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Orange County, FL

The plaintiff contended that the defendant truck driver negligently made a left hand turn into the path of the decedent motorcycle operator, causing death. The decedent left a wife, and the plaintiffs also included a son who was born three months after the death of his father.

The collision occurred on a roadway which had a 55 mph speed limit. The defendant presented an accident reconstruction expert who maintained that the decedent was traveling at approximately 70 mph in the 55 mph zone. The defendant’s expert contended that the length of the skid marks supported this contention. The plaintiff’s accident reconstruction expert estimated the speed to be between 55 and 61 mph, and supported that the decedent was riding a newer bike that had lighter weight fairings, and was sufficiently aerodynamic to significantly impact the stopping distance, accounting for the longer skid marks at a slower speed .The plaintiff also contended that the defendant truck driver had falsified the paper logs relating to the amount he drove in the past 24 hours, as well as the amount of rest time taken. The plaintiff asserted that although the trucker drove only approximately one hour and ten minutes longer than reflected on the log, and the rest time was approximately one-half hour less than reported, the jury should consider that the defendant trucking company permitted its drivers to use paper logs when most of the industry used electronic logs that the plaintiff maintained were more difficult to falsify. The plaintiff contended that the defendant trucking company probably knew that the drivers were on the road longer than they should have been, and that the trucking company placed profits over the safety of the public. The plaintiff’s commercial trucking expert related that the logs are generally kept for 30 days, and that a comparison of the logs and black boxes in the fleet’s trucks showed some 10 incidents of discrepancies during this 30-day period. The defendant’s corporate witness denied that the company acted in such a manner. The plaintiff elicited testimony on cross-examination of the witness that paper logs are commonly called "comic books" in the industry, because they can be so easily falsified.

There was no evidence of conscious pain and suffering. The decedent was a seven-year veteran of the Navy and served in Iraq.The jury found the defendant 93% negligent, the decedent 7% comparatively negligent, and rendered a gross award of $________, including $________ to the wife for loss of support and services, $________ to the wife for loss of companionship, including pain and suffering stemming from the death, $________ to the son for loss, companionship, and pain and suffering, and $________ to the son until age 21 for loss of support and services.

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