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PennDOT must pay over $5 million for brain injury

Unsafe public roads can lead to serious and long-term injuries. In fact, a Delaware County jury recently awarded more than $4 million to a 63-year-old man who suffered a severe brain injury while riding his bicycle on a hazardous state road in Springfield. The jury found that PennDOT's negligent care of this road caused the victim to hit his head and suffer this injury.

The victims' attorney said that the accident occurred when the victim, an experience cyclist, was riding his bicycle toward Springfield Mall in May 2012. He had to contend with a 3-foot bump going across the roadway near a section of Sproul Road at a bridge over trolley tracks. It made him flip over the handlebars and hit his head and shoulder.

PennDOT created that bump when it patched that section of the road. The bicyclist was riding around 30 mph where the speed limit was 35 mph.Even though the bicyclist was hearing a helmet, he still suffered catastrophic brain damage.

The victim can still talk but has memory issues, cannot work and must undergo ongoing medical care and treatment. He was awarded $2.4 million for medical expenses and lost wage and $2 million for future pain and suffering. His wife received another $1 million for loss of significant parts of their marital relationship. Before this accident, he used to operate a business with his wife.

PennDOT unsuccessfully argued that it was protected from liability through sovereign immunity as a government agency. None of the exclusions to this defense, according to PennDOT, applied and it claimed that it was unaware this defect before this accident.

However, the plaintiff claimed that this road was in disrepair for at least one year before this accident which should have made PennDOT effectively aware that this defect existed. A PennDOT employee, in fact, testified that he would have asked for the repair of the road if he saw its condition when the accident occurred.

An attorney can assist a person with brain damage cause by negligence seek accident compensation. A lawyer can help gather proof and assure that victims prove their personal injury case.

Source: Delaware County Daily Times, "Bridge negligence lawsuit will cost PennDOT $5M-plus," By Alex Rose, March 12, 2017

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