A Pennsylvania state court jury has awarded $5.4 million in damages to a cyclist, who suffered severe brain damage in an accident that was allegedly caused by poor road conditions.
The case was filed against the state of Pennsylvania by David Carletti, and his wife, Brenda, who argued at trial that a defective road and bike helmet caused a traumatic brain injury. The maker of the helmet reached a confidential settlement.
The accident occurred in May 2012, when Carletti was riding his bicycle on West Sproul Road in Springfield Township. According to the complaint, Carletti fell when he hit a patch of defective road, suffering a subarachnoid hemorrhage that resulted in seizures, broken ribs, and a broken vertebra.
Carletti was hospitalized for three weeks as a result, but still suffers seizures from his injuries. He has been hospitalized several times since due to the seizures and injury complications.
The lawsuit accused Pennsylvania of failing to maintain and negligently designing its roads. The lawsuit also initially accused the manufacturer of defectively designing the helmet Carletti wore, which allegedly failed to protect his head from a fall injury. However, those claims were dropped following a settlement agreement.
The state argued that there was no defect in the road, and indicated that whatever defect caused the accident was not seen by other witnesses at the time. However, the plaintiffs used an accident reconstruction expert to explain how problems on the road caused the accident, as Carletti’s resulting brain damage led to an inability to recall the details of the accident.
According to a report by the Legal Intelligencer, a Delaware County Court of Common Pleas jury awarded the couple a total of $5.4 million, including $2.5 million in lost wages and medical expenses. $2 million for pain and suffering, and $1 million to Brenda Carletti for loss of consortium.