On July 27, 2015, the plaintiff and defendant were each riding Suzuki sport motorcycles in Lynchburg, when they collided in the left travel lane of southbound Fort Avenue, near the intersection with Fenwick Drive. The parties did not know each other prior to the accident.
Due to the trauma of the collision, the plaintiff had no memory of the impact or the events immediately prior. The defendant testified that he was driving southbound on Fort Avenue in the left travel lane when the plaintiff pulled out in front of him from a private driveway on his right, causing the collision.
Two eyewitnesses testified in the case, both stating that the defendant appeared to be speeding in the moments prior to the collision. One of the eyewitnesses testified that she saw the plaintiff traveling southbound in the right travel lane of Fort Avenue, and move over into the left travel lane in front of the defendant just prior to the impact.
The officer who investigated the collision measured a skid mark of 98 feet in the left lane of Fort Avenue, which he testified was left by the defendant’s motorcycle.
The plaintiff suffered multiple fractures of his left lower extremity. He was admitted to Lynchburg General Hospital and then airlifted to the University of Virginia, where he underwent closed reduction of the fractures. The plaintiff underwent manipulation under anesthesia later in 2015, and a final operation to remove the hardware from his left leg in 2018. He was left with range of motion in his left knee of approximately 20 degrees.
The plaintiff incurred medical expenses of $371,582.73 and lost earnings of $36,718.48. In closing, the plaintiff requested a verdict of $500,000. The jury deliberated for approximately one hour before returning a verdict in favor of the plaintiff for $450,000.
Type of action: Personal Injury
Injuries alleged: Multiple fractures of the left lower extremity
Name of case: Raper v. Gutierrez-Hernandez
Court: Lynchburg Circuit Court
Case no.: CL17-550
Tried before: Jury
Name of judge or mediator: Judge R. Edwin Burnette, Jr.
Date resolved: May 23, 2019
Special damages: Medical expenses of $371,582.73; lost earnings of $36,718.48
Verdict or settlement: Verdict
Attorneys for plaintiff: David Irvine and Richard Armstrong, Charlottesville
Insurance carrier: Alfa Alliance (UM)