Motorcyclist Awarded Damages Despite His Own Contributory Negligence

Case CaptionDarryl Samples v. John Blay, Civil Action No.: 08-CV-19295-S1
Court:  State Court of Gwinnett County
Judge:  Honorable Robert W. Mock, Sr.
Plaintiff’s Attorneys:  Mark D. Link, Link & Smith, P.C.
Michael L. Werner, Werner & Associates, LLC
Defendant’s Attorney: Matthew Hilt, The Hilt Law Firm, LLC
Damages:  Plaintiff alleged an ankle fracture requiring surgery and claimed $90,000 in medical bills, $45,000 lost wages.
Verdict: Plaintiff awarded $250,000.00 August 27, 2010    

Plaintiff, 62-year-old Darryl Sims, was riding his motorcycle on Spalding Drive in Norcross, Georgia, when he encountered traffic which had backed up.  Rather than waiting in his lane behind the traffic, Plaintiff moved into the middle lane to pass all of the vehicles in front of him.  At the same time, Defendant Blay pulled out from a private driveway between a gap in the traffic. Plaintiff’s motorcycle struck the front driver’s side of Defendant’s vehicle.  At trial, Plaintiff admitted that he had travelled in the center turn lane for approximately a half of a mile before the collision, which is contrary to Georgia Law.  O.C.G.A. § 40-6-126 prohibits drivers from traveling in a turn lane for more than 300 feet prior to turning.  Defendant Blay claimed that an unidentified motorist in the traffic cue had motioned to him that it was safe to cross.

The jury deliberated for about three hours before rendering a Plaintiff’s verdict.  Finding that Plaintiff bore 40% of the responsibility and that Defendant Blay was 60% responsible for the accident, the jury awarded Plaintiff $250,000.00.
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