$5.4 Million Awarded to Motorcyclist in Career-Ending Accident

John Hendrickson loved his job. He rubbed elbows with the rich and famous, editing the music of some of the most well-known names in the industry. Hendrickson was a recording engineer employed by Capitol Records to perfect the recordings of heavy-hitters like the Foo Fighters and Nat King Cole. Not only was recording his passion, it was also his livelihood; his means of providing for his family. In an instant, one lax decision by a United States Border Patrol Officer ended his career and caused the victim long-lasting pain and suffering.

John Hendrickson, a motorcycle enthusiast and experienced driver, was riding his motorcycle on an unpaved mountain road in Southern California with “multiple blind turns and unprotected drop-offs,” according to his lawyer, Robert J. Francavilla. United States Border Patrol Agent Ryan Moore was travelling in a government-issued Chevrolet truck when he recklessly rounded a corner at a high speed and hit Hendrickson head-on on the other side of the blind turn. The force of the crash ejected Hendrickson from his motorcycle and caused serious, life-altering injuries.

According to court documents, the plaintiff suffered a gruesome leg injury that ultimately proved too severe for doctors to save, resulting in the amputation of Hendrickson’s badly broken leg. From a medical standpoint, Larry Bodine of the National Trial Lawyers explains that, “Hendrickson continues to suffer from debilitating chronic migraines that leave him bedridden for up to 3-4 days a week and suffers pain in his residual leg, phantom pain, fatigue, lack of stamina, neuroma pain on the lateral side of his stump, post-traumatic arthritis in his left knee.” Phantom pain is common among amputee patients and can be extremely painful as well as difficult to treat. Many times, the patient will “feel” throbbing or extreme muscle contractions in the area that has been removed from the body, with no way to release the tension without specialized treatments from a doctor.

John Hendrickson, who has the rare gift of perfect pitch, is no longer able to perform his job as a recording engineer, as well as complete daily activities such as household chores, getting up and down stairs, and carrying heavy loads. Now the victim is without his source of income, and will record life-long in-home medical care.

It was a tough battle to seek the compensation that Mr. Hendrickson deserved. The United States government denied any and all responsibility in the five years of litigation culminating in the four-day trial. There was a zero-offer until the case appeared before the judge. US District Court Judge Larry H. Burns disagreed and awarded the victim a substantial sum of $5.4 Million.

In a statement, Hendrickson’s attorneys addressed the ruling:
“This verdict sends a clear message that motorcycle riders have a right to safety on our roads too; and that if any driver – whether an individual citizen or a representative of the federal government – carelessly injures a rider, that driver will be held accountable.”

NHTSA data reveals that almost half of all fatal motorcycle accidents involve collisions with other motor vehicles. According to past data 75% of those accidents occurred with the motor vehicle in front of the motorcycle, much like the accident involving Hendrickson.

Warmer summer weather means more motorcyclists are on the road. As with pedestrians, bicyclists, and other cars on the road, drivers need to be especially aware during the summer months to ensure safety for everyone. By now, most drivers are familiar with the DOT’s “Check twice, save a life” slogan, and it should serve as a simple reminder to be vigilant when sharing the road. John Hendrickson echoed this statement when he warned, “Motorists should always look out for motorcyclists and give them plenty of extra room – as even a minor collision with a motorcycle can have devastating consequence.”

At the law offices of Altman & Altman our experienced team of attorneys has been assisting victims of motorcycle and car accidents for almost 50 years. If you or a loved one was involved in a motorcycle collision, give one of our experienced Boston Car Accident Attorneys a call for a free consultation. Our attorneys are committed and ready to assist you through this difficult and confusing time, and our lawyers are available around the clock to answer any and all questions about your case.

Read the full original article from the National Trial Lawyers here.

Contact Information