A jury recently determined that a 63-year-old man who fell off his bicycle as a result of a defect in a road under construction should receive over $5.4 million from Pennsylvania’s Department of Transportation (PennDOT). PennDOT was doing construction on the road near a suburb of Philadelphia at the time of the plaintiff’s fall.
Failure to maintain road and negligent design alleged
The man, David Carletti, suffered brain damage in the accident. He hit a patch on the road that caused him to be ejected from the bike’s seat. His head hit the pavement as a result. He suffered brain damage, broken ribs and vertebra, and is subject to ongoing seizures.
Carletti brought a suit against his bike helmet’s manufacturer as well as PennDOT. The manufacturer settled out-of-court for an undisclosed sum. Claims against PennDOT were negligence in design and failure of road maintenance.
The total award, $5.46 million, included $2.5 million for medical expenses and lost wages and $2 million in pain and suffering to Carletti. His wife received $1 million for loss of consortium.
Pennsylvania state law limits civil damages against any agency of the state to a $250,000 maximum settlement. Both Carletti and his wife are expected to receive the maximum.
Personal injury liability involved in case
The case illustrates key tenets of personal injury law. Injured parties can bring a suit provided that the entity that caused their injury was negligent. Negligence is often determined by reference to whether a duty of care was owed and whether the other entity knew or should have known that the conditions were dangerous.
PennDOT is charged with maintaining Pennsylvania’s roads in part to make them safe. In addition, although the state maintained that it was not road defects that made Carletti fall off the bike, the jury found for the plaintiff, indicating that they did not agree with the state’s defense.
An accident reconstruction expert was credited with providing the jury with compelling testimony about the cause of the accident.
Mr. Carletti has brain damage and does not remember the incident.
Consulting an attorney about a personal injury
Edelman, Krasin & Jaye are experienced personal injury lawyers who have practiced in New York state for more than five decades. If you or a loved one have been hurt in an accident caused by another party’s negligence, you deserve just compensation for lost time at work, medical bills, and more. We can explain liability laws in New York State.
Call us today for a complimentary consultation. Our bicycle accident attorneys will answer all your questions about the strengths and weaknesses of your legal case and work tirelessly for just compensation.
- Associated Press. “Jury: PennDOT Owes Cyclist, Wife $5.4M Over Brain Injuries.” WJAC, March 13, 2017. http://wjactv.com/news/nation-world/jury-penndot-owes-cyclist-wife-54m-over-brain-injuries
- Mitchell, Max. “Delco Jury Awards $5.4M to Brain-Damaged Cyclist.” The Legal Intelligencer. March 9, 2017. http://www.thelegalintelligencer.com/id=1202780966598/Delco-Jury-Awards-54M-to-BrainDamaged-Cyclist?slreturn=20170216112633