Automobile-bicycle collision

October 13, 2010
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Trial Report

Donald E. Brier v. Irene Wegner

Marion Circuit Court No. 49C01-0704-CT-0013996

Injuries: Mild traumatic brain injury; partial rotator cuff tear of left shoulder

Date: May 17-21, 2010

Judge or Jury Trial: Jury trial

Judge: Hon. Louis F. Rosenberg

Disposition: Verdict in favor of the plaintiff for $1,395,545, which was reduced by an assignment of 30 percent comparative fault to the plaintiff; judgment entered by court for $976,881

Plaintiff Attorneys: Thomas C. Doehrman and Daniel Buba, Doehrman Chamberlain, Indianapolis

Defendant Attorney: Jeff Crabill, State Farm Litigation Counsel, Indianapolis

Insurance: Underlying coverage of $250,000 was with State Farm. Plaintiff had UIM coverage of $1.5 million with Nationwide.

Case Information: Plaintiff was riding his bicycle on 64th Street in the Broad Ripple neighborhood of Indianapolis on July 5, 2005, when the defendant backed her SUV directly into his path. Upon impact, the plaintiff busted out the rear window of the SUV. He was taken from the scene by ambulance and was diagnosed at the ER with a left shoulder injury and a concussion. He was released the same evening from the ER.
Thereafter, plaintiff treated continuously for the effects of a mild traumatic brain injury and has been unable to continue employment as an attorney. He also underwent a successful surgery for his rotator cuff tear.

The past medical expenses were $55,545, and future medical expenses were claimed to be $115,000. Plaintiff also claimed lost wages both past and future of $750,000.

The defendant’s accident reconstructionist testified that the plaintiff had ample time to avoid the defendant’s vehicle and that the collision occurred because he was not paying attention to the roadway ahead of him. This testimony was in direct conflict with the testimony of two eyewitnesses to the collision who testified that there was nothing the plaintiff could do to avoid colliding with the SUV.

The defendant’s expert damage witnesses claimed that plaintiff’s brain injury was very mild and completely healed within a few months of the collision. It was the defendant’s contention that the plaintiff’s ongoing problems were not related to any injury sustained in the collision. The defendant disputed the future medical expenses and future wages that the plaintiff was claiming.

The plaintiff’s expert witnesses included a neurologist, neuropsychologist, and neuroradiologist. The defendant’s experts included a neuropsychologist, neuroradiologist, and an accident reconstructionist.

After five days of trial, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the plaintiff in the amount of $1,395,545. This amount was reduced by an assignment of 30 percent comparative fault to the plaintiff and judgment was entered by the court for $976,881.•
– Thomas C. Doehrman



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