A Monterey County jury has ordered the state to pay $8.6 million to a motorcyclist who was severely injured when he struck six wild boars on a state highway in 2003. The jury held the state responsible for Adam Rogers’ injuries because officials knew that wild pigs regularly crossing a stretch of Highway 1 just south of the Carmel River were creating a dangerous situation, but they did nothing to address it.
The injured motorcyclist, a male 45-year-old former karate teacher and champion kickboxer, suffered serious injuries and is now confined to a wheelchair. He and his wife sued the California Department of Transportation in Monterey County Superior Court.
The plaintiff argued the state knew the pigs were crossing the road to feed on vegetation in a nearby environmental restoration project. Although not admissible to show responsibility, the state later put up a pig-crossing sign and used hunters to help control the pig population. The plaintiff further argued the state created the situation with the wild boars and then once they created it and saw what was happening they did nothing to stop it.
Most of the $8.6 million award will go toward the plaintiff’s medical bills. The injured motorcyclist requires around-the-clock care and won’t walk again. He said he still suffers from gaps in memory as a result of massive head injuries he suffered when he was thrown from his motorcycle.
This case illustrates several aspects of negligence that apply in many situations. For example, when the state placed a warning sign about the pig-crossing after the accident, that action is known as a subsequent remedial measure, i.e., some action taken to correct or warn of the condition. As a matter of public policy, law makers do not want to discourage wrong-doers from correcting their behavior by penalizing them by allowing such evidence to be presented to a jury.
The other principle of negligence addressed here involves creation of the dangerous condition by the party responsible for the injuries. Here it was the state, but it could easily be an apartment complex owner who knew of a faulty stairway bannister he installed and did nothing to make it safe. If someone was injured due to the dangerous railing, then the owner would be legally responsible for the resulting injury and damages.
For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.