A ruling by the South Carolina Supreme Court awarded $1.2 million to an upstate couple that was severely injured in a motorcycle accident due to a damaged traffic signal. On Monday June 6, the court affirmed in part and reversed in part the decision from the Spartanburg County Circuit Court.
Larry Lee and Jeannie Boiter were injured when the motorcycle they were riding collided with a car at an intersection near Inman, SC. According to the documents, the lightbulbs in the red signal that faced the road the car was travling down had burned out earlier in the day. The couple received major injuries after being thrown from the motorcycle that required lengthy hospital stays, medical bills, and lost wages. The couple settled with the driver of the car for her policy limits.
However, the Boiters filed four seperate lawsuits against the SC Department of Transportation and the SC Department of Public Safety for negligence in their failure to prevent the accident. The Boiters alleged agaisnt the SCDOT that it failed to implement an appropriate re-lamping policy to replace bulbs in traffic signals before they burned out. For the SCDPS, the couple alleged that a citizen's call an hour and twenty-seven mintues prior to the accident reporting the red light outage should have resulted in notifying a trooper to report to the scene and direct traffic.
At the culmination of the trial, the jury found in favor of the Boiters and awarded each of them with a total of $1.875 million. However, the SCDOT and the SCDPS filed motions for judgement notwithstanding the verdict, a new trial, and to reduce the verdict amount pursuant to the Tort Claims Act. As a response to this, the Boiters filed a motion challenging the constitutionality of the two-tier cap in the Tort Claims Act and were able to assert that the agencies' negligence constituted two seperate occurances.
The decision from the circuit court denied the agencies' motions for judgement notwithstanding the verdict and a new trial, as well as the Boiters motion challenging the cap's constitutionality. The court found there was only one occurance and granted the agencies' motion to reduce the verdict pursuant to the Tort Claims Act. Their verdict was reduced to $300,00 each, for a total of $600,000.
The Boiter's appealed to the state's high court. In the ruling, the court said that it did find two seperate occurances in the two seperate acts of negligence commited by the SCDOT and the SCDPS. Therefore, the Boiters demonstrated that there were two occurances and were awarded a combined verdict of $1.2 million.
If you are seriously injured in a motorcycle accident in South Carolina, contact Motorcycle Accident Attorneys at The Derrick Law Firm who have been handling motorcycle accidents, personal injury, and wrongful death claims since 1991. Call 843-248-7486 today.