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Motorcyclist receives $775,000 in wreck claim against dump truck driver

Plaintiff, a single 21-year-old white male, was seriously injured in a motorcycle accident on Sept. 17, 2007, in Concord. A dump truck driven by defendant for his employer suddenly turned into the path of plaintiff’s motorcycle. Plaintiff slammed into the dump truck and was knocked unconscious by the force of the crash.

He was a stage 4 on the Glasgow Coma Scale at the scene and was airlifted to Carolinas Medical Center. Plaintiff coded at the hospital and had to have a tracheostomy. Plaintiff was kept in a medically induced coma for a week and had a temporary percutaneous endoscopic gastronomy tube implanted.

Plaintiff sustained a diffuse axonal shear injury, which he alleged caused short-term memory difficulties and cognitive-processing difficulties, mood changes and irritability. Plaintiff was assigned a 19 percent permanent disability rating for cognitive and behavioral deficits from his brain injury. Plaintiff’s ophthalmologist assigned a 25 percent disability rating for the binocular double vision.

Prior to the accident, plaintiff was working for a racing team doing engine tear-downs. He returned to work and was laid off during a corporate downsizing. His former supervisor gave a statement detailing plaintiff’s difficulties he had in performing his job due to his injuries.

Although plaintiff was capable of employment and could drive, he claimed a diminution of earning power. Plaintiff retained a life-care and vocational expert, Dr. Maria Vargas, who estimated plaintiff’s future lost earnings at $565,194, present value, due to his reduced earning capacity.

The defendants admitted negligence but asserted contributory negligence in their answer alleging that plaintiff failed to keep a proper lookout and was speeding. The case was set for trial on June 14, 2010, in Cabarrus County and settled at mediation on March 10, 2010, for $775.000.


Mediated Settlement Report

Type of action: Motorcycle accident/commercial trucking claim/traumatic brain injury

Injuries alleged: Traumatic brain injury with diffuse axonal-shear injury causing short-term memory difficulties and cognitive-processing difficulties; intracranial brain hemorrhagic contusions; grade II splenic laceration; transverse process fractures of C7 and T1; non-displaced fracture at C6; anterior superior end-plate fracture of T7; disc protrusions at L4-5 and L5; binocular double vision both horizontally and in a torsional fashion, which will require bilateral eye muscle surgery; and permanent scarring from tracheotomy and feeding tube.

Case name: Ryan Matthew Brooks v. David Milford Thompson

Case number: 09-CVS-3280

Court: Cabarrus County Superior Court

Verdict or settlement: Mediated settlement

Date: March 11, 2010

Amount: $775,000

Special damages: $218,002 (medical expenses), $12,355 (lost wages)

Insurer: Allstate Insurance

Experts: Maria Vargas, MS, CRC, CLCP (Charlotte); Dr. Lori Grafton, Carolinas Rehabilitation (Charlotte)

Plaintiff’s attorneys: Michael A. DeMayo and Elizabeth G. Grimes, both of the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo (Charlotte)


Editor’s note: The information in Lawyers Weekly’s verdicts and settlements reports was submitted by the counsel for the prevailing party and represents the attorney’s characterization of the case.

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