Jury returns verdict of $6,310,968 to 32 year old brain-injured engineer injured in motorcycle accident.
Robert W. Johnson & Associates was retained to provide economic testimony quantifying the lost wages and benefits, suffered by a 32-year-old engineer, and to calculate the present cash value of his future medical expenses.
Location: Compton, California
Case: Drake v. State of California, et al.
Court: Los Angeles County, California Superior Court, SWC109368.
Plaintiff’s Attorneys: Attorney J. Christopher Woodward, Newport Beach, California.
Case Synopsis: Mr. Bill Drake, a 27-year-old Hughes engineer in 1988, was riding his motorcycle south on the Pacific Coast Highway when a collision occurred with a vehicle attempting to make a left turn. It was alleged the road driven was in a dangerous condition at the time of the accident, and that the state had known for over 20 years, and that the other driver was negligent.
The injury left Mr. Drake severely brain injured and paralyzed on the right side of his body. Although Mr. Drake is able to understand when spoken to, he is only able to speak a few words. He will require 24-hour-a-day assistance and is expected to continue with those needs for the rest of his life.
Expert Consultation: Mr. Johnson testified that, based on a review of Mr. Drake’s work history and his “Top Performer” rating, (in spite of the current slump in the aerospace field), he held a solid position at Hughes. His last earned annual salary of $43,850 resulted in a present cash value of lost wages and benefits of $2,050,987. In addition, after reviewing the medical testimony regarding future costs, Mr. Drake’s future medical expenses totaled in excess of $3,500,000.
Attorney Comments: “Special damages were a very significant part of this case. Your explanation of the stability and demand for Mr. Drake’s engineering skills, in the face of today’s tough economic climate, empowered the jury with relevant economic data needed to reach their verdict. In addition, your expert testimony made the jury comfortable with increasing present values for future medical expenses. You turned cross examination into re-direct.”
Results: The defense offered $515,000 pre-trial. During trial they asked for a defense verdict. The jury awarded $6,310,968 in damages, including every dollar of lost wages and future medical expenses.