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Motorcyclist and his lawyers win his case after being injured in an accident with a vehicle in a funeral procession that ran a red light

Accident Type: 
Motorcycle Accident
Result Date: 
Thursday, September 27, 2001
Monetary Result: 
John McCord was stopped at an intersection in Sacramento County, California on his motorcycle as a funeral procession was passing by on a cross-street. When the light turned green, he entered the intersection. A vehicle in the funeral procession, operated by Ivan Semenyuk, ran the red light, assuming he had the right-of-way in the procession, striking McCord. As a result of the accident, McCord suffered a fractured pelvis, requiring a total hip replacement, and a knee injury.  Mr. McCord decided to sue the parties involved in his accident, including Semenyuk; Wayne McMahon, the funeral escort officer controlling both the procession and the intersection; the California Funeral Escort Company and its owner, Sam Oliver; and the Lind Brothers Mortuary.  Mr. McCord and his lawyers argued that McMahon, the escort officer, was negligent in leaving the intersection before the procession had fully crossed it. He also argued that the mortuary company was negligent for only hiring a single motorcycle escort for a procession involving 50 to 75 cars over a six mile journey to the cemetary. In addition, Semenyuk was negligent for running the red light when the escorting officer was not present at the intersection. Semenyuk argued that while he did run the red light, the other defendents were responsible, since they had failed to control the intersection and the procession. The other defendents argued that the negligence was Semenyuk's alone, as he ran the red light when the escort officer was not present or in control of the intersection. In addition, the defending parties argued that the knee injury was pre-existing and that McCord would not require any future knee or hip surgeries. In the end, the jury sided with Mr. McCord and his attorneys. They awarded him $790,000, finding Semenyuk 5% liable, and McMahon and his employer 95% liable. The mortuary was not found liable.

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