Motorcycle officer's lawyers win his case after he runs off of a state highway in Ventura County, California

Accident Type: 
Motorcycle Accident
Incident Date: 
Wednesday, January 1, 1986
Result Date: 
Tuesday, October 1, 1991
Monetary Result: 


Mr. Blackburn, a 44-year-old motorcycle officer, was riding his bike on a state highway in Ventura County, California when he drove of the road and into a cement railroad control box. The roadway had once been a throughway, however a portion of it had been closed due to the realighment of a state highway. Blackburn sustained a fracture and dislocation of his left hip, a fracture in his pelvis, and a nerve injury to his lower left leg. The injuries resulted in a minor foot drop and the future possibility of developing avascular necrosis and arthritis in his left hip, which would require a hip replacement.

Blackburn decided to sue the state of California for its failure to warn that the road ends. The state of California's lawyers contended that the roadway was clearly marked, and that Blackburn had ignored the warnings and purposely used the closed portion of the highway as a shortcut. Furthermore, they pointed out that the land on which the accident took place was not owned by the state at that time. 

The jury sided with Blackburn, for a total award of $850,000. He was found 40% at fault, however, and the total amount was reduced to $510,000.

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