St. Paul, MN
Brad Gniffke was riding his motorcycle to the grocery store when he was cut off by a delivery truck which had pulled into the left turn lane before making a hard right turn. Brad was forced to stop short and he suffered a severe head injury when his head hit the pavement.
The case was a difficult one inasmuch as Brad did not collide with the truck and he was not wearing a helmet. In Minnesota, a motorcycle rider with a permit (rather than a license) is required to wear a helmet, and failure to wear a helmet can be considered by the jury in reducing its verdict. The truck driver disputed Brad’s version of events and the defense attacked Brad’s credibility relentlessly. Brad suffered from traumatic brain injury, but the defendant disputed its severity and claimed that it could have been avoided by wearing a helmet. Fortunately, there were upstanding witnesses to the accident, including a state trooper and local business owners who helped set the record straight. Lay witnesses provided strong support for Brad’s damage claims and experts hired by Friedman | Rubin effectively blunted the no-helmet defense.
The jury determined Brad’s damages as follows: $1.1M for past pain, disability and emotional distress, $450,000 for loss of earnings, $1.5M for future pain, disability and emotional distress, $800,000 for future lost earnings. The jury determined that Brad’s wife Shirley suffered $230,000 damages for loss of consortium. The jury attributed 35% fault to Brad which may reduce the recovery by that percentage. Post trial motions for prejudgment interest and costs are expected.
Friedman | Rubin Trial Lawyers: Rick Friedman and Sean Gamble – Seattle, WA
Co-counsel: Ken White – Mankato, MN