Case details

Passenger claimed operator lost control of motorcycle





Result type

Not present

arm, back, brain, brain injury, chest, cognition, concentration, depression, elbow, fracture, head, headaches, impairment, intracerebral hemorrhage, laceration, liver, mental, neck, psychological, rib elbow, right hand, sensory, shoulder, shoulders, skull, skull fracture, speech, subarachnoid hemorrhage, tinnitus, traumatic brain injury, upper back
At around 10:30 a.m. on Sept. 7, 2014, plaintiff Kelly Ward, 54, an accounting clerk, was riding on the back of a motorcycle, operated by Randy Griffith, traveling west on Maricopa Highway, also known as State Route 33, in Ventura County. When they were about 600 feet north of Sespe River Road, in Ojai, Griffith’s motorcycle moved suddenly, causing Ward to be ejected from the motorcycle. Ward was subsequently knocked unconscious when she hit the ground, and she sustained to her head, shoulders, neck, back, chest, and right hand, elbow, and arm. She claimed she did not remember anything about the incident as a result of her head . Ward sued Griffith, alleging that Griffith was negligent in the operation of the motorcycle. Plaintiff’s counsel contended that Griffith was going too fast and lost control of his motorcycle while negotiating a curve in the road. Griffith claimed that a motorcycle came up from behind on the left and startled him. He claimed that as a result, he moved the motorcycle quickly to the right. Defense counsel asserted that Griffith was reacting in an emergency situation and was not to blame for the incident. Counsel also noted that the police investigation of the incident did not include photographs., Ward sustained a skull fracture, resulting in traumatic brain injury; an intracerebral hemorrhage; a liver laceration; a degloving injury to the right, dominant hand and elbow; a fracture of the right clavicle and scapula; and five fractured ribs. She subsequently developed a subarachnoid hemorrhage and her right lung collapsed. As a result, Ward was airlifted to Ventura County Medical Center, in Ventura, where she received emergency medical treatment for her severe and was given a chest tube to treat her pneumothorax (collapsed lung). After being discharged from the hospital, Ward allegedly required help caring for herself for six months. She alleged that as a result, she received help from her adult daughter and adult niece. She also underwent open reduction and internal fixation surgery on May 17, 2016, to treat her right clavicle fracture due to nonunion. She then underwent post-operative rehabilitative therapy, which is ongoing. Ward claimed that she continues to suffer from chronic neck pain; tinnitus; right shoulder and arm weakness; pain, numbness and limited range of motion; right hand weakness and pain; upper back pain; headaches four to five times per week that last the entire day; dizziness and vertigo; loss of memory; slowed mentation; and difficulty with concentration and recall. She also claimed that as a result of the traumatic brain injury, she suffered personality and behavioral changes, and serious memory problems. She further claimed that her sleep patterns have been dramatically altered and that she now requires weekly outpatient cognitive therapy for her post-traumatic stress disorder, and outpatient psychotherapy for her depression and anger management. In addition, Ward claimed that as a result of the severe to her right hand, she had to teach herself how to write with a pen again. However, she alleged that she is still unable to close her right hand, or fully raise, bend or rotate her right arm. She also alleged that she can no longer live an active, pain-free lifestyle. Ward, who was working as an accounting clerk at the time of the incident, missed three to four months of work following the wreck and another two months after the shoulder surgery. Thus, Ward sought recovery of past and future medical costs, lost earnings, and damages for her past and future pain and suffering. Defense counsel disputed Ward’s residual damages claims. The defense’s neurology and neuropsychology experts disputed the plaintiff’s experts, and opined that Ward had made a good recovery.
Superior Court of Kern County, Kern, CA

Recommended Experts


Get a FREE consultation for your case