It was early morning on January 13, 2015, and Robert was riding his Triumph motorcycle Westbound on the 94 Freeway in San Diego, on his way to start work aboard the U.S.S. New Orleans berthed in the San Diego Harbor. Robert was an active duty Navy member, protecting our country by working sea duty aboard that war ship. Robert was in the number one lane, also widely known as the "fast lane." But, due to heavy traffic, he was only going 35 mph, and safely controlling his lane.
Michael, the defendant in this case, was driving a huge pick up truck going in the same direction as Robert, just slightly ahead of him, and just a tad out in front but in the number two lane, just to Robert's right hand side. Robert did not adequately check his blind spot(s), and merged his truck into Robert's motorcycle striking Robert's right throttle handle and causing him to lose control of his motorbike. This caused Robert to slow down rapidly, while wobbling at 35 mph, but no avail, as he slammed into the slowing car ahead of him, causing him to hit the 94 freeway concrete at approximately 30 mph.
Cut and dry case, right? Wrong. Liberty Mutual insurance asserted that Robert "may" have been unsafely "lane splitting" at the time of the wreck, so they would want to deduct some settlement value. I filed a lawsuit and went to work. I took the depositions of the at-fault driver (Michael), and the CHP officer. I tracked down the witness in the CHP report, and deposed her. All depositions were video taped, and I effectively proved that Robert was not unsafely lane splitting. In fact, he was safely following our driving rules, and had an reasonable expectation that Michael would do the same.
Getting past liability, I focused on Robert's injuries. Robert had to undergo a left clavicle surgery, PT, and lost opportunities with the Navy. The Navy deemed him "unseaworthy" and he lost payment opportunities there. I pushed this case into litigation, and finally got Liberty Mutual to come to their senses, and pay the reasonable value of this case for Robert.
Case settled in mediation for $475,000.00 plus $74,000.00 in reduced Navy lien to equal $549,000.00.
ROBERT BRIGHT V. MICHAEL ASBURY, DOES 1-20, INCL.
CASE NO. 37-2016-00045048-CU-PA-CTL
SAN DIEGO SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE EDDIE STURGEON - (switched to Judge Kevin Enright just prior to jury selection)