A Court in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, has awarded more than $1.2 million compensation for an injured motorcyclist who was not seen by the driver of a car as he pulled out from a Harrisburg restaurant.
On 4 June 2011, Tracey Thompson was riding her motorcycle along Derry Street in Harrisburg, when she was hit by a Toyota Corolla as it pulled out of a restaurant parking lot. Despite wearing a high visibility clothing, the driver of the vehicle – Elwood Smith – failed to see Tracy as he turned a sharp left from the parking lot into Derry Street; and he accelerated away from the parking lot of the wrong side of the road until hitting Tracey with such an impact that she was thrown over the roof of the car – landing awkwardly on the road.
Tracey was taken to the Hershey Medical Center suffering from a pelvic fracture, a sacral fracture, a broken jaw, fractures to her arm and wrist and a lacerated liver. After receiving emergency care and undergoing surgeries on her pelvis and wrist – during which time a blood filter was inserted to prevent a possible embolism – Tracey spent a week recovering in the hospital´s rehabilitation center before being confined to her bed for eight weeks. Tracey was confined to a wheelchair for the next six weeks and used a walker to aid her mobility for the following seven weeks.
Tracey made a claim for compensation for an injured motorcyclist not seen by the driver, and Smith admitted liability for Tracey´s injuries. However, Tracey´s claim was for significantly more than Smith´s insurance company was prepared to settle for due to Tracey having to leave her well-pad IT position at Commonwealth Engineering & Technology because of her injuries and take a lower paid job for the Harrisburg School District. Tracey also had to take two part-time jobs.
As there was a dispute over how much compensation for an injured motorcyclist not seen by the driver Tracey should receive, her case went to the Dauphin County Court of Common Pleas, where it was heard by a jury before Judge Andrew Dowling. At the hearing the jury heard how Tracey would lose between $268,000 and $312,000 in income because of her injuries and that her life expectancy would be shortened as a consequence of the accident.
The jury awarded Tracey just over $1.2 million compensation for an injured motorcyclist not seen by the driver to account for the pain and suffering she had experienced at the time of the accident, the wrist pain she continues to experience and her future medical costs. Her loss of income and the reduction in her life expectancy were also included in the jury award.