Case details

Backhoe’s sudden turn caused leg amputation: motorcyclist





Result type

Not present

arm, concentration, fracture, impairment, mental, psychological
On Sept. 19, 2008, at approximately 8 a.m., the plaintiff, a special education program director, was riding his motorcycle on southbound Lewis Road in Solano County when he approached and attempted to pass a slow moving backhoe truck. However, as he was passing the backhoe, it made a sudden left turn, striking the motorcycle, severing his right leg, and throwing both him and his motorcycle into a ditch on the other side of the road. The motorcyclist ultimately underwent surgery to complete an above-the-knee amputation of his right leg. The plaintiff sued the driver of the backhoe and a construction company, which owned the backhoe and employed the driver. The plaintiff alleged that the driver was negligent in the operation of the backhoe and that the construction company was vicariously liable for the driver’s actions. Defense counsel raised the issue of comparative fault., The plaintiff was taken from the scene of the accident by ambulance and brought to an emergency room, where he was diagnosed with a traumatic amputation of his right leg and an open fracture of the right arm’s ulna. He subsequently underwent emergency surgery, consisting of a complete above-the-knee guillotine amputation at the distal femur, as well as irrigation and debridement of the open wound. On Sept. 22, 2008, the plaintiff underwent revisional surgery on his right leg. He was also prescribed a prosthetic leg, which he claimed he has worn since the summer of 2009 with varying levels of discomfort and irritation. The plaintiff claimed that at the time of the accident, he was pursuing further education to become a school principal. However, he claimed that he is now forced to accept employment in lower paying positions and at reduced hours due to necessary breaks from his prosthesis and phantom pain that affects his attentiveness and concentration. The plaintiff claimed that prior to the accident he was a very active and athletic person that enjoyed hiking, backpacking, bicycling, martial arts and playing sports. However, he claimed the accident has affected his employment, hobbies and his mental health as he battles depression and anger issues. Thus, the plaintiff sought recovery of $1,341,373 in past medical costs, $5,665,227 in future medical care costs, $48,263 in past lost earnings, $1,551,472 in future lost earnings and earning capacity, and an unspecified amount of damages for his past and future pain and suffering. According to defense counsel, its experts opined that the plaintiff’s future medical expenses would not exceed $40,000.
Superior Court of Solano County, Solano, CA

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