Crash at dangerous highway crossing causes motorcyclist's traumatic brain injury

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Verdicts & Settlements

December 28, 2010

Crash at dangerous highway crossing causes motorcyclist's traumatic brain injury 

Chester Crowell attempted to turn left from a side road onto the southbound lanes of a two-lane state highway divided by a grassy median. As Crowell was making the turn, he crossed into the path of John Lancaster, 19, who was riding a motorcycle in the highway’s northbound lane. Lancaster collided with Crowell’s vehicle.

Lancaster suffered a traumatic brain injury and multiple strokes and was evacuated to a hospital. He underwent numerous surgeries and required hospitalization for several months. He now needs assistance with all daily living activities and cannot use his right arm, among other limitations. His medical expenses were about $700,000.

Lancaster sued the state of Washington, alleging failure to fix a known safety problem. The plaintiff asserted that several years before the incident, the state acknowledged a significant accident history at the intersection but failed to eliminate the southbound left turn from the side road or build a connector road. Suit also alleged negligent driving against Crowell. A student, Lancaster did not claim lost income.

The plaintiff settled for $2.1 million. The state will pay $2 million, and Crowell will contribute the rest.

Citation: Lancaster v. Crowell, No. 07 2 00873 3 (Wash., Mason Co. Super. July 2010).

Plaintiff counsel: AAJ members Shawn B. Briggs and Marie Docter, both of Tacoma, Washington.


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