range of $________.

The jury found the defendant 75% negligent and the plaintiff 25% comparatively negligent. The plaintiff was awarded $________ in damages, reduced to a net award of $________. The award included $________ to the plaintiff’s wife for her loss of consortium claim.

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