A Northern California jury has ruled that the state and two truckers are liable for $49 million in personal injury damages after an accident that left a college student with brain damage.
The award is one of the largest personal injury verdicts delivered in Santa Clara County, which is just south of San Francisco, in recent years, according to the Reeves Law Group, the firm representing the student.
According to a press release from the firm, the student, Drew Bianchi, was riding in the back seat of a Toyota Avalon, going on a camping trip with three friends.The car was traveling down highway 152 through the Pacheco Pass. Two trucks collided near the center line, and one of those trucks rammed into the rear of the Avalon that Bianchi was riding in.
Bianchi was then a student at a community college in Bakersfield, with plans to go on to the University of California, Davis. He now lives full time in a treatment facility in Bakersfield, near his family.
Lawyers for a co-plaintiff argued that reckless driving by the two truckers involved was the main factor in the accident. One of the truckers drifted across the center line. The other was texting at the time.
The state of California came to a $10 million settlement before the case went to trial. The claim against the state contended that Caltrans had failed to take several steps to remedy known safety issues on the road.
With all the settlements and the jury award, Bianchi will receive a total of about $61 million. It is expected that he will require specialized care for the rest of his life.
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