Florida Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit Results in $2.8M Verdict
A Florida jury has awarded $2.8 million to the family of a biker who was killed in a motorcycle accident in 2007.
The wrongful death lawsuit was brought by the family of Brian R. Heikkila, who died on May 30, 2007 when he was struck by a car while riding his motorcycle in Daytona Beach.
According to the complaint, Michael T. Hemphill, the driver of the Ford Mustang that struck Heikkila, caused the motorcycle accident by failing to properly yield the right of way .
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The lawsuit charged Hemphill with negligence, and a circuit court jury agreed, awarding $1 million to Heikkila’s daughter, Ryleigh, who is 5 years old. The jury also awarded $500,000 to each of Heikkila’s parents. An additional $798,000 was awarded for economic damages and funeral expenses.
The award for Ryleigh was twice what the plaintiffs in the lawsuit had requested, according to a report by The Daytona Beach News-Journal. It is unclear whether Hemphill will appeal the verdict.
According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcycle accident injuries and deaths have continued to increase over the last decade. In 2006, when the Wrights were injured, the NHTSA recorded 88,000 motorcycle injuries and 4,837 motorcycle fatalities, up from 58,000 injuries and 2,897 fatalities in 2000. In 2007, there were a record 103,000 motorcycle accident injuries and 5,154 fatalities.
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