A jury has awarded $15.7 million to a San Diego man who sued the city of Los Angeles after he was struck by a city-operated dump truck while riding his motorcycle in Northridge.
The jury reached a decision last week in the case filed by Barry Bowman, a 62-year-old retired police officer who suffered brain injuries as a result of the accident, according to his lawyers.
Bowman's attorney, Michael Alder, said the 2-year-old lawsuit went to trial after his client was unable to reach a settlement with the city's lawyers.
"They never seemed to understand the potential liability," Alder said. "They never offered a dime more than $50,000."
The city has not decided whether to appeal.
Bowman, a security guard who worked on film shoots, was struck by a dump truck operated by Tommie Wyatt Trucking, which had been hired by the city's Bureau of Street Services to haul asphalt.
A spokesman for City Atty. Rocky Delgadillo said the case went to trial because Bowman had demanded $18 million until jury deliberations were underway. Bowman was initially offered $1 million from the trucking company's insurance carrier.
"He declined that offer," said Delgadillo spokesman Nick Velasquez.
Velasquez said the city was liable for 75% of the award. Alder disagreed, saying the city must pay all but $1 million.
The city's lawyers contended that the truck driver had finished his work for the day and was "off site" when the collision occurred.
Bowman's lawyers said the dump truck was going 14 mph; the city asserted it was going 2 mph, Alder said.
Bowman, a 24-year veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department, suffered short-term memory loss and requires 24-hour care as a result of the accident, Alder said.
The jury assigned Bowman roughly $4.7 million to cover his medical costs and lost wages and $11 million for pain, suffering and emotional distress.