On August 8, 2006, a 51-year-old man was killed in a motorcycle accident on the Beeline Highway, along the border between West Palm Beach and Palm Beach Gardens. Last week, a Palm Beach County jury for a wrongful death lawsuit awarded the man’s widow and children the full amount of the estimated income the self-employed environmental lobbyist would have earned in the four years since the fatal car accident.
During the trial, witnesses said that the biker was “T-boned” by a Hummer at the intersection of Jog road and the Beeline Highway. The intersection was under construction for the installation of a new entrance to Florida’s Turnpike, and the traffic lights were not signaling properly — they were flashing red and yellow instead of cycling green, red and yellow.
As the driver of the Hummer approached the intersection, he slowed down, and the motorcyclist drove through the flashing yellow light. Unfortunately, the Hummer didn’t stop. Instead, failing to see the motorcycle, the driver accelerated through a flashing red light and slammed into the biker, who wasn’t wearing a helmet.
The biker was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital.
Verdict ‘Measured the Magnitude of the Loss,’ Says Attorney
According to the family’s attorney, the defense’s strategy was to blame the motorcycle accident on the biker’s failure to realize that the Hummer was going to pull out in front of him. They also planned to blame the construction company responsible for the maintaining the traffic lights.
“The jury didn’t buy any of that and placed the blame where it was squarely deserved,” the lawyer told reporters.
The attorney added that the jury’s award was significant because such awards have been tempered in recent years by tough economic times. In the case of this tragic fatal motorcycle accident, he said, the jury “did a fantastic job of paying attention to the evidence and returning a verdict that measured the magnitude of the loss that was suffered by this family.”
Source: Sun Sentinel, “Jury awards $8.5 million to family of biker hit by Hummer,” Wayne K. Roustan, December 9, 2010