SFE Attorney: Joshua P. Hayward
Defense Expert: Michael Alex – Accident Reconstructionist
Plaintiff Attorney: Dylan Lawrence
City, County, State: Linn County Circuit Court, Oregon
Claims Alleged: Personal Injury
Injuries Alleged: Multiple fractures
Admitted Liability: No
Amount Claimed: Damages not at issue
Smith Freed Eberhard partner, Josh Hayward represented the defendant in a case involving the collision of a motorcycle, driven by the plaintiff, and an SUV, driven by the defendant. Josh was able to obtain a full defense verdict for his client.
The defendant was driving home on a two-lane scenic roadway that winds along portions of the Willamette river. Traveling some distance behind the defendant was the plaintiff and other members of his motorcycle club. The defendant approached her driveway on the left and believes she activated her left turn signal prior to pulling in. Her driveway was very short, requiring her to come to a nearly complete stop and make a wide left turn. As the defendant slowed down, the lead motorcyclist went to pass her on her left. He apparently thought that the defendant was stopping or that she was pulling off to the right to allow him to pass even though he claimed that she had not activated her left or right turn signal. The plaintiff, who was traveling at a speed of at least 40 mph, hit his brakes and skidded for approximately 100 feet, then struck the front driver’s side of the defendant’s vehicle, causing the plaintiff to be thrown off of his motorcycle.
The plaintiff suffered severe injuries and had medical expenses totaling around $132,000 dollars. He also claimed lost wages and property damages exceeding $10,000. The plaintiff filed suit against the defendant alleging that she was 100% liable for the accident based on various allegations that changed throughout the course of the case.
One of plaintiff’s main contentions was that the defendant did not initiate her turn signal. Plaintiff attempted to use this to prove his passing maneuver was not unreasonable and that defendant was fully at fault for his resulting injuries. Using multiple witnesses from the group of motorcycle riders with plaintiff at the time of the accident, plaintiff seemed to have somewhat of a basis for the missing blinker allegation. Plaintiff also sought to prove defendant had further indicated her intention to pull to the right of the road (to let plaintiff pass) by alleging she veered to the right past the fog lines before making the left turn. Little did he know, plaintiff’s own expert and multiple police officers would disprove these claims.
After a thorough investigation, josh was able to disprove many of the plaintiff’s allegations. One of the motorcyclists in the plaintiff’s group claimed that the defendant was on the phone at the time of the incident, which josh disproved by obtaining his client’s cell phone records showing that she was not on the phone at the time of the incident. The plaintiff and all of the motorcyclists in the group also alleged that the defendant did not activate her left-turn signal.
Josh countered this allegation through circumstantial evidence by soliciting testimony from the police officers who were dispatched. Both officers stated that the defendant’s turn signal was still on when they arrived at the scene. The testimony was contrary to one of the rider’s claim that he saw the defendant activate her turn signal after the officers arrived. The plaintiff also claimed that the defendant pulled her vehicle completely off of the roadway to the right of the fog line before she began her left hand turn. On cross examination, the plaintiff’s own expert witness agreed that this claim was false.
Thanks to josh’s persistence and investigation, after a two day trial, josh was able to disprove all of plaintiff’s claims and received a defense verdict for his client.
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