The Concord Monitor reported today on the latest developments in a brain injury lawsuit that was filed by a volunteer against the New Hampshire Motor Speedway. According to the story, multiple defendants were named in the suit with each alleged to have acted improperly contributing to the plaintiff’s injury. The plaintiff reached a settlement with two of the defendants but a trial is scheduled to start next month with the other party. Our Chicago brain injury attorneys know that these sorts of situations occur frequently, with multiple parties named and different resolutions reached with each.
The fifty-three year old plaintiff was a volunteer at the racetrack in July of 2006 when the injury occurred. He was at the speedway helping in exchange for the speedway paying $7 per hour to the charity of his choice. According to reports the man was a handyman and part time bus driver who was on a golf cart on the speedway. While on the machine, the golf cart apparently swerved twice, eventually the man was thrown from the back of the cart which was being driven by an employee of the speedway. His head slammed onto the pavement after falling. He suffered a serious brain injury, ultimately requiring brain surgery. He spent months in the hospital, racking up a significant amount of medical bills Since being released he has struggled to get his life back together. As with most brain injury survivors, he continues to have trouble with various tasks, and even basic daily activities are difficult.
A few years after the injury the man’s wife (as his guardian) filed a brain injury lawsuit against both the speedway and various other parties involved in the event and manufacture of the golf cart. The family’s medical bills and expected future rehabilitation needs are already into the millions.
In the suit against the speedway, the couple argued that the track was negligent in not posting speed limits or properly training drivers to ensure that volunteers were not injured when on the property. Recently, the couple engaged in mediation with the driver of the golf cart as well as the speedway. The parties were able to reach a confidential agreement to settle the matter without the need to go to trial.
The suit against the golf cart manufacturer alleges that the cart itself was unsafe, without warning passengers about the risks of riding on the back, particularly considering the speed of the cart and the hard surfaces on which it is used. The parties have yet to reach a settlement in the claim against the manufacturer. Barring any changes, the trial on the merits of the case is set to take place in the coming month.
For their part, the golf cart manufacturer–Fortune 500 company, Textron Inc.–argues that riding on the back of an open golf cart is an obvious danger. They argue that the the plaintiff’s own conduct contributed to his injury.
Each Illinois brain injury lawyer at our firm is interested to see if this case makes it all the way to trial and what the jury decides. Issues of proper warning and assumption of the risk are common issues in these sorts of cases.
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